Gabrielle Union had planned on attending law school, but began acting after the modeling agency she interned with as a college junior asked to represent her. She then won a series of small roles in television and film, including Love and Basketball, 10 Things I Hate About You (both 1999), and a part on the short-lived series City of Angels (2000). But her career really took off after her breakthrough portrayal of a sassy cheerleading captain from Compton in the late-summer surprise hit Bring It On (2000).
It's ironic that cheerleading would be the activity that helped launch Union's star. The Omaha, NE, native was born October 29, 1973, and spent much of her youth playing sports, from soccer to basketball to track. She attended high school in Nebraska, where she was an all-star point guard, and, after graduating, moved to Los Angeles to attend school at U.C.L.A.
After graduating with honors, Union chose to forego law school, stay in L.A., and concentrate on her acting career, which took off after her sparring with cheerleading rival Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On. After that film's release, Union won a substantial role in The Brothers and was slated to appear with an all-star cast in Welcome to Collinwood, as well as in Oscar-winner Stephen Gaghan's directorial debut Abandon. Her future film line up looking ever more impressive, Union took her biggest role to date as the acerbic titular character in the comedy Deliver Us from Eva, and continue to perform in films including Cradle 2 the Grave and Bad Boys II.
In 2012, Union took on a supporting role in the comedy Think Like a Man, an adaptation of author and comedian Steve Harvey's self-help book of the same name.