Zoe Yadira Saldana is an American actress, dancer, and model of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent. She is known for such best-selling films like Colombiana and Avatar. She is set to star in the upcoming film Star Trek Into Darkness and as Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic on the jazz singer.
Born in New Jersey, as a child Zoe moved to the Dominican Republic with her mother and sisters after her father’s passing. There she cultivated her love of dance and theater, taking ballet lessons and attending the ECOS Espacio de Danza Academy, a renowned school of dance in the Dominican Republic. When her family moved back to the United States she joined FACES Theater Company, a theater group for young adults.
It was her work with the New York Youth Theater, however, that got her noticed as an actress and helped her to land her debut role. Zoe was right up her alley starring as Eva Rodriguez in the 2000 film Center Stage, about a group of teenage dancers dealing with the ups and downs of professional dancing. Around this time she began dating fellow actor Keith Britton, who she later became engaged to in 2010.
Zoe appeared in various roles before playing Anamaria in the film Pirates of the Caribbean: , the first in a series of top films starring such actors as Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom.
Although Pirates of the Caribbean increased her popularity and fan base, Zoe didn’t like her experience working on the film, saying “If that’s what I have to…go through to do a Hollywood movie, I’d rather do something else.” For a brief period she considered shunning Hollywood for the theater or professional dancing.
Future roles would impress her more positively as she starred in the critically acclaimed science fiction film Avatar in 2009. An admitted science fiction geek, Zoe enjoyed working on Avatar even though it was her most challenging role yet, requiring her to learn another language and play a non-human character. Earlier that year Zoe starred in Star Trek, a remake of the classic earlier film, securing her role in its 2013 sequel Into Darkness.
Zoe makes no apologies about embracing sexuality and sexual roles, being quoted several times on her views. She once stated, “Basically, there’s not enough sex in movies, that’s it. I’m trying to say it, people. I miss sex in movies because sex is natural, guns are not.” As for her own sexuality, above all, she is confident, famously saying in a Latina magazine interview:
“Look at me. I’m skinny, I have a big nose, no tits and no ass, but in a room full of beautiful women, I would still leave with the most gorgeous guy.”
Considering her previous roles have been as powerful and empowering women, is Zoe the new go-to actress for action films featuring a strong female lead? Possibly, and it’s a job she’d embrace saying, “I really hope so. That would be an awesome thing where it’s like, ‘Oh, we just need a kick ass female, call Zoe Saldana.’ I would love that.”
When not working on films Zoe makes her home in Los Angeles with her dog Mugsy.