Gabrielle Union hit her big break as an actor more than 20 years ago. Today she’s a household name in pop culture, as well as an advocate and author. And along the way, she’s had to learn one of the biggest (and hardest) career lessons: how to stand up for yourself. From navigating toxic workplaces, to challenging inequity and bias in Hollywood, to speaking out about pay parity, Gabrielle’s a hero to many for standing up to broken systems - and for how open and honest she is with her fans and her readers.
On Speaking Out
Gabrielle: Speaking up comes with risk. And when you speak truth to power and you call people to the carpet and you ask for acknowledgement and accountability, you can be the villain, even when you're the victim.
Gabrielle: I was presented with an opportunity and I could either be cagey or lie about how I was really feeling and what I was experiencing, or I could tell the truth. And in that moment, I opted for radical transparency, and to just be okay being vulnerable in my truth. And the world opened up, literally my whole life changed and I was like, "That was fast." And I just have never looked back since. I didn't lose anything by being honest and being open, I gained community.
On Elevating Issues At Work
Gabrielle: I would first ask: how badly do you need this job? And can you survive if you get fired? Then, have you gone through the proper steps of documenting everything? Names, dates, times? And also understand that HR is not there to help you. They're there to protect the company.
Skimm'd by Alex Carr, Andrew Callaway, and Ciara Long.
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"I think my entire career I've always been underestimated. And I love proving people wrong."
"The more informed you are, the more you read, the more you actually engage with the issues…makes you that much better of a friend or a part of someone's community."
"The first time I realized that I wanted more than I was supposed to want it was both terrifying and it was so freeing."