Gabrielle Union reflected on being passed up for a role because of her looks.
Today is actually Gabrielle's 51st birthday, and to celebrate, Netflix's Strong Black Lead shared an interview of the award-winning actor recounting a time when she was turned down for a role because the competing actor was "prettier" than her.
Although Gabrielle didn't reveal the name of the project she was competing for or the name of the actor she lost the role to, she did reveal the life lesson she learned from the uncomfortable experience.
"Years ago, I was up for a big job," Gabrielle told Netflix. "And after numerous callbacks, and studio tests, it was down to just the two of us."
"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 Perfect Find star admitted that it "killed" her confidence at the time and ultimately made her equate her physical beauty to her ability to do her actual job.
"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."
"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."
Gabrielle went on to say that you should never be afraid to walk away from things or people that don't truly value you, especially when those things or people are asking you to diminish your value.
After watching the clip, fans not only questioned who would have the audacity to judge this beautiful woman on her looks...
...but they also wondered who the casting director was referring to when they told Gabrielle, "SHE's just prettier than you." Some believed Gabrielle was referring to the role of Olivia Pope in Scandal, which ultimately went to Kerry Washington.
While Gabrielle did admit to auditioning for Scandal in a previous interview, she did not confirm that this was the audition she was alluding to.
“Going in for Scandal, Shonda [Rhimes] empowered every Black woman who came through her door,” Gabrielle told RollingOut magazine. “Even if I don’t get the next job, or the next five jobs, I don’t want to be treated less than how Shonda treated me. I was one of the last five or ten to audition. When Kerry [Washington] got it, I congratulated her. Now after each episode, I’m leading the charge, like Gladiators, stand up! I’m obsessed with the show…”
Scandal debuted on ABC in 2012. But missing that opportunity turned into a blessing for Gabrielle, because the following year she landed the lead role in the BET series Being Mary Jane.
Everything seemed to work out in the end. To learn more about Gabrielle, be sure to watch the full interview below.