La vida local

Gabrielle Union in new role; Big Ang turns 51


Here’s a little ditty that may help you out during entertainment trivia games: Gabrielle Union was up for Kerry Washington’s role in Scandal. Though Dwyane Wade’s No. 1 fan likely would have done a good job in that ABC vehicle, Union has no regrets: That audition led to other opportunities.

Catch Union in the BET series Being Mary Jane, airing in January. She plays a news anchor juggling work, relationships and family. It’s not her typical “good girl who meets the bad guy from the other side of the tracks” character, she told the AP. The show is actually a perfect fit since the 40-year-old Tulsa, Okla., native has always been fascinated with the news, reading three newspapers a day when she was growing up.

To prep, Union studied ex CNN anchor turned Al Jazeera correspondent Soledad O’Brien.

“I love how [O’Brien] delivers information. There’s a news anchor’s cadence that’s different from an actor’s cadence. If you do it wrong, you can come off cold or disconnected to the subject. I’ve been able to grow with the character in that manner.”

Thorny rose

The Bachelorette only has one local contestant now that Juan Pablo Galavis was sent packing Monday night. Could it be the soccer player didn’t impress Desiree Hartsock on the field? Their group date in Barcelona involved a female vs. male match, and the ladies killed it 10-2. No, seriously, there just wasn’t a connection. At least on her side.

“I couldn’t go further with Juan Pablo once I knew other relationships were stronger and that he had his daughter back home waiting for him,” wrote Hartsock on her People blog. Though there was some chemistry with the Venezuela-raised hunk. “He is great and we had a strong physical connection, but could not get it to that next level,” Hartsock continued. “Some woman will be very lucky to end up with him.”

In his parting statement, a teary eyed Galavis said it’s difficult to date when you have a young child but hopes he can meet someone soon. Any takers?

Miami Beach federal prosecutor Mike Garofola moves onto the next round.

Like a Rock

Talk about your amicable divorces. Dwayne Johnson opens up to the August issue of Essence about his 2007 split from Dany Garcia. The two were college sweethearts at the University of Miami, married for 11 years and have a 12-year-old daughter. They also work together: Most recently, Garcia, 44, produced Johnson’s drug-dealer thriller Snitch and his TNT reality show, The Hero.

“You don’t sign up for a divorce when you get married,” Johnson, 41, tells the mag.

Things seem fine with The Rock’s current girlfriend, sometime actress Lauren Hashian. “When I say I’m going to take care of a woman, I don’t just mean physically or sexually or romantically,” the former pro wrestler added. “I’m going to take care of her emotionally and spiritually.”.

Here’s the buzz

Are you a trailer junkie? So is Cristian de la Fuente, who was at the Miami Beach Cinematheque Tuesday morning to unveil a series of blockbuster-like movie “Summer Spectacular” ads by Ford. The Chilean stars in an action-filled Spanish-language one. They’ll be on prime time TV and in most major movie theaters for two months. Next up for de la Fuente, the onetime Dancing with the Stars contestant is headed to Mexico to film the Univision soap, El Aroma del Amor (“The Smell of Love”), revolving around the coffee industry. The Coconut Grove resident understands the appeal of telenovelas: “They’re Romeo and Juliet with different scenarios and backgrounds, but at the end of the day, they’re simple love stories,” he says. “In this world, we have a lot of drama, and I think simple love stories make people happy.” Sorry, admirers: De la Fuente has his own love story with wife and mother of his 8-year-old daughter: actress Angelica Castro.

‘Big’ shindig

Midlife crisis. What’s that? Angela “Big Ang” Raiola celebrated her 51st in style Sunday at her Ocean Drive bar Miami Monkey. Her eponymous reality show, filmed partially at the SoBe hotspot, airs on VH1 in September.

Madeleine Marr

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