BY DONNA FREYDKIN
Fans of BET's steamy "Being Mary Jane" know that our heroine is brimming over with, shall we say, issues.
She's a boozer. She's mean. Like, really mean. She's competitive and petty and selfish. But also crazy-smart and quit-witted and ambitious. In other words: yassssss.
Plus, she's gorgeous.
So what happens in the wake of the car crash that closed out season two, and opens season three tonight? Mary Jane (Gabrielle Union) has trashed everything that matters to her. In true "BMJ" style, she cares only about -- herself.
"There's consequences to the car accident for everybody. She lives -- and she's pissed. She's lost everything she normally used as a scaffolding: her friends, her job, her love life. Who are you without all your crutches? We find out," says Union.
Union is an executive producer of the show. And yes, she agrees, her character's reaction to the accident isn't how she would have handled things.
"If your face is your job, that's a concern. That goes to show how deep she takes the loss of her face, at least for a while. If you validate yourself through your looks, who are you without those things?" she muses.
Unlike Mary Jane, who's been looking for love in all the wrong places, Union is happily hitched to NBA player Dwyane Wade and is stepmom to his sons. They live in Miami. And while yes, Union is psyched to be out of the dating game, she accepts whatever life hands her.
"I have dope friends. And over time I've developed self-esteem. I don't need to put another woman down. There is no upside for negativity in that way," she says. "I'm just happy. I liked being single, too. After my divorce, I committed to enjoying life however it was coming at me. I took life by the huevos and ran with it. I just have an amazing dynamic dope-ass group of friends. We always say, 'Commit to the fun.' We have a blast. Some of us are married. Some of us are not."
And she's equally accepting of Hollywood's most dreaded word: wrinkles.
"I'm a human being and human beings age. Unless you want to turn into the plastic woman, it's going to happen. You can either fight it, or go gently into that sweet good night and age gracefully. I've tried to go with the latter. I do OK," she says.
Those of us of a certain age revere Union for the 2000 cheerleading drama "Bring It On," which had her playing an outspoken, no-B.S. team captain named Isis. Can Union still do any of those routines?
"Absolutely not. People ask all the time. I didn't have those cheers down when we filmed it. There's a reason there aren't a ton of wide shots. Choreography and I are not friends," she says.