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Gabrielle Union recounts her 2009 no make-up photo shoot with PEOPLE, telling the publication about feeling empowered when she recently flaunted her bare face once again for the cameras.

“At first it was kind of terrifying, to be honest,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s Beautiful Issue. “I think sometimes we use makeup as a mask to insulate ourselves from reality. But once I kinda got comfortable and we were outside, it was the beach, and I had a bike, and I just let it ride. I thought the pictures turned out great and I had a great time that day.”

Ten year later, the Hollywood beauty says she feels “pretty solid about being back here” for yet another no-make up session with PEOPLE.

“Once I kind of made peace with who I am and where I’m at and being 46, I actually feel pretty, pretty solid about being back here 10 years later, shooting again with no makeup,” she says. “Because I’m finally really okay with me.”

Hear her explains it via the Twitter embed video below.

She adds, “For the most part, I feel most like myself without makeup. It’s how my friends and my husband and my loved ones appreciate me most. Again, because I think makeup can be a mask, and I think the older we get, that we feel like the more makeup we have, the better we look. Sometimes it just looks like an older woman with a lot of freaking makeup on. I’ve made peace with: this is my face and I’m okay with it. It does all right by me.”

In the past 10 years since Union’s first no-make shoot, she got married to NBA star Dwayne Wade and they welcomed a daughter via surrogate last year.

“I’ve had jobs, I’ve lost jobs, I’ve got some more jobs,” Union says. “I have my own line at New York and Company. Yeah, it’s just when I thought my career was supposed to be starting to taper off, I’ve never had more of a career resurgence at a time when most people were saying, ‘Pack it in. You’re not the ingenue anymore. There’s not going to be a lot of great opportunities for actresses your age.’ Crazy enough, it’s been the absolute opposite. So it’s been good.”

These days, Union is focused on bonding with her baby and living her best life with her blended family (Wade has kids from a previous relationship).

“I hope I’m still doing keg stands,” she says of her goals for the next ten years. “I hope I still have a passion for travel. I hope that my daughter is experiencing a lot of joy and adventure and we’re able to sort of enjoy our kids and we’ve figured out how to have a little bit more balance with having full careers and raising kids. … I hope my life just has a little bit more fullness and richness and more layers and I’m actually taking the time to enjoy it and it’s not just whizzing by. Yeah, but definitely still keg stands.”

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