Gabrielle Union Covers ESSENCE -- Talks Industry Rejection, Embracing Sexuality

Beauty & Style | Camille Travis | 11/01/2013 | 01:00 PM EDT

The 'Being Mary Jane' Star Is Beautiful Inside And Out

Could Gabrielle Union be "TV's Next Stunner?" We sure hope so!

The Being Mary Jane actress, who recently celebrated her 41st birthday, radiates on the cover of ESSENCE magazine's December 2013 issue in a Bibhu Mohapatra gown and Stella Valle earrings.

Inside, Union discusses her past as a self-proclaimed "mean girl" that used to "revel in gossip or rumors."

"There's this intense desire for us all to be chosen by a man, or a job, or chosen for fame, whatever," she said. "But when you're in the public eye and you're not chosen, the rejection feels public. So to cover the wound, you attack the person who is chosen."

But her days of sulking after rejection are over and have prepared her for quite possibly the biggest role of her career. Being Mary Jane, premiering at the top of the year, will aim to futher push the conversation of being a Black woman in America and all the struggles (and triumphs) that come with it.

"It would be easy to label Mary Jane a freak...but enjoying sex doesn't make you a ho. I hope [Being Mary Jane] widens the conversation. I hope people will be more forgiving of those who explore their sexuality unapologetically," she said.

Being Mary Jane debuts Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 10 p.m. EST on BET.

(Photo: Essence Magazine, December 2013)

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