Gabrielle Union is reflecting back on a “big” role she ended up losing to a “prettier” actress.
The “Being Mary Jane” was speaking with Netflix’s Strong Black Lead on Sunday, Oct. 29, and recalled a time when her appearance held her back from securing an acting gig.
“Years ago, I was up for a big job. And after numerous callbacks, and studio tests, it was down to just the two of us,” she recalled.
“I was told I didn’t get the part because ‘She’s just prettier than you.’ For someone who had low self-esteem, it just felt like there was no place for me, for my kind of Blackness.”
The veteran actress who has starred in films like “Bring It On,” “Deliver Us From Eva,” and “Bad Boys 2” credits the gutwrenching moment with impacting her confidence in the acting world.
“It pretty much killed that confident pep in my step, and I was equating my looks to my ability to do the job,” Union shared.
Now looking back at the experience, Union, 52, is happy she didn’t get the part, which would’ve forced her to work in a toxic environment.
“I recognize that if I had gotten that job and I was around people like that, my soul would be worn down. I only want to be in spaces where I’m wanted,” she said.
“When someone shows you, by how they negotiate, what they think your real value is, that opening number, you have to take that as a sign. Because in their perfect world, you would accept that low number. And as you then have to negotiate your value, it reveals a lot about the experience that you’re about to embark on.”
Fans who watched the clip wondered who the “prettier” actress was that Union was referring to. One viewer offered their assumption that it was Kerry Washington who beat out Union for the Shonda Rhimes hit “Scandal.”
“The role was Olivia Pope in “Scandal”. It came down to her and Kerry Washington. They are both beautiful women. I think the role fit Kerry better, then Gabrielle got “Being Mary Jane”, which suited her better as well. What’s meant for you will be for you,” they wrote.
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Source: Black Enterprise