Zoe Yadira Zaldaña Nazario (1978- ), better known as just Zoe Saldana, is an American actress. She plays Uhura, miniskirt and all, in the “Star Trek” film that just came out. She was also in “Drumline” (2002) and “Guess Who” (2005). She will be in James Cameron’s “Avatar”, due out in December 2009.
In 2008 Maxim, the men’s magazine, said she was one of the hottest women in the world (#42) and People magazine the year before said she was one of the most beautiful. She says her beauty does not come from anything physical:
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.
Saldana is no Trekkie: when she played one in “The Terminal” (2004), she got the Vulcan hand sign wrong. Before doing the “Star Trek” film she had never even seen the 1960s television show that it is based on. But she did get to meet Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura back then. Nichols gave Saldana her blessing. Saldana sees Uhura as being “very elegant and stoic”.
Saldana was born to Dominican parents in New Jersey. The Wikipedia says her mother is Puerto Rican, but her own website says she is Dominican.
She grew up in a mixed neighbourhood in Queens in New York City, speaking both Spanish and English. At nine her father was killed in a car accident and a year later the family moved to the Dominican Republic. She won a scholarship to one of the top dance schools there and studied ballet, jazz and Latin dance. She came back to New York at 17 and studied theatre. Her stage acting in New York got her noticed by Hollywood.
Whenever she goes to the Dominican Republic, the press asks her if she American or Dominican. She says she is a mujer negra, a black woman. When they tell her no, she is trigueñita, light brown, she answers, “I am a black woman.”
When Esquire magazine asked her “that fucking question”, as she puts it, the one about her ethnicity, she said, “I’m Dominican, Lebanese, Indian, Irish, Jamaican. But I hate going into that. I just say, ‘I’m from Queens.’ ”
Her name was put up for an NAACP Image Award for her part in “Guess Who”. She played the female lead, a black woman who brings home her white boyfriend, Ashton Kutcher, in a reverse remake of the Sidney Poitier film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967).
She played a female pirate, Annamaria, in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003), but she did not appear in any of the other “Pirates” films.
The actresses she looks up to are Salma Hayek, Whoopi Goldberg and Angelina Jolie.
She wants to win an Oscar: “I’m not going to be like, ‘I just want to be known for my work.’ No, I want that golden statue on my shelf.”