Gabrielle Union is the cover star for the September issue of Health magazine, and inside, the 44-year-old talks about how she loathes the gym, how body shaming keeps her motivated to work out, dealing with haters on social media, and how nosy people have made buying feminine hygiene products quite the task for the star.
When asked about her workout regimen, Union, who is in sick shape, has her trainer to thank for her body. If it were up to her, the Being Mary Jane star would sit in the house and eat pancakes. However, she understands the importance of taking care of herself, as the actress’s family has a history of heart disease and diabetes.
“I work with a trainer for the most part,” she said. “I do know how to train myself, but I’ve realized that if someone’s not waiting for me, I do not feel obligated to get up.”
“I’m not one of those people, like, ‘I can’t start my day without it,'” she continued. “Nope. I can actually start my day beautifully, sleeping in, eating some pancakes. But I work out because I have a family history of diabetes and heart disease. Knowing what I can do to prevent that has been a huge thing. And then there’s my job. Knowing that there are people who cannot wait to circle your fat and draw an arrow to it keeps me in the gym.”
Another thing that keeps the beauty motivated when she does work out is body shaming, which is big in this social media age. She says it hasn’t happened to her yet, but she’s ready in case someone tries to play her.
“I learn my lesson from other people,” she said. “So between fearing health issues and fearing ‘Stars, they’re just like us! Look at their cellulite!’—that keeps me in the gym. Then when I get in there, I get competitive and won’t leave. I basically have the Olympics happening in my mind with strangers. They don’t realize we’re competing, but I usually take gold. Mainly because they’ve left.”
Speaking of social media though, Union said that while she hasn’t been body shamed, she has dealt with undue criticism from some. How does she handle it? She stalks those people’s lives.
“If it kinda strikes a nerve, I need to know who said it,” she said. “I deep dive into their social media. No one who’s ever said anything super negative to me has an amazing life. Once I realized that, it’s different than, like, J.Lo saying, ‘Her squat form wasn’t right.’ Because she would know. But you, in your mom’s basement, really?”
And while she can deal with the social media trolls, who she can’t seem to avoid sometimes is just generally nosy people who even question her in the store. The star joked about a story she will share in her upcoming book, We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True, about people who come up to her at the pharmacy when she tries to buy tampons and other feminine hygiene products.
“I have a tampon story,” Union said. “I write about how it’s impossible to go buy tampons as a known person because people are like, ‘Oh, super plus, huh? Heavy flow?’ They want to know those intimate details, and what is more intimate than something that literally goes inside my vagina? Whenever I go into a drugstore—flop sweat! Much less, if I have an itch and I need to buy Monistat. When me and D were dating and I was getting my birth control, the pharmacist was like, “When are you guys gonna have kids?” I was like, ‘No time soon,’ waving the packet.”
It’s awkward enough trying to buy feminine hygiene products as an everyday person, so we can only imagine trying to buy some Playtex and yeast infection cream when people know you — or at least think they do. Check out the rest of Union’s interview, which includes her favorite things and her favorite workout right now, over at Health.com.