Zoe Yadira Saldana-Nazario, better known by her professional name, Zoe Saldana is an American actress and dancer who made her screen debut in an episode of Law & Order. Since her debut on the big screen with Center Stage, the actress has been part of some of the blockbuster hits like Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Avatar
and Star Trek
Born on June 19, 1978, in Passaic, New Jersey, USA, Zoe Saldana has Haitian and Lebanese roots. Her father, Aridio Saldana is from the Dominican Republic and her mother, Asalia Nazario is of Puerto Rico descent. Saldana spent most of her early childhood in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York before her mother eventually moved out to the Dominican Republic when she was just nine years old along with her two sisters, Cisely and Mariel and her half-brother named Nipo, who is now a popular Dominican artist and producer called `Nipo 809.`
It was in New York that Saldana discovered her love for dance and enrolled herself at the ECOS Espacio de Danza Academy, where she studied different dance forms, Ballet being her passion. After Saldana completed her sophomore year in high school, her family moved back to New York. After coming back to the USA, the actress started performing with the FACES theatre group based in Brooklyn. The group was focused on performing plays that spread a positive message for teens by spreading awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and adolescent sexuality and encouraging them to abstain from it. While performing with the FACES, she simultaneously performed with the New York Youth Theater. Her acting experience combined with her dance training eventually helped her land her first role in the film, Center Stage.
Zoe Saldana got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Keith Britton, an actor and the CEO of My Fashion Database in 2010. A year later, the duo parted ways and ended their relationship after being together for 11 years. The beautiful actress, later dated the handsome actor, Bradley Cooper
from December 2011 to January 2013.
In March 2013, Saldana started dating Marco Perego, an Italian artist and after three months of dating, in June 2013, the duo secretly walked the aisle in London. The couple has twin sons named Bowie Ezio Perego-Saldana and Cy Aridio Perego-Saldana.
Saldana started her acting career by appearing in plays as part of the FACES theatre group and while she was a member of the FACES group, she got a chance to feature in an episode of the Law & Order that was first aired in 1999. A year later in 2000, the actress made her debut on the big screen with Nicholas Hytner`s Center Stage. The movie, which had Saldana playing the role of a ballet student was an average hit but her performance in the movie was applauded by the critics. In the subsequent year, Saldana appeared in the Tamra Davis directed Crossroads, alongside the pop sensation, Britney Spears, Anson Mount
, Kim Cattrall
, and Taryn Manning
. The film was received negative critical reviews but it was an average hit at the box office. In the same year, Saldana starred in the comedy-drama Drumline, alongside Nick Cannon
. The movie opened to decent reviews and it did reasonably well in terms of box-office collections.
Saldana`s major break came in 2003 when she appeared in the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl where she played the role of Anamaria, a female pirate who sides with Will Turner, played by Orlando Bloom
and Mr. Gibbs played by Kevin McNally
to confront Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp
) who steals her ship. The film was a huge commercial and a critical success. Her next release was The Terminal where she played the role of Dolores Torres, an immigration officer and a Star Trek fan, which eventually helped her land a role in the 2009 film Star Trek directed by J.J. Abrams
. Her next few releases in 2004 were Temptation and Haven, both of which were failures.
The following year, in 2005, Saldana appeared in three films, Constellation, Dirty Deeds and Guess Who alongside Ashton Kutcher. All three movies performed poorly. Over the next two years, Saldana appeared in two movies, Premium (2006) and After Sex (2007), both being flops. The actress ended her flop streak with Blackout, a television film that is based on Northeast Blackout of 2003. The film was premiered at the 2007 Zurich Film Festival and was a hit.
The year 2009 proved to be a landmark year in Saldana`s career as she featured in James Cameroon
`s Avatar where she essayed the role of Neytiri, the daughter of the Na`vi clan`s leader. The movie went to become the first film in the world, which grossed more than $2billion worldwide. The movie got rave critical reviews and Saldana`s role was appreciated by all.
From 2010 to 2012, Saldana appeared in several movies including The Losers (2010), Death At A Funeral (2010), The Heart Specialist (2011), and The Words
(2013), all which had little or no success. In 2013, Saldana reprised her role as Uhura in Star Trek Into Darkness
, the sequel to the 2009 Star Trek. Like the previous film, it went to become one of the highest-grossing movies of that year. In the same year, Saldana lent her voice to Uhura`s character in the Star Trek video game.
Her next release, Guardians of the Galaxy
(2014) where she played the role of Gamora, was a huge hit and it was the third highest-grossing movie from the Marvel franchise behind The Avengers
and Iron Man 3
. In May 2014, Saldana appeared in Rosemary`s Baby, a TV miniseries, which is the adaptation of Ira Levin`s horror novel. In the same year, the actress during the Women in Hollywood Awards was recognized by Elle Magazine and she was honoured for her outstanding achievements in acting and producing.
In 2015, the actress appeared in Nina, which is a biopic based on the life of the popular jazz musician, Nina Simone. She started the year 2016 on a high note as she reprised the role as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek Beyond
directed by Justin Lin
. Her 2017 releases include the American crime drama film Live by Night directed by Ben Affleck
and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, an American superhero film directed by James Gunn. In 2019, she reprised the role of Gamora in the superhero movie Avengers: Endgame