Why Zoe Saldana Doesn't See Race

Photo: Franck Robichon/EPA/Shutterstock/REX
Zoe Saldana is a movie star with multiple film franchises under her belt. Now, she's revealed to The Daily Telegraph’s Stellar that she credits these action movies with making her "color-blind" and "gender-blind."
The Guardians of the Galaxy star has plenty of experience playing an otherworldly being. In addition to her turn as green-skinned Gamora, a reformed intergalactic assassin, in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise — a role she will reprise in the sequel, out May 5 — Saldana starred in James Cameron's Avatar and the latest film reboot of Star Trek. Speaking to Us Weekly, Saldana revealed that her sci-fi roles (of which there are obviously many) helped her see past the identity that she is constantly reminded of:
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"[Playing a science fiction character] makes me feel superhuman because, obviously, it’s been brought to my attention continuously since I was born that I’m not a conventional person because of the color of my skin or my gender or my cultural background," Saldana told The Daily Telegraph’s Stellar.
While I think it's evident that Saldana doesn't mean her gender or race isn't important — no one's identity should or can be truly "erased," no matter what role they are playing — sci-fi is unique in that, often, the race of a character doesn't necessarily mean much. If you're playing a person from a planet where race and gender aren't even things, well, that can be pretty liberating. In fact, back in July of 2016, Saldana spoke to Refinery29 about the impact that her identity has had on her career:
"Of course, for every role I've booked, I've been turned down for three others that I really loved and wanted more, because the director or the producer wanted to go traditional. And that's so offensive, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to change other people," Saldana tells Refinery29. "I'd rather live my life and knowing that, as a unit, if we're considered all units in this big bucket of life, then whatever I do and whatever I think and feel matters. It won't be on a larger scale, but I can only hope, if there are millions doing this, then that action will speak louder."
Let's hope that more people with Saldana's attitude sit behind a casting desk.
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