Glow girl: Gabrielle Union

Whether at home or in her hit TV se­ries Be­ing Mary Jane, she’s def­i­nitely the lead­ing lady

YOU (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - COM­PILED BY LIND­SAY DE FRE­ITAS

IN­STANT MOM “It was an un­ex­pected gift but prob­a­bly the big­gest thing that changed me,” says Gabrielle (44) of the four boys she raises with NBA su­per­star hus­band Dwyane Wade (35). The ac­tress says Dwyane’s sons – Zaire (15), Zion (10) and Xavier (3) – and his nephew Dahveon Mor­ris (12) were the mo­ti­va­tion be­hind their 2014 mar­riage.

“We could have gone on for a long time as boyfriend and girl­friend, but the kids were the driv­ing force in want­ing us to be a le­git­i­mate fam­ily . . . and it’s the best de­ci­sion we could’ve made.” LOUD AND PROUD Al­though their boys are of­ten spot­ted sit­ting court­side at Dwyane’s bas­ket­ball matches, Gabrielle re­veals the sought-af­ter court­side area is a no-go zone for her.

“I don’t sit court­side,” she laugh­ingly told TV host Co­nan O’Brien. “That got killed when I started be­com­ing too vo­cal. He [Dwyane] was like, ‘You’re go­ing to need to move a few rows back!’ ” SHE’S A SUR­VIVOR Hav­ing been raped at gun­point dur­ing a rob­bery when she was 19, Gabrielle con­sid­ers her­self an ad­vo­cate for rape sur­vivors and has lob­bied for in­creased fund­ing of rape cri­sis cen­tres across the USA. She en­cour­ages oth­ers who’ve been through the same thing not to see them­selves as vic­tims.

“When some­thing cat­a­strophic hap­pens in life ev­ery­one ral­lies around you but it’s not for some­thing pos­i­tive, and I hated that. I hated feel­ing like a vic­tim; it makes you lazy. I wanted to em­brace be­ing a sur­vivor. I was raised to be an in­de­pen­dent woman. That’s the road I de­cided to take.” MAK­ING STRIDES She ini­tially en­rolled at univer­sity to do a de­gree in law and so­ci­ol­ogy but ended up work­ing as a model, which led to an act­ing ca­reer. Gabrielle started out in sup­port­ing roles in iconic teen movies such as She’s All That and Bring It On and has carved out a solid ca­reer in Hol­ly­wood over the past 20 years.

De­spite her suc­cess she’s still vo­cal about the lack of di­ver­sity in movies.

“Half the time [AfricanAmer­i­cans] don’t even get the op­por­tu­nity to fail. At least let me audition so you can say I just wasn’t good enough, but most times black ac­tors can’t even get in the door,” she says.

“We’ve made strides, but if Hol­ly­wood is re­ally go­ing to mir­ror the world that it’s ca­ter­ing to, we have a long, long way to go.”

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