Art imitates life for the French-American breakout star of the ABC drama
by Kasey Caminiti | May 9, 2017 11:00 am
Mickaëlle X. Bizet first moved to America from Paris to work as an au pair for two little girls, Daryn and Sydney. If this plot line sounds familiar, it is. The stunning French actress plays Gabrielle Durand, a French-speaking black woman who comes to America to work as a nanny for an American family, on ABC’s award-winning series American Crime.
“My character’s name is Gabrielle and my name is Mickaëlle. It doesn’t stop there. Gabrielle had a child when she was a teenager and my mom had me when she was a teenager,” Bizet describes the similarities between her and her character. “If that’s not enough: Gabrielle was born on a French-speaking Island; I was born on a French-speaking island. It’s like the Universe created this role just for me,” she admits.
Bizet joins the cast of American Crime in the series’ third season. The thrilling drama also stars Felicity Huffman, Regina King, Richard Cabral and Tim Hutton. The show examines hot topics such as sex trafficking, forced labor, immigration and modern day slavery. Bizet’s character, Gabrielle, is a mistreated domestic worker in North Carolina who faces very real struggles and injustices every day.
“I have a lot of family in Martinique [the French Caribbean island] who were struggling domestic workers. Gabrielle serves as a voice for my friends and all of the other people who face the same injustices,” Bizet reveals. “It’s a matter of human rights. Why do we treat people that way? Why would anybody think that is okay? Even if you’re not a domestic worker, everyone has experienced situations in which you feel alone, isolated, unheard or ignored.”
Since working on American Crime, Bizet admits that she has taken a much more proactive stance to help bring awareness to the plight of domestic workers. She encourages viewers to visit the National Domestic Workers Alliance to help justice be served for these people and their families.
At this point in her life, Bizet says that she has the strongest desire to be an actress. “My acting career is my husband and kids. That’s what I want to dedicate my time to nurture.”
What’s next for this bilingual beauty? “If American Crime is renewed for a fourth season, I would love to be asked back and have the opportunity to tell another important story,” she says. “Down the road though, I would love to play a Queen of Egypt with Will Smith as my Pharaoh. How cool would that be?”
Image credits: JeanPaul SanPedro
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