From “Avatar” to “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, Dancer turned actress; Zoe Saldana has remained a screen goddess and she is our Woman Crush and Wonder Woman for this week.
Zoe Saldana Ancestry
Saldana was born June 19, 1978, in Passaic, New Jersey. Her father, Aridio Saldaña, was of Dominican and Haitian descent, while her mother, Asalia Nazario, is Puerto Rican with some Lebanese ancestry. With regard to her racial identity, Saldana stated,
“There’s no one way to be black. I’m black the way I know how to be.”
The majority of her early childhood was in Jackson Heights, New York. She was raised bilingual, speaking English and Spanish. She has two sisters, Cisely and Mariel. Their father died in a vehicle wreck around her ninth birthday, and their mother moved with the children to the Dominican Republic.
Saldana discovered her love of dance in the Dominican Republic; then enrolled in the ECOS Espacio de Danza Academy studying forms of dance, but describes ballet as her passion. She quit ballet because, according to her; she did not “have the feet” and had too much pride and ambition to just be in the corps de ballet.
The family returned to New York city after her sophomore year at Newtown High school.
In 1995, she performed with the Faces theater group in Brooklyn, with plays providing positive messages for teens via themes dealing with issues such as substance abuse and adolescent sex. During these years, she performed with the New York Youth Theater; her appearance in their production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, led a talent agency to recruit her. Her dance training and her acting experience helped her land her first film role in 2000, playing ballet student, Eva Rodriguez in Center Stage.
Saldana worked in science fiction films, beginning in 2009 with her first of multiple appearances; as Nyota Uhura in the Star Trek film series and her first appearance as Neytiri in the Avatar film series. She portrayed Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014.
Due to her appearances in some of the highest-grossing films of all time, such as Avatar and Avengers: Endgame, Saldana is the second highest-grossing film actress of all time; as of 2019. Her films grossed more than $11 billion worldwide.
Why Zoe Saldana Wants the World to See Migrants as Humans — Not a Political Issue
Why Zoe Saldana hopes that people will see migrant families as a human beings; and why she wants to promote positive stories about Latino communities.
As the daughter of an immigrant mother who fled from the Dominican Republic as a child, Zoe Saldana knows all too well about the lives of people; who are leaving their home countries hoping for a safer, fresh start in America.
“My grandmother landed in New York in 1961 with my mother after running away form a dictatorship in the Dominican Republic,” she says in the latest issue of PEOPLE. “She felt invited by America, that America was giving her all the tools because they wanted her to win.”
That’s why, when the number of people held in detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border skyrocketed last year as children were being separated from their parents, Saldana felt a need to step in.
“The migrants are teachers, engineers, nurses,” says Saldana.
You sit down with 12-year-olds who left with the 8-year-old siblings, running away from sexual or domestic abuse,” she says. “We have to understand the human side of all of this.”
Saldana also founded the media site Bese, hoping to promote positive stories about Latinos, after finding herself discouraged by the negative stereotypes she often sees in their portrayals.
In 2013, Saldana married Marco Perego. In 2014, the couple welcomed twins boys Bowie and Cy and three years later, another son named Zen.
Saldana has enjoyed great success with a line-up of worldwide highest-grossing films in her kitty. As of 2020, Zoe Saldana’s net worth is estimated to be $20 Million.