The royal cousins are gearing up for a huge adventure

By Diana Pearl
February 28, 2018 03:48 PM
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Jazmin Grimaldi and Pauline Ducruet are set to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

In March, they’ll set off in the Moroccan desert for 10 days — without a phone, a GPS system or even a map — to participate in the annual Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, a 10-day rally open to women only where participants must navigate their way to different checkpoints in rural Morocco alongside a partner.

Jazmin, the 25-year-old daughter of Prince Albert of Monaco, did the rally last year, but it conflicted with her auditions for television pilot season — she’s an actress and singer — so she had to say no. This year she’s partnering with her friend Kiera Chaplin, the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin and a rally veteran.

“I’m definitely nervous,” Jazmin told PEOPLE at an event to kick off the rally in New York City. “But [Chaplin] has done it before, so I’m excited about that. She’s going to be navigating and I’ll be driving most of the time. So I’m getting myself out of my comfort zone a little bit.”

The rally is also a fundraising endeavor for Coeur de Gazelles, a group that provides relief and aid to people living in remote areas of Morocco. Jazmin says the mission of the Coeur de Gazelles closely aligns with her own organization, the Jazmin Fund, a non-profit that aims to help people living in Fiji. Right now, she’s specifically fundraising for a project to raise money to build community homes for women and children to provide music and art therapy.

Pauline, 23, who is the daughter of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, is partnering with her friend, stylist Schanel Bakkouche. They’ve been documenting their journey to the rally, which has included training in Utah on Instagram.

Before they go, Jazmin and Pauline will be sent off in style with a party for all the participants in Nice, France — and another with their families in Monaco. Jazmin admitted that her parents were a bit wary of seeing their daughter head off into the desert for 10 days.

“My parents were a little hesitant at first, just for safety reasons,” she says. “But now everyone’s really supportive and excited for me, and just hope I do my best.”

Of course, a comfort to both Pauline and Jazmin is having each other along for the ride.

Pauline Ducruet and Jazmin Grace Grimaldi at Mamo restaurant in N.Y.C.
Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

“I think it’s just fun that we’re able to share this experience together as family,” Jazmin said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t on the same team as one another, but we’re still a part of it together. We have a competitive nature in our family, but I feel like we’re just in it to have fun and do what we can.”

Pauline agrees: “I think it’s a good thing for all women to do.”

Heading into the race, which kicks off in Nice on March 16 and ends on March 31, Pauline says that she’s hoping to embrace the experience.

“Of course I’m kind of nervous — I’m going to spend 10 days in the desert,” she said. “We just want to have a great experience with everybody, enjoy our moment and see what we’re capable of.’

“You need a girls’ trip sometimes. And 12 hours in the car with a girl, there will be a lot of conversation going on.”