Gabrielle Union Changes the Game
By Eve Zibart
Photography by Steve Erle
Black jumpsuit, Hakaan ($1,798). shopbop.com. Gold earrings, David Webb ($5,900). Dakota necklace, Aurélie Bidermann ($1,619). T-Bar cuff with peach enamel ($238), T-Bar cuff with bloodstone cabochons ($238), Lizzie Fortunato Jewels. Gold hexagon cuff, Kara by Kara Ross ($250). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-6161. B.zero1 ring, Bulgari ($1,750). Bal Harbour Shops, 305-861-8898. Black and white geometric pumps, Christian Louboutin ($1,075). Neiman Marcus, SEE ABOVE
|Orange gown, J. Mendel ($6,800). Pyramid necklace, Kara by Kara Ross ($515). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-6161. Gold Love bracelets, Cartier ($4,025–$4,900). Saks Fifth Avenue, Dadeland Mall, 7535 N. Kendall Dr., South Miami, 305-662-8655. Gold charm bracelet, Fallon ($150). Barneys Co-Op, 832 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-421-2010. Tabou ring, Pomellato ($7,700). Bal Harbour Shops, 305-866-1225. Charlotte Olympia for Peter Som heels, Charlotte Olympia (price on request).|
Gabrielle Union is getting her game face on. She has two major movies coming out within a fortnight—on February 24, Tyler’s Perry’s Good Deeds, in which she plays Perry’s fiancée; and two weeks later, Think Like a Man, an ensemble comedy adapted from Steve Harvey’s best seller, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment—which means surviving two weekslong promotional tours simultaneously. She has just finished three photo shoots for magazine covers. She is days away from hosting the BET Honors in Washington, DC (which, with its dozen or so costume changes, is a marathon in itself), all while juggling phone interviews, a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Women Against Violence, and at this very moment, four dogs and a tissue. She sighs. “I always get a cold coming back from Miami.” Union is at her Los Angeles house, where she spends about half her time; but increasingly, the actress and girlfriend of NBA Miami Heat shooting star Dwyane Wade, aka D-Wade, speaks of Miami as home.
“A week away is pretty much it for me,” Union says. “When I land in Miami, I feel like I’ve been holding my breath and am finally exhaling. I can breathe. I feel accepted, welcomed. I feel like I can be my true self, the woman I always aspire to be…. more in Miami than any other place.” Keeping her house in California has been “great because I have my own career and life elsewhere, I have a home I paid for with my own money, and I need to be able to nurture that as well.”
“But D and I have a life together, too. I love my life in Miami. I can’t imagine functioning without both. I love the Design District, I love Midtown, I love what’s happening downtown now. I can be at People’s Bar-B-Que or Sustain or Prime One Twelve, and I’m comfortable. It’s rare for me to feel that level of freedom. Miami represents joy for me.” And Union definitely needs a place to breathe. In addition to her films, she is marking her 10th year as a Neutrogena spokesperson; frequently lobbies on behalf of women’s issues, especially sexual assault (she was raped at age 19, and credits the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center for helping her heal); and has been recording get-out-the-vote public service announcements for the Democratic National Committee. She is also a global ambassador for the Susan B. Komen breast cancer foundation, and she has even had a chance, thanks to mutual friends, to chat with President Obama about “television, issues, and basketball.”
Basketball, in fact, is something about which the 39-year-old former model (and high school team star) knows a thing or two. She trains at Equinox almost every day when she’s in Los Angeles, adding an hour or so of cardio and maybe a Pilates class; in Miami, she works out with other women linked to Heat players. “I’ll occasionally shoot around with D or rebound for him,” she says, then admits, “I don’t have a half-assed switch—it’s either full-out or we’re playing H-O-R-S-E. So I’m likely to get a black eye or bust my nose or roll around scrambling for the ball and get court burns…. In fact, I had a little slip the day before the Ocean Drive shoot, and showed up with this massive scab on my elbow; I’m going to guess that they had to airbrush that one out!”
Styling by Jordan Johnson and Jill Lincoln for Rachel Zoe Studio
Hair by Kiyah Wright
Makeup by Motoko/Ex:Beaute
Manicure by Lisa Postma for celestineagency.com
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.