See Gabrielle Union's Brand-New Look After Chopping Off Her Hair

·4 min read

Gabrielle Union has been a staple of Hollywood for more than two decades and one of the most mind-blowing things about the actor is that she's managed to somehow look the same as those years have gone by. But now, at 48, Union decided to make a bold change and chop off all her hair for the first time in years. Read on to see the actor's brand-new 'do and find out what inspired the transformation.

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Gabrielle Union debuted her new cropped 'do on Instagram.

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On Friday, Union surprised her fans with a new look on Instagram. "So, I did a thing," she wrote coyly. "It hits different and its foreign to me but I ❤❤❤ this new new."

The actor tagged her longtime friend and hairstylist Larry Sims, who was behind the new look. In the caption, she hashtagged #FlawlessChop and #FlawlessCut, a nod to the Flawless by Gabrielle Union hair products she and Sims collaborated on together and relaunched in July 2020.

Union wanted to defy stereotypes by cutting her hair at this moment in her life.

But it wasn't just jonesing for a change or the sweltering summer heat that inspired Union to cut her hair short. She was looking to make a bolder statement in going in for the big chop, which she also shared a video of on her Instagram Story.

"The movies always show women cutting their hair when all is lost," Union wrote on Instagram. "I wanted to know the feeling of making a change when things are gravy."

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This isn't the first time Union's gone short though.

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In 2019, Sims also again had the honor of giving Union a natural, short look that she also shared with her followers on Instagram. "Them: Why don't you ever wear your natural hair?!?!" she wrote in the caption. "Me: Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy"

That year she also showed off a straightened, shaggy pixie cut at the Oscars. And she made a statement on stereotypes about Black hair at the 2020 Oscars when she invited DeAndre Arnold to join her, a student in Texas who was told he couldn't graduate unless he cut his dreadlocks.

She's talked about her struggle to embrace her hair when she was young before.

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In an interview with Harper's Bazaar regarding her Flawless line in Aug. 2020, Union said that when she was younger, she struggled to embrace her natural hair. She grew up and went to school with mostly white kids and wanted hair like theirs. "When I was eight, I begged my mom to get a relaxer," she said. "She did her best with the relaxer, but to me, my hair was never straight enough. I was chasing respectability and what it meant to be presentable, appropriate, and thought of as pretty."

In an interview with The Cut around the same time, Union said as a young girl, she'd ask her cousin, a hairstylist, to leave her relaxer in so long, she'd get lesions. "My cousin was like, 'Are you trying to turn yourself into a non-Black person? Because that's what you're asking me to do,'" Union recalled.

As she grew up, young Union (pictured here in a throwback on Instagram) started to realize that the issue was bigger than her hair. "I realized that as much as I wanted my hair to be straight and to fit in as much as possible, my skin color wasn't going to change. Society's attitudes about Black girls weren't going to change, and there was literally nothing I could do to my hair that would make my skin color more acceptable," she said. "That felt like a big blow. The world wasn't going to change because I got a relaxer."

She wants her daughters to love their natural hair, too.

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During COVID lockdowns, Union shared her #QuarantineNaturalHair chronicles on Instagram, showing off her natural curls. And she hinted that it was important for her two-year-old daughter, Kaavia Wade, with husband Dwayne Wade, to see her hair like that. "See @kaaviajames mama's got hair like yours!! When I took my braids out she was like 👀🤔," Union posted. "Now mom&baby both rocking their natural curls."

Union told Harper's Bazaar she hopes to help both Kaavia and her stepdaughter, 14-year-old Zaya Wade, to love and take care of their hair. "Becoming a stepmom and a mom to two young girls, I had to really work to unlearn a lot of traditions. I let go of ideals about what acceptable hair is supposed to look like and really leaned more into healthy hair," she said. "However our children choose to present themselves is a personal choice. No matter what, they're beautiful and amazing. I just want them to have healthy hair and know how to care for it."

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