Sonia Rolland is a warrior. Her history, and particularly an extremely difficult past including escaping from wars in Africa to reach France, has made her the fighter she is today. A Human Rights activist as well as a fashion icon. These are the reasons behind Guerlain’s decision to make her an ambassadress for the brand, and the face of the 2019 campaigns. This decision is based on and inspired by the House’s four pillars of sustainable engagement, which also include biodiversity, climate and eco-conception. No other figure unites these concepts better than Sonia.

Born in Kigali, Rwanda, Rolland and her family fled the country when she was a young child due to security concerns. It was the beginning of the genocide, and her mother’s Tutsi heritage placed them in mortal danger. The family decided to escape. They initially moved to neighbouring Burundi in 1990. However, their situation remained equally insecure. Soon after moving to Burundi, a civil war started. This meant that the Rollands had to pack again. This time they fled to Cluny in France. Sonia was only 13 years old.


These traumatic experiences touched the actress. Since then she has developed a strong commitment to the plight of displaced people worldwide, and a special sensibility to discuss difficult issues relating to war-torn countries. Sonia has also participated in philanthropic causes, such as educational programmes in her native Rwanda.



Frère et Soeur ? #AfricaBeauty #AfricanChild

Una publicación compartida por Sonia Rolland (@soniarolland) el

Once living in France, Sonia started taking acting lessons with the French cinema legend Alain Delon. She did not achieve fame until 2002 when she became the first African-born Miss France. It was a truly historical moment within the multicultural changes taking place in France at the time. Sonia was the visible face of this cultural process. She was only 18.

She represented France in the finals of the Miss Universe Competition. Following on from this achievement, Sonia and her mother founded ONG Maïsha Africa in 2001. This organisation provides financial, social and psychological support to African children in need.

Her status as an activist also motivated Guerlain to choose her as their muse. Laurent Boillot, CEO of Guerlain in his commitment statement said in a recent interview: “Because beauty is our guide, because the world is its origin, because the planet needs to be protected and valued, and because championing this cause is our responsibility, Guerlain’s focus is trained unswervingly on sustainable development. In the name of Beauty, Guerlain is committed to a more sustainable world.” 

Rolland has now joined the exclusive list of Guerlain’s public figures, including Natalia Vodianova and Angelina Jolie, amongst others.


Sonia has also featured in a number of films and TV series, including Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Additionally, she is now a producer, working on her new documentary Rwanda Mon Amour. Her objective is to showcase the profound changes in her native country in the last few years and to encourage people to become volunteers. The documentary is expected to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Photo credit: IG / Guerlain