Zoe Yadira Zaldaña Nazario
June 19, 1978
Zoe Saldaña (born Zoe Yadira Saldaña Nazario; June 19, 1978) is an American actress. She is also known as Zoë Saldana, Zoe Saldaña, and Zoë Saldaña. She is best known for playing Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Uhura in Star Trek (2009) and Neytiri in Avatar.
Zoe Saldaña was born in New Jersey and raised in Queens, New York. When she was 10 years old, she and her family moved to the Dominican Republic where they would live for the next 7 years.
While living in the Dominican Republic Zoe discovered a keen interest in performance dance and began her training at the prestigious ECOS Espacio de Danza Dance Academy where she learned ballet as well as other dance forms. Not only did her training provide an excellent outlet for the enthusiastic and energetic youngster, it would also prove to be a fortunate precursor for the start of her professional acting career.
At age 17, Zoe and her family moved back to the United States where her love for dance followed and an interest in theater performance became stronger. She began performing with the Faces theater troupe which put on plays geared to provide positive messages for teens with themes dealing with issues such as substance abuse and sex.
These performances not only gave her valuable experience, but also a source of great pride knowing that she was making a difference in the lives of young people like herself. While performing with the Faces troupe and also the New York Youth Theater, Zoe was recruited for a talent agency and her dance training years before coupled with her acting experience greatly helped her land her first big screen role as Eva, the talented and headstrong ballet dancer in the film Center Stage.
Since her professional career began just a few years ago Zoe's talent and determination has allowed her to be involved in blockbuster films and act with major actors, actresses and industry insiders at a pace that very few young professionals have experienced.
Zoe has not only held her own in major motion picture productions but gained the respect and praise from industry insiders such as Jerry Bruckheimer and Steven Spielberg and actors/actresses such as Tom Hanks, Bernie Mac, Keira Knightley, Ashton Kutcher, Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom. According to many of her co-stars, producers and directors the "sky is no limit" for this young star who has incredible range, intense concentration and a steely determination to be involved with projects that challenge her professionally with wide ranging subject matters and characters.
- Center Stage (2000)
- Snipes (2001)
- Get Over It (2001)
- Drumline (2002)
- Crossroads (2002)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
- Temptation (2004)
- Haven (2004)
- The Terminal (2004)
- Dirty Seeds (2005)
- Guess Who (2005)
- Premium (2006)
- After Sex (2007)
- Blackout (2007)
- Constellation (2007)
- Vantage Point (2008)
- Star Trek (2009)
- The Skeptic (2009)
- Burning Palms (2009)
- Avatar (2009)
- Takers (2010)
- Death at a Funeral (2010)
- The Losers (2010)
- Colombiana (2011)
- Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- Avatar 2 (2018)
- Avatar 3 (2019)
- Avatar 4 (2020)
- Her father is of Dominican descent; her mother is Puerto Rican.
- Ranked #42 on Maxim's 2008 Hot 100 List.
- Ranked #29 on Maxim's 2009 Hot 100 List
- Ranked #3 on Maxim's 2010 Hot 100 List.
- In The Terminal (2004), Saldana's character Torres is revealed to be a Trekkie. Saldana went on to be cast as Uhura in Star Trek (2009).
- Zoe hadn't seen the original series, before she was cast in Star Trek (film).
- To prepare her role in Star Trek (2009) she met with Nichelle Nichols who played the same character in the original series.
- She admires Whoopi Goldberg and Angelina Jolie.
- Was chosen as one of People Magazine's annual 100 Most Beautiful People in the World, Beauty at Every Age section, age 28, in May 2007.
- She had a small role in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), and was set to star in the sequels, but never did. In the final scene of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), the people were told an old friend would return, and while filming the scene, the actors were told it was Zoe who would return. However it was Geoffrey Rush, and they only told the actors it was Zoe to surprise them and get a real reaction from them. Zoe never reprised her character.
- She won a Saturn Award for her portrayal of Neytiri, in Avatar.