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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Who is Gabrielle Monique Union?

Who is Gabrielle Monique Union? The entertainment and acting world knows her as Gabrielle Union, she is an American actress and former model. Among her notable roles is her performance of the cheerleader opposite Kirsten Dunst in the film Bring It On, (2000). In 2000, she played a medical doctor in the CBS drama series City of Angels. In 2003, Union starred opposite Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the blockbuster film Bad Boys II. Also in 2003, she starred with LL Cool J in Deliver Us from Eva. In 2008, she featured in the film Cadillac Records with Adrien Brody, Beyoncé Knowles and Jeffrey Wright. In 2011, Union featured in an ensemble cast of the film version of Think Like a Man.

Early life

Union was born October 29, 1972  in Omaha, Nebraska, the middle child in a family of four daughters. She is the daughter of Theresa (née Glass), a former dancer, social worker, and phone company manager, and Sylvester C. Union, an AT&T manager and military sergeant. Union's early childhood years were spent as part of a rich African American community. Her large family had been in the Omaha area for many generations.[1][2][3] She was raised Catholic.[4] When Union was eight years old, she and her family moved to Pleasanton, California, where she grew up and attended Foothill High School. In high school, Union was an all-star point guard in basketball and a year-round athlete, also playing in soccer and ran track.

Career

Union attended the University of Nebraska before moving on to Cuesta College. She eventually transferred to UCLA and earned a degree in sociology. While studying there, she interned at the Judith Fontaine Modeling & Talent Agency to earn extra academic credits. Invited by the agency's owner, Judith Fontaine, Union started working as a model to pay off college loans.[5]
Union started her acting career in minor roles. Most were in teen movies such as 10 Things I Hate About You and Love and Basketball. In 1997, Union appeared in the sixth-season episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – "Sons and Daughters" as the Klingon N'Garen. She also appeared in Sister, Sister as Vanessa, in Smart Guy as Denise, and in five episodes of 7th Heaven as Keesha Hamilton.
In 2000, Union landed the role of Isis in the cheerleading movie Bring it On opposite Kirsten Dunst. Bring It On helped push Union into the mainstream and she began gaining more exposure. This led to Union being cast in the CBS television drama City of Angels as Dr. Courtney Ellis.
Union was cast in her first leading role in the 2003 film Deliver Us from Eva with rapper L.L. Cool J. This was her second time working with the rapper since making a cameo in his video "Paradise" in 2002. The film received fair reviews from critics and it showed that Union was a leading lady. Union landed the role of Will Smith's character's girlfriend Syd in the film Bad Boys II, a box office success grossing over $273 million worldwide. Union starred with Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx in the film Breakin' All the Rules in 2004.
Union starred in the short-lived 2005 ABC series Night Stalker. She has also starred in the independent drama films Neo Ned and Constellation, the latter of which was released to theaters. She won an award for Best Actress in Neo Ned at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, and the film received awards at several festivals.


She starred in the 2005 remake of The Honeymooners with comedian Cedric The Entertainer. In 2006, she starred as Busta Rhymes' love interest in the music video for Rhymes' "I Love My Chick". Union starred in the 2007 films Daddy's Little Girls by Tyler Perry (released on Valentine's Day) and the Christmas film The Perfect Holiday which opened on December 12.
In an interview with Art Nouveau Magazine, Union complained about the lack of roles for black actresses and actors in Hollywood: "There used to be [roles] specifically written black, if you knew Denzel was doing a movie you knew his wife, girl or love interest was going to be black [but] that’s not necessarily the case anymore. You’re in that room with every amazingly talented actress of every hue, and it’s a dogfight, it’s hard".[6]
In 2008, Union appeared on Ugly Betty for three episodes (36–38) as Renee, Wilhelmina Slater's (Vanessa L. Williams) sister and Daniel Meade's (Eric Mabius) love interest. She also made a cameo appearance in the music video for Ne-Yo's "Miss Independent".
She joined the cast of the U.S. television series Life on NBC and appeared in four episodes prior to the cancellation of series in May 2009.[7] She appeared in the ABC series FlashForward alongside John Cho and Joseph Fiennes as Zoey Andata, a role for which she got nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. In 2013, Union starred in Ava DuVernay's short film The Door as part of Miu Miu's Women's Tales campaign.[8]
In 2012, she worked with Tyler Perry on the romantic comedy Good Deeds playing the role of Natalie, the soon to be wife of Perry's character Wesley Deeds.[9] She now appears in Steve Harvey's movie Think Like A Man, another romantic comedy which is based on his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. The movie debuted at No. 1 during the weekend of April 20, 2012. In 2013, she began as the star of the BET network show Being Mary Jane.[10]

