Gabrielle Union talks to PEOPLE about seeing other moms out and about "who give you that eye contact and they're like, 'You got this girl' "

By Jackie Fields and Jen Juneau
July 27, 2020 01:53 PM
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Gabrielle Union
Frazer Harrison/Getty

During the more difficult times as a mom, Gabrielle Union says she gets support from both loved ones and strangers.

In an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE surrounding the relaunch of her hair-care line, Flawless by Gabrielle Union, the L.A.'s Finest actress explains that "well before quarantine" amid the coronavirus pandemic, she found inspiration from fellow moms out and about.

"Sometimes it's ... just being in a Target or being at the grocery store and seeing moms of babies and toddlers who are somehow keeping it together, who give you that eye contact and they're like, 'You got this girl,' " says Union, 47. "Sometimes that's all it is."

She also finds her "strength in history" — specifically, in "knowing that even though these are really uncertain times, that there have been people who've come before me who have survived and thrived and have done so with their spine and their soul intact."

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"So even when it's uncomfortable and even when it's terrifying, which is often, I stand on the shoulders of so many incredible and inspiring figures in history who've overcome so much," Union adds.

The actress goes on to express her gratitude for her "great friend group and family" during those times "when you feel like you might circle the drain."

"With so many of us in quarantine, sometimes that inspiration comes from social media or online or just a random email I might get from Kerry Washington or Eva Longoria or Tracee Ellis Ross, where they're just like, 'Hang in there, Mama. You got this. You're stronger than this,' " Union adds.

Flawless by Gabrielle Union
Flawless By Gabrielle Union

RELATED VIDEO: Gabrielle Union on Relaunching Her Hair-Care Line Flawless

Union — who's mom to 20-month-old daughter Kaavia James and stepmom to husband Dwyane Wade's children, including 13-year-old Zaya — also chatted with PEOPLE about what she tells her girls about their hair.

"Your hair is a part of you and it's an extension of you, but it has to start with self-love and pride in your Blackness and Afrocentric features, whether that be your hair, your nose, your lips or your body," says the Being Mary Jane alum, adding that she and Wade, 38, "are constantly reaffirming our kids, especially now, when there are so many external forces that are anti-Black. It is always pride and live your best life and live your best Black life."

Union is brushing off the haters on social media who make disparaging remarks about her toddler's hair, too: "I'll see comments and people are like, 'Why is her hair never done?' And I'm like, 'She is a year and a half.' I don't want to give her a complex about what is an acceptable style."