In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, actress Gabrielle Union opened up on how she felt when she had her first photoshoot with no makeup in 2009.
“At first it was kind of terrifying, to be honest,” the LA’s finest star star, 46, tells PEOPLE in this week’s Beautiful Issue. “I think sometimes we use makeup as a mask to insulate ourselves from reality. But once I kinda got comfortable and we were outside, it was the beach, and I had a bike, and I just let it ride. I thought the pictures turned out great and I had a great time that day.”
She opened up about the experience as she embarks on another photoshoot without makeup 10 years after.
“Once I kind of made peace with who I am and where I’m at and being 46, I actually feel pretty, pretty solid about being back here 10 years later, shooting again with no makeup,” she says. “Because I’m finally really okay with me.”
“For the most part, I feel most like myself without makeup,” she adds. “It’s how my friends and my husband and my loved ones appreciate me most. Again, because I think makeup can be a mask, and I think the older we get, that we feel like the more makeup we have, the better we look. Sometimes it just looks like an older woman with a lot of freaking makeup on. I’ve made peace with: this is my face and I’m okay with it. It does all right by me.”
She went on to speak about her achievements since the first photoshoot.
“Since I first did that shoot, I got married, I have a daughter, I’ve had jobs, I’ve lost jobs, I’ve got some more jobs,” Union says. “I have my own line at New York and Company. Yeah, it’s just when I thought my career was supposed to be starting to taper off, I’ve never had more of a career resurgence at a time when most people were saying, ‘Pack it in. You’re not the ingenue anymore. There’s not going to be a lot of great opportunities for actresses your age.’ Crazy enough, it’s been the absolute opposite. So it’s been good.”
Gabrielle Union and her man Dwayne Wade welcomed their first child together via surrogate on November 7, 2018.