Zoë Saldaña Doesn't Always Draw From Latina Identity for Films

Yes, Zoë Saldaña is Latina. But that doesn’t mean her ethnicity inspires her for every role she tackles.

During a recent press conference to promote her new film Star Trek: Into Darkness, our May 2013 cover girl spoke about not dwelling too much on being a Latina actress – but instead, just an actress.

“What helped to make my character more respectable, and completely independent of what I am as a person is not thinking of (being Latina) for anything,” the 34-year-old actress said, referring to her badass character Uhura in the highly anticipated sci-fi action film. Saldaña (who is of Dominican/Puerto Rican descent) is reprising the role, which she played in the 2009 film.

In her revealing interview in Latina’s May 2013 issue, the down-to-earth movie star spoke about being concerned at first before accepting the role of Uhura in the Star Trek sequel.

“I think I was just a little beside myself because after the treat and the gift of booking Avatar and being in the middle of shooting, to be able to then do another great movie with another great filmmaker back to back — I was a little overwhelmed and I thought: ‘Maybe I should just take some time off and focus and just rest?’” she said.

But Saldaña’s mom Asalia is a Trekkie – and the actress’ team encouraged her to tackle the role. We’re glad she did.

The actress maintained that her job as an artist is “to remain neutral.” We dig that.

“Everyone knows that I'm Latina, and I want everyone to be inspired. Not that they want to go through the door just because they are Latinos, but because they have merits of excellence, just like any other person from any other culture,” she said. “Because it just happens that they are amazing Latinos.”

And, in our book, Saldaña happens to be one of them.