Thank goodness Gabrielle Union doesn’t mince words. The actress and activist loves talking about Hollywood, marriage, motherhood, politics, sports and 90s R&B. All these topics were on the table when she sat down for the November issue of ESSENCE. Like this nugget of wisdom on why she’s comfortable sharing the spotlight in the comedic family romp Almost Christmas (in theaters November 11) as well as leading her own show in Being Mary Jane (returning this January).
“I’m at an age where my ego doesn’t live and die by how many lines I have,” says the 43-year-old stunner, who’s rocking Lanvin, Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors Collection in her cover story. “There’s more to life than line counting.”
Instead, she’s harnessing more power behind the scenes. “I don’t just want to be a hired gun. I want to have a little bit more control over the narrative. The only way I can be empowered to do that is to be a producer. Now with as many projects that will have me, it’s part of the deal.”
That’s a good thing too because Union will be more hands on deck when she returns as producer on season four of Being Mary Jane. “For the first time in my whole career, I’ve actually been invited to the writer’s room. I walked in there as if I was meeting the Pope.”
Union’s real girl vibes, which we love seeing unfiltered on social media, let’s us know she’s always ready for a good time. But when asked about how she’s navigating the world married to NBA baller Dwyane Wade and raising growing Black boys, she’s reserved—and for good reason. “Until they walk through the door, I’m terrified,” she says. “Sometimes I just want to stay off my timeline, because it makes those waits until they walk through the door a thousand times worse. One of my biggest fears is them being a hashtag on some bulls—t.”
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For more from Union, be sure to pick up a copy of our November issue, on newsstands October 14.