Gabrielle Union

Actress Gabrielle Union said her new role in BET’s “Being Mary Jane” is “better than ‘Scandal'” — the role she lost to actress Kerry Washington. In a recent interview to promote ‘Mary Jane,’ Union suggested that the ‘Scandal’ role was not up to her usual standards.

“I didn’t get ‘Scandal,’ but I got something better — which is my own show,” Union said. “It’s all about building a legacy. This new opportunity is something I feel that can grow.”

While her words may sound like sour grapes, Union is grateful for Washington’s success in ‘Scandal’ because it means more work for black actresses like her.

“I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, these roles are out there,’” Union said. “It showed me that you don’t have to settle. Luckily, the success of her and the show bred more work.”

Union plays a beautiful, but lonely, news anchor in the TV movie “Being Mary Jane,” which premieres Tonight on BET. She said the role is a departure from the typical roles that her fans have grown accustomed to seeing her play.

“If you loved me for one thing and may not have liked me in something else, this role gives the audience a chance to see that I can do more than one thing,” she said.

To prepare for her role in “Being Mary Jane,” Union spent time studying under biracial news anchor Soledad O’Brien, who the series is loosely based on.

O’Brien, who was fired from CNN, was known for hosting CNN’s award-winning documentary TV series “Black in America.”

“Being Mary Jane” will air as a TV series on BET beginning in January 2014.

Photos: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images