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GLAM Belleza Latina: How does this influence your feelings about portraying Nina Simone? Such a big deal was made over whether you were black enough or looked like her enough. Jennifer Lopez got a similar reaction when she was cast as Selena because she wasn’t Mexican. How did you get past the criticism
Zoe Saldana: You know, I do wish that people made their own judgment after they watch the movie because right now, it isn’t even edited yet, and there’s been so much uproar. I can’t say that I’m not affected by it or that it’s not valid. But the one thing that we all have in common is an unconditional love and admiration and respect for Nina Simone. Something that’s done out of love, in my mind, can’t be right or wrong.
GLAM Belleza Latina: Speaking of movies, you have such a range on your resume, from blockbusters to smaller indies. Your family must be so proud of you
Zoe Saldana: My mom helped me realize that when I am passionate about something, when I love the place that I’m at or the work that I’m doing, then [I can focus]. I don’t eat, I don’t sleep. It’s like a fever. I do it until it’s done. If I’m not interested in what I’m doing, I’m not going to pay attention—I’m massively ADD.
GLAM Belleza Latina: Has your career exceeded your wildest dreams?
Zoe Saldana: Do you know what’s so funny? I never really dreamt about this. I like how I go about my life and make decisions that are good for me. I feel like that’s what has led me to my career. I’ve collected a wonderful palette that prevents people from boxing me in. I’m going to keep doing that.
GLAM Belleza Latina: You’ve generated headlines for comments you made in the press about potentially ending up in a relationship with a woman. Were you surprised at the reaction?
Zoe Saldana: Honestly, as women, we have to teach the world to back up. I don’t know where I’m going to be in a year or five years, and so yeah, that [raising a family with another woman] can happen. Growing up, we’ve all heard the neighbors say, “Did you hear about Fulana?” “What do you mean?” “Ay, dejo al marido y ahora esta con Sofia.” And you’re like, What? [Laughs.]
GLAM Belleza Latina: You’re pretty fluent in Spanish. What do you think about how our Latin culture judges those who don’t speak the language?
Zoe Saldana: In my household we spoke Spanish. We were sent to schools in the Dominican Republic for seven years, and we were able to master it. But I don’t judge, you know? I’m first-generation, but I have friends that are second- and third-generation who can make me an arroz con pollo that can kick my ass and they don’t speak a word of Spanish. So I can’t discriminate.
GLAM Belleza Latina: But do you think parents should teach their kids Spanish?
Zoe Saldana: Yes. Even if you have to use Rosetta Stone!
GLAM Belleza Latina: Bueno, Zoe, thank you for talking to Glam Belleza Latina. Congratulations on all of your success!
Zoe Saldana: ¡Con Dios por delante!
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