Personal life

In 1992, at age 19, Union was attacked and raped[11] at her part-time job in a shoe store. Her attacker later turned himself in and was sentenced to 33 years in prison. She has since become an advocate for survivors of assault.[12] Union is an Ambassador in Susan G. Komen for the Cure's Circle of Promise.[13] She ran in the Global Race for the Cure in Washington D.C. on Saturday, June 2, 2012, in honor of her late friend [14]
Chris Howard
Kristen Martinez, who lost her battle with breast cancer.
Union met football player Chris Howard at a party in 1999. They married on May 5, 2001, and separated in October 2005.[15] The divorce was finalized in 2006. In 2009, Union began dating NBA player Dwyane Wade.[16][17] Union and Wade became engaged in December 2013.[18]

Filmography

Film

Year Film Role
1999 She's All That Katie
1999 10 Things I Hate About You Chastity
1999 H-E Double Hockey Sticks Gabrielle
2000 Love & Basketball Shawnee
2000 Bring It On Isis
2001 The Brothers Denise Johnson
2001 Two Can Play That Game Conny Spalding
2002 Welcome to Collinwood Michelle
2002 Abandon Amanda Luttrell
2003 Deliver Us from Eva Evangeline 'Eva' Dandrige
2003 Cradle 2 the Grave Daria
2003 Bad Boys II Syd
2004 Something the Lord Made Clara Thomas
2004 Breakin' All the Rules Nicky Callas
2005 Neo Ned Rachael
2005 The Honeymooners Alice Kramden
2005 Say Uncle Elise Carter
2006 Running with Scissors Dorothy
2007 Constellation Carmel Boxer
2007 Daddy's Little Girls Julia
2007 The Box Det. Cris Romano
2007 The Perfect Holiday Nancy
2008 Meet Dave Number 3 – Cultural Officer
2008 Cadillac Records Geneva Wade
2010 The Van Zandt Shakedown TBA
2012 Good Deeds Natalie
2012 Think Like a Man Kristen
2012 In Our Nature Vicki
2013 Miss Dial Long Story Caller
2013 Being Mary Jane Mary Jane Paul
2014 Think Like a Man Too Kristen

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Family Matters Mall girl (uncredited) Episode: "Scenes from a Mall"
1995/96 Saved by the Bell: The New Class Hilary / Jennifer 2 episodes
1996 Moesha Ashli Episode: "Friends"
1996 Malibu Shores Shannon Everette Episode: "The Competitive Edge"
1996 Goode Behavior Tracy Monaghan 3 episodes
1996–99 7th Heaven Keesha Hamilton 5 episodes
1997 Smart Guy Lydia Episode: "Don't Do That Thing You Do"
1997 Dave's World Carly Episode: "Oh Dad, Poor Dad"
1997 Hitz Soul Episode: "The Godfather: Not the Movie"
1997 Sister, Sister Shawn / Vanessa 2 episodes
1997 City Guys Katisha Grant Episode: "The Date"
1997 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine N'Garen Episode: "Sons and Daughters"
1998 The Steve Harvey Show Naomi Parson Episode: "The He-Man, Player-Hater's Club"
1998/99 Clueless Lydia / Rebecca 2 episodes
1999 Grown Ups Felicia Episode: "Pilot"
1999 H-E Double Hockey Sticks Gabrielle Movie
2000 ER Tamara Davis Episode: "Family Matters"
2000 The Others Lindsay Episode: "Theta"
2000 Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane Lana Episode: "Too Much Pressure"
2000 City of Angels Dr. Courtney Ellis 11 episodes
2001 Close to Home Gabby Movie
2001 Friends Kristen Leigh Episode: "The One With The Cheap Wedding Dress"
2003 The Proud Family Sunny Stevens / Iesha (voice) Episode: "Hooray for Iesha"
2004 The West Wing Meeshel Anders Episode: "The Benign Prerogative"
2004 Something the Lord Made Clara Thomas Movie
2005 Family Guy Shauna Parks (voice) Episode: "Peter's Got Woods"
2005–06 Night Stalker Perri Reed 10 episodes
2007 Football Wives Chardonnay Lane Movie
2008 Ugly Betty Renee Slater 3 episodes
2009 Life Jane Seever 4 episodes
2010 The BET Honors Herself Movie
2009–10 FlashForward Zoey Andata 9 episodes
2010 Army Wives
Episode: "Murder in Charleston"
2011 NTSF:SD:SUV Sandy Canyons Episode: "Tijuana, We've Got a Problem"
2012 Half the Sky Herself Documentary
2013 Being Mary Jane Mary Jane Paul Movie

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated work Award Category Result
2001 Bring It On Black Reel Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
2002 The Brothers Nominated
2003 Bring It On MTV Awards Best Actress Nominated
2004 Deliver Us From Eva Black Reel Awards Nominated
Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Bad Boys II Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Deliver Us From Eva MTV Awards Best Actress Nominated
2005 Nominated
Breakin' All the Rules Black Reel Awards Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Nominated
Something the Lord Made Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Mini-Series Nominated
Breakin' All the Rules Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Something the Lord Made Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie/Mini-Series Nominated
2009 Cadillac Records Black Reel Awards Best Ensemble Won
2006 Neo Ned Palm Beach International Film Festival Best Actress Won
2013 Think Like a Man BET Awards Nominated
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