Gabrielle Union celebrates her 40th birthday, promotes president: 'You've got to vote for Barack Obama'

How do you stay fashionable and fabulous at any age?

Oh gosh, with a team of people who help me! (Laughs.) I look at trends, but I’m not a slave to them. I like to spend some money, but I’m not going to go broke. I just try to be reasonable with it and I ask for advice. I stay with my head buried in a magazine. I travel, I try to be inspired by people. And I hang out with a lot of young people, you know? I just don’t date them. (Laughs.) I look at them for fashion advice.

You recently held a campaign event for President Obama.

Yes, in Tallahassee.

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What is the message that you want to convey to voters?

I should just say, “Vote, make your voice heard.” But I have to be more specific, as there is so much on the line with this election, especially with young people. If you’re happy that Osama Bin Laden is dead, and the auto industry is alive — if you’ve ever needed a Pell grant, or have ever heard of one, or would like to know that they are going to continue to exist, you have to vote for Barack Obama.

If you want to keep your student loan interest rates down, you’ve got to vote for Barack Obama. If you’d like to make your own decisions about what happens in your vagina, you kind of have to vote for Barack Obama. If you believe in health care for everyone, and that it’s a right and not a privilege, and if you believe that 100 percent of Americans deserve equal protection under the law, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, you’ve got to vote for Barack Obama. Basically, if you don’t want to send our country backwards, you’ve got to vote for Barack Obama.

now in so many places. Show up. Understand that this election is about you. You will be affected. Your vote does count.

What’s your opinion on the Zoe Saldana casting as Nina Simone? 

Wow, this was a while ago. I remember the big brouhaha. I’ve been a fan of Nina Simone, and I kind of look to her daughter for her opinion.

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But I’ve also known Zoe for a long time. Zoe as an actress — she’s amazing. I understand that it’s important image-wise to physically capture what Nina Simone looked like really, because that so informs her story. Like when they cast Renee Zellweger as a slave in Cold Mountain — that was a stretch. It impacts the story, and it changes the story into something else. I can understand people being upset.

But we can have that conversation civilly and without destroying Zoe, who is a dope, fantastic Morena, who represents in such a huge way for darker-skinned Latinas, but I do understand the need for Nina Simone to be Nina Simone and not re-imagined.

What’s next for you?

We start Being Mary Jane in January on BET, and then we shoot the sequel for Think Like a Man.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.