Gabrielle Union

One of today’s top film stars, Gabrielle Union is a former Cuesta College student.

Union’s credits include “She’s All That,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Bring It On” and “Think Like A Man.” That was preceded by a succession of guest roles on television programs such as “Moesha,” “Sister, Sister” and “ER,” and a recurring role on “Seventh Heaven.” In 2001, she made a landmark appearance on the long-running sitcom “Friends,” playing a woman who dates both Joey and Ross and having the distinction of being the first minority love interest on the show.

Union was born in Omaha, Neb., and spent the first several years of her life there. The family moved to the Bay Area city of Pleasanton when she was in grade school. After high school, Union enrolled at the University of Nebraska, but a bout of homesickness led her to go back to California to attend Cuesta College. From there she transferred to UCLA and earned a degree in sociology.

Union attributes much of her success to her education. “You have to get a college degree just to put a toe in the door,” she said. “If you want to be competitive in this country, you need a formal education. I don't care what you have to do, I worked to get through school." 

Union’s passion for acting is rivaled by her social activism and being an ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, as well as her support for the Young Survivor Coalition and advocacy for survivors of sexual assault. In her free time, Union often travels on behalf of Susan G. Komen and the Young Survivor Coalition to share her story of losing a friend to breast cancer and inspire others.