Sonia Rolland: Does “An Unexpected Destiny” (France 2) tell her true story?

France 2 is broadcasting this Wednesday evening a TV film directed by Sonia Rolland and largely inspired by the journey of the former Miss France.

Sonia Rolland: Does “An Unexpected Destiny” (France 2) tell her true story?

France 2 is broadcasting this Wednesday evening a TV film directed by Sonia Rolland and largely inspired by the journey of the former Miss France...

This is an unusual TV film that France 2 is broadcasting this Wednesday, January 3. “An Unexpected Destiny”, directed by former Miss France 2000 Sonia Rolland, traces the tumultuous journey of a young 18-year-old woman of Rwandan origin, who went from a working class city to a small town in New Aquitaine to the competition of miss. The film, anchored in an autobiographical approach, is inspired by Sonia Rolland's journey up to her victory in the Miss France competition, an experience that she describes in an interview with 20 Minutes as her "greatest compositional role".

The action of “An Unexpected Destiny” takes place in 1999 and follows Nadia, a young mixed race living in a working-class neighborhood of Angoulême. Daughter of a French father and a Rwandan mother, she launched herself backwards into the Miss Poitou-Charentes and then Miss France competitions. Although the first name and region are changed and the scenario takes some liberties with reality according to Sonia Rolland herself, the story closely reflects her personal experience.

Sonia Rolland recounts in particular how, after drawing a line under a basketball career that held out to her, the disillusioned and rebellious young woman that she was managed to win the title of most beautiful woman in France. And if she distanced herself from her own journey in certain details, it is for a specific reason: "I wanted to take the distance to make the film more universal, so that people can all recognize themselves in each of the characters or even in the character of Nadia by saying to herself 'It could be my little sister, my cousin, a friend, my daughter...'", she told Paris Match.

"When you're mixed race, your ass is between two chairs, you're swimming between two waters. When you have a white dad and a black mom, this problem is necessarily family, we experience it through mockery at school... I can survive racism but not social discrimination", further explains the director to 20 Minutes who wanted to use her story to give hope to "outsiders, people who, truly at their lowest, still manage to accomplish feats in their life".

In an interview, the former Miss France emphasized her desire to highlight "the resilience and dignity of French working-class communities" and expressed a deep optimism towards the neighborhoods, despite the daily difficulties.

Rolland's project began six years ago, inspired by his previous work on the documentary "Rwanda, from chaos to miracle". In addition to the problems of racism and class violence that she encountered during her Miss France adventure, she also highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion in society, thus hoping to change perceptions and expectations around these competition. She also says she wants to present a more real and less idealized image of the young women participating in the Miss France competition, thus breaking the usual stereotypes.

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