One of today’s hottest stars, Gabrielle Union continues to shine. She will soon be seen in Screen Gems’ “Think Like a Man,” based on Steve Harvey’s book “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man,” which is slated for release on March 9.

Gabrielle’s impressive film credits include the critically-acclaimed “Cadillac Records,” “The Perfect Holiday,” “Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls,” “Bad Boys II,” “Breakin’ All the Rules,” “ Deliver Us From Eva,” “Bring It On,” “Two Can Play That Game,” “Love & Basketball,” “Cradle to the Grave,” “Ten Things I Hate About You,” “The Brothers,” “The Honeymooners,” “Meet Dave” and “She’s All That.”

She made her television debut on the hit sitcom “Moesha,” before going on to guest-star on such series as “ER,” “Dave’s World” and “The Steve Harvey Show.” Shortly thereafter, Gabrielle had a recurring role on two WB hit shows, “Sister, Sister” and “7th Heaven.”

Gabrielle’s passion for acting is rivaled by her involvement as an ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Foundation as well as her support for the Young Survivor Coalition (YSC) and the Rape Treatment Center (RTC) at UCLA.

She also helped found a program called “A Step for Success” which helps to raise funds for the economically-challenged Kelso Elementary School located in Los Angeles. She currently serves as a brand ambassador for Neutrogena, and is featured in its national television and print campaigns.

A native of Omaha, Neb. Gabrielle currently resides in Los Angeles. Here, she talks about her new movie, Good Deeds, a romance drama where she co-stars opposite Tyler Perry and Thandie Newton.


Kam Williams:
What interested you in collaborating with Tyler again and in playing Natalie in Good Deeds?
Gabrielle Union: Once I read the script, the biggest thing was that I loved how he didn’t make her a bitch. My character’s usually the villain in this sort of romantic drama. I was very happy that Tyler made her a normal person who has a great career, great friends and who comes from a great family. So, in this case, maybe the relationship’s just not working instead of my character’s being an evil shrew.

KW: It’s definitely a much more modulated film for Tyler, and less given to melodrama and the extremes.
GU: I would agree.

KW: How was it working with this cast?
GU: Phylicia is an icon, and amazing. Just being able to watch her work up close is like taking a master class in acting. Thandie was great, and having Beverly Johnson play my mother was huge, and a nice ego boost. The whole experience felt like being in a big, happy, well-functioning family.

KW: Harriet Pakula Teweles says: Good Deeds is a film about a “defining moment.” Has there been such a moment in your life or career you’d like to share?
GU: In my life, when I got divorced. I sort of realized that I hadn’t been making sound choices which were the best for me to pursue my hopes and dreams and aspirations and passions. I had been living the life that society tends to dictate for women of a certain age. You marry the person who asks you, even though he may or may not be the best one for you. Around the time that I got divorced, I had an epiphany that there is no blue ribbon or gold medal for living someone else’s life, for fulfilling someone else’s dreams. It’s doesn’t make you happy. You just end up with a life that’s not yours. So, I decided to follow my dreams and my passions and to always have an adventure, no matter what it is.

KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
GU: Twitter.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
GU: Collard greens.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
GU: My mom.

KW: How often do you get back to Nebraska to see her?
GU: Pretty often. I go back quite a bit, although I don’t announce my visits in order to protect our privacy.

KW: What’s it like to lose your anonymity? Can you go to the mall or a movie theater?
GU: I can go, but you go with the understanding that people are going to know who you are, and may or may not respect your privacy. The time when I most want privacy and my anonymity is to do things like buying tampons.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
GU: My wish for the world would be to end violence against women. My wish for myself would be for peace of mind.

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
GU: Playing catch with my dad.

KW:
When did you realize that you had made it?
GU: I haven’t made it yet.

KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
GU: Great communication skills.

KW: What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
GU: Getting raped.

KW: I’m sorry that happened to you. The Rudy Lewis question: Who’s at the top of your hero list?
GU: My mom.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
GU: Stay in school. You have the rest of your life to act.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?
GU: As someone who was genuinely happy and who smiled a lot.

KW: Thanks for another great interview, Gabrielle, and best of luck with Good Deeds and Think Like a Man.
GU: Thanks, Kam.

To see a trailer for Good Deeds, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orInEN7Zq_Q

Kam Williams

Special to the AFRO