Zoe Saldana On Being Successful As A Woman Of Color In Hollywood: “My Balls Are Pretty Big”

“I don’t want to spend my life thinking about all the impossibilities I face when I wake up in the morning. But the reality is, I’m a woman of color in America. That itself is enough for you to wake up and go, “Oh, f—!” … My balls are pretty big. There’s a confidence that my sisters and I were raised with. After my dad died [in a car accident, when she was nine years old], my mom moved us from Queens back to the Dominican Republic. A very macho sort of place. But my mom raised us to know that we are equal to anyone.”

Zoe Saldana has always struck me as the best kind of interviewee: someone who will sound off openly and honestly and say things that make you want to be her friend. Scratch that, I want both Zoe and Mama Saldana in my corner.

In this interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Zoe also talked about the controversy around her role in a biopic about Nina Simone. Some people, including Frisky contributor Erica Watson, complained that Hollywood whitewashed Nina’s story by casting a lighter-skinned woman of color like Zoe for the role. Nina Simone was a darker-skinned Black woman who was very proud of her Blackness. Here’s what Zoe — who has addressed the controversy before — has to say about that:

“You have to try to understand where people are coming from. This has always been an issue in our society. A white person can play Cleopatra, even though Cleopatra was a North African woman who in reality had coffee skin. But that’s not sellable in Hollywood. So you get Elizabeth Taylor with purple eyes. So there’s always been a lot of tension in the African-American community about Hollywood being a whitewashing machine. But that wasn’t the case with Nina. There were so many other variables that people don’t know about. I wasn’t the first person to step up to the plate. They went out to everybody for the part. There were other people attached for years [like Mary J. Blige]. And they just decided not to do it. And at the end of the day, we had to tell this story. It’s our duty to go out and tell stories about women and about people of color because we don’t do that enough.”

What do you think about what Zoe says about her Nina Simone role?

[The Hollywood Reporter]

[Image via The Hollywood Reporter]

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