If you haven’t already heard, Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough will be joining the America’s Got Talent judging panel in Season 14. The talented ladies will be replacing Mel B and Heidi Klum, while Terry Crews will be taking over from Tyra Banks as the show’s host.
America’s Got Talent recently posted a photo of the new crew on social media, and we noticed a few interesting reactions from fans. Some were disappointed that Mel and Heidi wouldn’t be returning, while others said they didn’t even know who Gabrielle and Julianne were.
So we figured it would be a good idea to share some facts about the new judges. Maybe getting to know them better will ease the transition. Let’s start with Gabrielle.
1. Gabrielle grew up in Nebraska.
She was born in Omaha and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She’s a huge fan of the Cornhuskers football team, and still attends games. In fact, last year she aced a round of Huskers trivia with Buzzfeed, and revealed she owns some pretty cool memorabilia.
2. She got her big break in “Bring It On.”
Gabrielle previously appeared in other teen movies like 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That, but it was this cheerleading movie that really launched her career. She played Isis, the captain for Kirsten Dunst’s rival team.
3. She’s outspoken about representation in Hollywood.
“The opportunities to see yourself reflected on the big or small screen should not be limited to the pillars of communities or harmful stereotypical tropes,” she wrote in an essay for Time. “What about the beautiful stories in between?”
Gabrielle was a producer on the recent film Breaking In, which she also starred in. She also started the production company I’ll Have Another to produce the types of stories she wants to see more of.
4. She has starred in “Being Mary Jane” since 2013.
Gabrielle stars on the BET show as a successful news anchor named Mary Jane Paul, who is juggling her professional and romantic lives. She also serves as an executive producer on the show, which will air a two-hour finale movie in April 2019.
5. She married Dwyane Wade in 2014.
Gabrielle had been dating the NBA player since 2009. Previously, she was married to former NFL player Chris Howard from 2001-2006. Gabrielle is stepmother to Dwyane’s three kids, and in November 2018, they welcomed their first child together — a daughter named Kaavia. She was born via surrogate.
6. She wrote a book about her life.
It’s called We’re Going to Need More Wine, and hit shelves in October 2017. The book spent some time on the New York Times Best Sellers list for nonfiction. It includes essays about everything from her fertility struggles to being a stepmom.
7. She’s an advocate for sexual assault survivors.
One of the topics Gabrielle covers in her book is the story of being raped at her job at a Payless store when she was 19. She later sued Payless for negligence. She has also spoken about the experience on Twitter, calling out victim-blaming culture.
8. She’s a businesswoman.
Gabrielle has a hair care line for textured hair called Flawless, and also created an affordable fashion line for New York & Company. To top it all off, she even has her own wine. It’s called Vanilla Puddin, and is described as a “full bodied Chardonnay” with “aromas of caramelized apple, pineapple and butterscotch.”
9. She’s starring in an upcoming show with Jessica Alba.
The first project for Gabrielle’s production company I’ll Have Another is a show called L.A.’s Finest. It’s a spin-off of the Bad Boys movies, with Gabrielle reprising her role. She and Jessica Alba play partner detectives. The show premieres May 13 on Spectrum.
10. She’ll judge “America’s Got Talent” this summer.
Production on Season 14 started on Sunday. Gabrielle will join fellow new judge Julianne Hough, as well as returning judges Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel. The season will premiere sometime this summer.