Gabrielle Union Covers Women’s Health Magazine

Posted on September 02, 2020

Gabrielle Union covers the October issue of Women’s Health magazine, on-stands September 15. Inside, the 47-year-old actress and advocate opens up about how she’s calming her mind and feeding her soul in these unprecedented times.




On experiencing a resurgence of PTSD throughout current events: “The combination of the pandemic and this racial reckoning, alongside being inundated with [images of] the brutalization of Black bodies, has sent my PTSD into overdrive. There’s just terror in my body.”

On relying on her own coping mechanisms to manage her PTSD: “I break out my emotional fix-me toolkit, and I try to run through all the situations. I call it my ‘what’s the likelihood of X happening?’ method…If I’m fearful about going into a store because I’m anxious about being robbed, I’ll make myself feel better by going to one where there will be witnesses to cut down those chances. It’s been this way since ’92. It’s just something I do; second nature.”

On how therapy has helped her manage expectations: “I feel different in my body. I feel freer.”

On the renewed sense of responsibility she has felt following a floodgate of testimonials and stories that came to her as a result of her discrimination complaint against America’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell: “All of these people came through the door. How do I create a larger movement to address all this trauma and all this harm? I can’t just swallow the information I now have.”

On being cautiously optimistic about creating real change and opportunity for BIPOC in the future: “I’m not going to factor in change I have yet to see. For the most part, across all industries, you see the same power structure that existed before George Floyd. All of these initiatives that people are so excited about—if the people at the top haven’t changed, and they’re not interested in creating more space up here, how far are these people that we’re bringing in going?”

On holding space for other Black folks in her professional life – which includes an affordable hair-care product line and clothing collection with New York & Co.: “I want to make sure that everything that is working for me is available to as many people as possible. We’re not free until everyone is free.”

On struggling with anxiety and finding her inner-peace: “I was watching this hummingbird and thinking, He’s up there and he’s able to fly, but he just keeps hitting his head against the top of this thing. I felt everything clench. But watching that hummingbird just f*cked me up. I couldn’t start my next meeting until we figured out how to help the little hummingbird, because if I don’t have at least a reasonable amount of peace at any moment, I can’t focus. It affects everything for me.”

On taking notice of the natural wonders around her since moving from L.A. a few months ago – and specifically bees, to which she is allergic: “Normally, I would be like, ‘Bees!’ But I’ve found a weird peace being surrounded by a lot of them. Yet they’re dying. All day long, I find these dead bees. I’m feeling—I won’t say grief-stricken, that might be overselling it—but I’m mourning our little bee brothers and sisters.”

On her new surroundings: “I think I was brought to this home for a reason. Finding that peaceful balance with nature, and understanding that we moved into their space. This is so not my normal language, but I don’t have other words to describe it. Maybe it’s just about looking at a bee or a hummingbird that’s trapped, and thinking, There’s another way, and I’ve got to find it, because my soul won’t rest until I figure it out.”



[Photo Credit: Djeneba Aduayom for Women’s Health Magazine]

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