The film and television actor Gabrielle Union is starring as the eponymous, tempestuous news anchor of “Being Mary Jane,” a television series on BET. Her collection of essays, “We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True,” was published in October.
Home for Union is Miami Beach, but when filming “Being Mary Jane” in Atlanta she spends her weekdays there. She is also frequently in Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and New York, and when it comes to hotels, she has something to recommend in practically every city.
“I have my favorites. Mainly because they have, like, my favorite kind of chocolate! L’Ermitage, in LA, brought me my sriracha popcorn and potato chips instead of wine and Champagne. The James Hotel in New York — I love their restaurants. The Andaz, near the public library in New York, I love it, their rooms are massive. And the Peninsula in Chicago is one of my favorites.”
She doesn’t bring anything to make the hotel rooms feel more homelike, though. “As long as the hotel has HGTV, I feel at home. If I can see Chip and Joanna on my screen, or ‘The Property Brothers,’ I’m home.”
When it comes to vacation, she has to coordinate with her husband’s [the NBA player Dwyane Wade] offseason. “This year his offseason was a little longer than it had been in the past, so we had a lot more time to travel. We did Rome and Florence, a week in Paris, and then a week on a yacht on the Amalfi Coast. And then later in the summer, we did a week in Mykonos with a group of friends for our anniversary.”
Her packing secret? Zip-lock bags. “I like to pack my clothes in gallon-size zip-lock bags. It helps with wrinkles, but you can also get more stuff in. It’s kind of like it’s freeze-dried. You can fit more clothes in your bag and you can organize your outfits.” She’ll do almost anything to avoid checking a bag, including mailing extra clothes to her destination. “It’s cheaper than paying for a bag and the wait for your bag can go up to, like, an hour and a half.”
Here’s what she takes on every trip.
“I always have allergy medicine because of the people who like to travel with their cats. I keep it on me at all times because cat dander and I are not friends. I had to start keeping that in my purse so I don’t look like ‘Hitch’ by the time I land.”
“I always have my two plug-in chargers, one for Android, one for iPhone, and then two of the cords for charging on the plane. There’s nothing worse than landing and your phones are dead. My Beats earbuds, those are key. My iPad, with my shows downloaded already. Right now, I’m on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ My God. I had no idea. I’m very late to the party. It’s so good, and crazy, and it kind of feels like that’s what we’re moving toward now. Oh, and ‘Brockmire.’ The pilot episode of ‘Brockmire’ might be one the funniest pieces of television I’ve ever seen, like, in life. Hank Azaria is a genius.”
“I always have a book. I just finished the latest Liane Moriarty, ‘Truly Madly, Guilty,’ and I’m starting Roxane Gay’s ‘Hunger,’ so that’s in my purse now. I’m old-school, I like to turn the page, I like the smell of books. I’m that person. I am the person keeping Barnes & Noble alive.”
Expired Driver’s Licenses
“I keep old licenses. I have a fear of losing my license, and I think, ‘At least I’ll have this old one just in case!’ So, I have a wallet full of old licenses. With different hairdos.”
“I’m a big lover of Stance socks. They’re like cool, funky socks. I keep a pair in my purse just for warmth. It’s chilly on those planes.”