While Zoe Saldana may be one of the most recognizable actresses in the industry, with starring roles in Avengers, Star Trek, and Avatar, it wasn't always an easy road to positioning herself to her current level of fame.
In a new interview with Porter, the star explains how the color of her skin seemed to be a hindrance early on in her career. "Every time I read a script, even if it was a period piece, I read it thinking that I was going to go after the lead role,” she said. “It wasn’t until I would come across the introduction of a supporting ethnic role that I realized, ‘Oh.’ I wasn’t even allowed to try to get that main role, because ‘they want to go traditional on the part.’ I would hang up on that conversation from my agents, thinking, ‘What about me is non-traditional’? It was a very hard pill to swallow."
Saldana, who was born in New Jersey, is a mix of races (her mother is Puerto Rican, while her father hails from the Dominican), but she is undisputedly an American—a point she drives home in her candid talk with the publication.
“In my country, where I pledged allegiance every day since I was five, to be told when I’m out there trying to pursue my American dream that I was not a traditional American was very hurtful,” she added.
“I will never accept that I am not a traditional anything. I come from where I come from, I can’t change that, and you come from where you come from. But if you tell me that where you come from is the only right place, and therefore I don’t fit that traditional mold, let’s just establish, very clearly, that you are the one who’s wrong. Because everything about me and where I come from is just as right.”
The mom of three is actively attempting to change this perception, and has launched her own media company with her husband, Marco Perego, called BESE. "I want the American narrative to continue, I just want the characters to vary,” she explains.