Everyone needs a friend like Gabrielle Union.
The actress once went to bat to ensure that a friend who was lowballed for a project in the industry got paid her worth plus tax.
“We are so conditioned to be grateful to have not even a seat at the table,” said Union during The Big Television Debate interview with Net-A-Porter in 2018. “We’re not even anywhere near the table, we’re like near the door.”
Not Adhering To The Norm
She explained how oftentimes as an “other” in the entertainment space, women are often told to be grateful for just being in the room when those same spaces aren’t necessarily designed for them to succeed.
“We’re supposed to be happy with that and so you’re not supposed to buck back. And so in negotiation, you’re like, ‘Okay, I know what my worth is. I know what I bring to the table,’ and then sometimes it’s your teams that are like, ‘We could go too far and you could lose it altogether,'” said Union. “But then it’s like do I wanna be a part of a project where they don’t value me and they think I’m interchangeable with everyone in the room and they don’t really see my value, but somehow magically saw the value in all these other people and that value comes with a very clear number that is nowhere close to what we’re asking for.”
She added, “I’m asking for a crumb compared to what you’ve actually paid.”
Furthermore the “Bring It On” actress recalls an incident where she said enough is enough and strategically fought alongside her friends in the industry.
“Earlier this summer there was a job that I thought a friend had, everybody, knew that she had that offer, and there was a lowball attempt and they were like, ‘Well we’re gonna move on,’ and she’s like, ‘Move on,’ and they move on to me,” Union shared in 2018.
Since the woman was her friend, Union not only reached out to see the specifics in the amount she turned down, but she also shot for the “moon, stars, and rainbow,” knowing that she had no intention of actually taking the job.
“I lose nothing, it was never my job to begin with, but I’m gonna make sure she gets paid,” she explained.
The Power Of Unity
After the company passed by Union, they offered the position to four other people, who were also in on the strategy to ensure that the woman got paid her worth.
For the group, it was all about banding together — and it worked.
“They go down four people and end up paying her more than what she turned down but none of us lost a thing,” said Union. “I lose nothing by making sure you get your money. I don’t want a job that I’m only getting because they screwed over the next woman.”