Gabrielle Union’s big chop debut on Friday, July 23, had fans doing a double take as they mistook the actress for “Love & Hip Hop: New York” reality star Juju Castaneda. In the initial post, Union disclosed how empowered she felt making the change during a good time in her life.
The 48-year-old said as she shared a stream of images, “So, I did a thing. The movies always show women cutting their hair when all is lost, but I wanted to know the feeling of making a change when things are gravy. It hits different, and it’s foreign to me. But I ❤❤❤ this new new. #SummerChop #FlawlessChop #FlawlessCut.”
Immediately following the upload going viral, fans began comparing the “L.A.’s Finest” star to Castaneda. Fans didn’t point out a specific reason for why they mistook Union for Castaneda.
“Really thought this was Juju.”
“That’s Juju 🔥.”
“Omg thought this was juju lol so pretty!!!!”
“Love it 😍😍😍 but I really thought this was JuJu and I know they usually both get it all the time but this is the first time I’ve mistaken them 😂.”
“This not Juju?”
In addition to people mentioning how Union physically favored Castaneda, there were others who praised the actress for her new look. One wrote, “I love it 🔥 you look beautiful.” Another said, “It’s the natural vibes for me❤️❤️😍 An Instagram user expressed that the star’s big chop photo would be beside the word flawless in the dictionary. “Next to “Flawless” in the dictionary is this.”
In the past, Union explained the importance of self-love as she described her journey with her natural hair. She told PEOPLE magazine in February how she wasted her younger years trying to be someone else.
“When I was younger, I hated everything about [my hair]. I wanted it to be anything but what it was. I wasted so much of my youth in my twenties, thirties, and certainly my teens wanting to be someone else. I was inundated with images and messages saying, ‘You’re just not as pretty as so-and-so.’ “
She added because of the lack of Black women being represented in the media, she felt she couldn’t be successful. “The images that I saw on TV and in magazines and film reaffirmed what they were saying. That I wasn’t ‘it,’ and people who look like me aren’t ‘it.’ You couldn’t possibly have that ‘it factor’ and have hair like mine or skin like mine.”