Gabrielle Union Talks Being Mary Jane In Essence: “Enjoying Sex Doesn’t Make You A Ho!”
Being Mary Jane is easy when you’re Gabrielle Union.
The gorgeous actress looks exceptionally bright eyed and bushy tailed (can you believe she’s 41 years old?) on the December 2013 issue of Essence magazine. Inside the issue, Union opens up about auditioning for the role of Olivia Pope in Scandal and how the rejection led to the biggest job of her life.
“Going in for Scandal, Shonda [Rhimes] empowered every Black woman who came through her door,” Union told the magazine of the lead that would eventually be won by Kerry Washington. “Even if I don’t get the next job, or the next five jobs, I don’t want to be treated less than how Shonda treated me. I was one of the last five or ten to audition…when Kerry got it, I congratulated her. Now after each episode, I’m leading the charge, like Gladiators, stand up! I’m obsessed with the show…”
Still, Union admits that coming so close to her dream job and losing out made her lash towards other women in Hollywood. “There’s this intense desire for us all to be chosen by a man, or a job, or chosen for fame, whatever. But when you’re in the public eye and you’re not chosen, the rejection feels public,” says Union. “So to cover the wound, you attack the person who is chosen.”
Putting her mean girl ways behind her, Union was later able to turn a loss into a win. Although she did not score the lead role later awarded to Paula Patton in Jumping the Broom, she was able to impress Director Salim Akil with her audition. When his wife Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends) was looking to cast the lead role the new BET series Being Mary Jane, only one name came to mind. Now the star of the series, which premieres in January, Union hopes to empower other women by tackling taboo topics on her show like promiscuity and sex.
“It would be easy to label Mary Jane a freak … but enjoying sex doesn’t make you a ho,” she says of her character. “I hope [Being Mary Jane] widens the conversation. I hope people will be more forgiving of those who explore their sexuality unapologetically.”
For more on Union’s interview with Essence, check out the December 2013 issue which hits newsstands on November 8. Check out the trailer for Being Mary Jane below and tune into BET for the premiere on January 7 at 10PM ET. Can you imagine Gabrielle Union as Olivia Pope or do you think Rhimes made the right decision in choosing Kerry Washington?