The star shared behind-the-scenes photos from her Women's Health October cover shoot and opened up about the freeing experience
gabrielle union
Credit: Gabrielle Union/Instagram

Gabrielle Union let her curls down to shoot the October cover for Women's Health and is opening up about the freeing experience.

In two behind-the-scenes shots shared on her Instagram, the actress, 47, revealed that the decision to go natural helped her really feel like herself on set.

"These are #bts pics from my @womenshealthmag shoot. It was the 1st time feeling truly like myself in front of the camera. The me that my loved ones see everyday," Union captioned the photos.

"The me that fights daily for my peace and the peace of others. The imperfect warrior thats lost more battles than I've won, but still keeps on fighting. At this grown ass age, I feel like I'm finally ME," she continued. "And I can breathe. And as long as I have breath, my ass can keep fighting. @flawlessbygu got me rocking my own curls and feeling like a #flawlessbeauties 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤."

Fans couldn't be happier to see Union proudly showing off her natural, textured coils. "Being your true authentic self is where true beauty lies! #Truebeauty 🔥💯," one person commented.

Someone else wrote, "I'm so glad you represent Black girls/women in our fullness. You are so agelessly beautiful."

Union, who recently launched her Flawless by Gabrielle Union haircare line, said when she was 8 years old, she was the only Black girl in her class and desperately wanted to "fit in" because "no one had hair like mine." Now, she wants to teach her own daughter, Kaavia, 20 months, and stepdaughter, Zaya, 13, that their textured hair is what makes them beautifully unique.

“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,” Union told PEOPLE.

She added that she and husband Dwyane Wade “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. And let your curls do what they do.”