An aperitif with Sonia Rolland: “As a Métis, you always live with your ass between two chairs”


Sonia Rolland, at Le Tournesol restaurant, in Paris (16ᵉ), on December 20, 2022.

She would have liked a glass of Gevrey-Chambertin or Nuits-Saint-Georges. “We’re out of burgundy, I’m sorry…”, apologizes the waiter at Le Tournesol, a restaurant in the very chic 16e arrondissement of Paris, where Sonia Rolland made an appointment at the start of the evening. “No big deal… Shall we try the red Sancerre?” »offers Miss France 2000, who spent part of her adolescence in Cluny, in Saône-et-Loire.

Sonia Rolland presents herself unvarnished, natural. White sneakers, black pants and sweater, she leaves work, hasn’t had time to go home ” a little further ” to kiss his two daughters. At the end of December 2022, the actress has been rising for a few weeks An unexpected fate, a film she directed and whose release date is yet to be determined. A biopic? “The life of Nadia, a basketball player who will become Miss France a little by chance, is indeed inspired by mine, she answers. But I mixed in a lot of other stories. It’s realistic fiction, a film that tells how a girl’s fate can change in a second. »

“By becoming Miss France, I lived a social and modern fairy tale”

His rocked in December 1999, in front of millions of viewers: Miss Burgundy was elected Miss France, the first of Métis origin. “Where do you get that lovely tan from? », Jean-Pierre Foucault asked him a few moments before. From Béarn by her father and from Rwanda by her mother, a country she left, via Burundi, ten years earlier, “with a suitcase and a family album”, to flee the genocide of the Tutsi.

“From there, I understood that I could no longer plant myself, remembers Sonia Rolland. I was proud to represent France, which I adore, but I was also proud to represent Africa. By becoming Miss France, I lived a social and modern fairy tale. What was difficult was that I also had to represent the working class where I come from. Becoming Miss France is not winning the lottery. You get a status, a public life, money, but for those around you, nothing changes. I had to deal with this guilt. »

“Pathetic times”

At 18, her tiara just placed on her head, she is taken to the Hôtel Crillon, place de la Concorde, where she spends her first night as a beauty queen.

Suddenly, the phone in his royal suite rang. At the other end of the line, Agathe Habyarimana, the widow of the former Rwandan president, a refugee in France where she has been prosecuted since 2007 for her alleged links with the Hutu genocidaires. “I was terrified, remembers Sonia Rolland. She wanted to congratulate me. But how could she overcome all the obstacles to call Miss France to her room, the very night of her election? She must have had contacts in very high places. »

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