Gabrielle Union does it all. As an actress, mother, entrepreneur, author, and she’s killing it on Tik-Tok. She is someone who continues to show the world how to live life on her terms. We talked with the trailblazer while she was on set for her next film and readying for the launch of her next project, a collaboration with Ford for the all-new 2022 Ford Maverick – the hybrid truck for people who never knew they wanted a truck.
We wanted to know how Gabrielle has been balancing it all, what she does for self-care, and what new goals she set for herself at this point in her career.
Jill: So first and foremost, Gabrielle, I hope you guys have given the baby (her daughter Kaavia James) back her slide.
Gabrielle: [laughs] We did, we did, she got it back like the next day, or two days later. She was hot. We were rolling. I mean, I do feel bad. She went to sleep, you know, had a slide, woke up, no slide. She was hot. And she’s yelling to the people who took it through the fence. She’s hilarious.
Jill: That was the best. I love watching your relationship with her and your other daughter and your children. And I think that that ties into being a maverick. You have a handle on so many different things. So how is it that you manage to keep everything together?
Gabrielle: Help. A lot of help. Our village is huge. During the pandemic, we moved my mom, and my mom adopted three kids, and then my niece, so we moved that whole family to LA. We moved D’s mom to LA. My little sister moved in with us to help with Kaav. So, like, it’s just we have a lot going on, so we have to have a lot of help.
And I used to feel terrible about that. But, you know, when people call you like, oh you’re superwoman, you have it all. And you’re like — am I supposed to talk about all the help I have?
And the reality is you can’t do everything without help; whether that’s family help or paid help, you got to get it done. And I realized, like, my parents, you know, they both work full time, overtime and we were with our grandparents and other relatives. And there was never any shame involved. So I’ve taken out the guilt and the shame that I proudly say, I don’t have any part of this life without the village.
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Jill: Incredible. So, the Maverick is a hybrid, kind of a hybrid, like you and your lifestyle and your family and blending all of these things. So being that that is something that you live by, what attracted you to this project and the Ford Maverick?
Gabrielle: Specifically, the price – under $20,000. We’ve been a Ford family for a while now, whether that’s me putting together a vintage ’74 Bronco for D last year for Father’s Day, or our F150 that we have, that — we call it “the summer we all went country,” listened to a lot of Blake Shelton — but we’ve been a Ford family for a while.
But when I heard about the Maverick and the price — we do have a big village, and we are doers and creators and makers of things, and we have a lot of things to get done in a day. And we’re not always super clean in the car. So having a car that can fit all of us, that you can take everywhere from the beach to tailgating, which we’re huge tailgaters, so when that all gets back up and cracking, we’ll be taking the Maverick to go to the Rams games and tailgate out there, that will be us, don’t be alarmed.
But, yeah, just having a car that works for our family and that’s affordable, it’s actually the most affordable truck, and it’s a hybrid. I mean, come on, how do you turn that down?
Jill: You don’t, apparently, clearly. So with so many things happening, how do you decide what you are going to say no to? Because there are probably times when everything sounds fantastic, but you have a family to dedicate to and other projects. So how do you decide what is not for now?
Gabrielle: Oh, for any project, if it disrupts or negatively impacts my joy, my piece, or my grace, that’s not for me. And the company’s morals and values have to be aligned with my own. And that’s pretty much it. So if I feel strongly about something, I go for it, but we do our due diligence. Luckily we’ve been a Ford family for a while, so the company has not done us wrong. But, yeah, when you think about marketing and all the people who will put the campaign together, everything has to be right. I don’t want to stress myself out unnecessarily for something that should feel good. So I want it to feel good and be good top to bottom.
Jill: So speaking of feeling good with such a busy schedule, how do you self-care?
Gabrielle: Oh goodness, I take it. Sometimes the schedule does not have time for me just to breathe; I just take it, you know? And I have to hope that in the same way that I extend grace to other folks when life happens, basically, I just have to hope that people extend that same grace.
Because there’s no point in me showing up somewhere, whether that be in person or virtually when I’m just — I don’t have it. And I’ll say, yo, I don’t have it. I don’t have it today. And I need time to think; I need time to organize my thoughts, I need time to meditate, I need time to do self-talk, I need time to just sit on a toilet sometimes, like, just give me a minute.
So I am not shy; I don’t feel guilty about taking that time for myself. Sometimes it’s a bath and a face mask. Sometimes it’s a great glass of super chilled Chenin blanc. Sometimes it’s a hike, and sometimes it’s just playing with my dogs.
You’ve got to take that time. Otherwise, what is the point of living the dream if it feels like a nightmare?
Jill: That’s very much true. So with so much that you’ve accomplished, what is a goal you have for yourself in this next phase of life that maybe was something you hadn’t thought about when you were in your twenties?
Gabrielle: Oh gosh. [laughs] Trying to think of what’s not happened, and what else is left? I mean — this is random — but I’ve never done a horror movie, so I’m actually actively looking for a more cerebral, heady, headier horror film. That’s something I’ve never done, never was really in those. Never a horror buff. So it’s one of the things that I’m actively seeking out.
Gabrielle: Yeah. Horror. [laughs] If I can find the next Get Out, I’m going to try it.
Jill: Well, I just have one more question. I want to know if there was one trait that you could ensure that was instilled into your children, what would it be?
Gabrielle: I mean, thank God. Kaav gave you a snippet today about the slide. But it’s not to take any shit. You know? That’s not who we are. Don’t start none won’t be none. I want to raise our kids to always speak up, to be leaders, not followers. And you do fight for the underdog. You are the person that should speak up. I don’t care how uncomfortable it is. That’s who we are. And we will always have your back, especially when the road is most treacherous for doing the right thing.
But that’s who they are. Like, don’t be shy about using your voice. And thank God they aren’t. Like watching Zaya talk to Michelle Obama — and obviously, we were like in the doorway, I was bawling, I was like, oh, this is my Mama June moment, where I’m like — oh my God, she’s hitting all the points, oh my God, she’s having this conversation with Michelle Obama of all people and killing it.
So thankfully, they are that. They just are. So I’m fortunate in that way. But we lead by example. So I’m not going to ever ask our kids to exhibit a trait that we’re not willing to live every day with.