Gabrielle Union was born on October 29, 1972, in Omaha, Nebraska. However, at the age of 8, her family moved to Pleasanton, California, where she grew up and attended high school. In high school, Union was an all-star point guard and a year-round athlete participating in soccer, basketball, and track.
After high school, Gabrielle attended college at University of Nebraska, where she played on the soccer team; and then later transferred to Cuesta College. Eventually, she ended up at UCLA. On her way to law school, just planning on being a working stiff, things started to happen during her senior year. Gabrielle had a college internship at a L.A. modeling agency, she thought it would be an easy way to pick up some extra credits. Little did she know that clients were eying the help. Upon the completion of the internship, she was asked to become a client with the agency. Gabby thought of it as a great way to pay off a stack of college loans, and modeled until her agent found that she could actually act. Her first audition/job was landed without any headshots, on "Saved by the Bell" (1989). Since then, she has went on to have many small but substantial film roles and has guest-starred on several hit TV shows, all before landing the role of "Dr. Courtney Ellis", on CBS' short-lived medical drama "City of Angels" (2000).
Although she plays parts that are opinionated and strong, Gabrielle believes that, "Hollywood needs to recognize all shades of African-American beauty". Gabrielle is a graduate of UCLA with honors, in sociology.
|Chris Howard||(5 May 2001 - 2006) (divorced)|
Was a cheerleader in the eighth grade.
Transferred to UCLA after a stint playing for the women's soccer team at the University of Nebraska.
Has a degree in sociology.
Was on the debut cover of Savoy Magazine.
Is a big fan of the music group New Edition.
She ranked #52 in Maxim's "100 Sexiest Women" (2002).
She ranked #81 in Stuff's "103 Sexiest Women" (2003).
Graduated with honors from UCLA.
Didn't want to do acting but did it to pay off her university debts and found that she enjoyed it.
Has two sisters - one older and one younger.
Her parents are Sylvester and Theresa Union.
Wanted to be a lawyer.
Praised by Oprah Winfrey for being an activist for women. Passionate public speaker on the topic of violence against women after surviving a rape at gunpoint at the age of nineteen.
Ranked #67 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2007 list.
Ranked #73 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2008 list.
Fluent in Spanish.
Two of her uncles were on the University of Nebraska's national championship football team. Not surprisingly, she's a huge Cornhusker and football fan, who also has some moves of her own, as she told ESPN Magazine: "I can run, catch, throw - pretty much anything. I'm like an Arena Football guy. I can play both sides of the ball. In powder puff flag football I've never lost".
[on her status as a sex symbol] I have no problem with that! I'd rather be that than Quasimodo. Or a method actor.
Thank God for J-Lo [Jennifer Lopez]. All of a sudden big asses are de rigueur.
[on her strip scene in Cradle 2 the Grave (2003)] I'm a Catholic girl from Omaha, and then all of a sudden they spring this scene on me. Afterwards I had to go to confession. I said, "Forgive me Father, for I have just bared my ass in front of the world. How many Hail Marys will it take to absolve me of that?"
After Halle Berry does her films and Queen Latifah does her films, it's left to all the black, Latino and Asian actresses to fight over a couple of roles. I opted for some TV. There's just not a ton of work in film.
[on Halle Berry's success] Halle's success has come more from blockbusters. But, yes, she is a source of inspiration. When she makes money, black actors make money.
I didn't want to act. I thought it was a cheesy profession--but when I was a junior, I got an internship at a modeling agency. When my internship ended, they said, "We'd be interested in representing you". I was like, "If you think someone will pay me to be cheesy, sure, whatever!"
I like directors who have worked as actors. They know the experience.
I still hear things like, "Gabrielle, you gave the best read! If we decide to go black, you're at the top of the list". I've actually been told, "Gabrielle, you're absolutely perfect for the role, but the role is a girl who's most popular in school". I've been to the point where I brought in my yearbook. "See how popular I was? It really can happen".
[on what she'll do next] I want to be Miss USA or Miss America. I would bring the trophy back to Nebraska. My interests are agriculture and corn. Hey, I'm just riding this train as long as I can. As long as I'm having fun, I'll do it. When it stops being fun, I'll try something else. Maybe I'll open up a chain of Popeye's Chicken".
It is all that an actress can hope for. The experience was very organic. I was able to be creative. In comedies, you go for the joke, and embellish. Action films are about action. They're not about performances.
The black community in Hollywood is very small and close-knit. Everyone has a common goal: to make a two-hour movie in 30 days. We watch each others' scenes. There is a natural chemistry. You can't have a crazy diva walking around saying, "As long as I'm lit well . . ." Or, "I only care if I do well".
As women we're taught early on to be polite, to be nice, to not make anyone uncomfortable. But I always remember this great line from a movie: "All we have...is all these years." We can fill those years with toxic, negative people or with fun, positive people. You don't get any points when you get to heaven for putting up with bullshit.
(2009) Appeared in a Neutrogena commercial.
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