Zoe Saldana Covers The New Issue Of Allure To Talk Women’s Solidarity And Nina Simone
Zoe Saldana is front and center on the new issue of Allure magazine and she’s letting it all hang out, not mincing words, and addressing all haters…
For Saldana, “got to go” also applied to work. But the studio behind one of her films initially turned down her request that it cover the extra child care she required in order to put in 15-hour days on set. Perks that male stars typically get—private-jet service and tricked-out trailers—were one thing; babysitting, apparently, was another.
“The tone changed in the negotiations. I was starting to feel that I was…difficult,” she recalls, bristling at the memory. For babysitting to be “considered a perk, or ‘Give this to me; I’m having a diva fit’? No. This is a necessity that you must cover for me in order for me to go and perform my job,” she says. While her request was ultimately granted, there’s something that still bothers her about the skirmish: “The fact that there are women working in these studios—and they’re the ones [enforcing] these man-made rules. When are we going to learn to stick together?”
“That love and support from the network of women around you, it made me really…” Her voice trails off, and tears well up. “I get emotional because if we continue to do that, we will be unstoppable. As opposed to nitpicking at each other for arbitrary things such as weight and hair color and purses. It’s such f***ing minutiae when there are bigger issues that we have to be talking about, like equal pay and equal rights,” she says.
Even after her reputation as a bankable action heroine had been established, Saldana found herself struggling with these issues—most memorably when a producer told her, “I hired you to look good in your underwear holding a gun.” The line is as much of a gut punch now as it was when it was delivered years ago. “I was told walking into this project that they really wanted me for the part, and that any input or ideas I had to please share them. That’s what I was doing, and this producer was so bothered by the fact that he had to disrupt his vacation to call me and tell me to stop being a difficult b**ch. I thought, Wow, it’s real. It really happens.”
On the next page, Zoe drops the mic on those of us who have condemned her for her terrible Nina Simone depiction…
Image via Allure
“There’s no one way to be black,” she says quietly and slowly, clearly choosing her words carefully. “I’m black the way I know how to be. You have no idea who I am. I am black. I’m raising black men. Don’t you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain.”
The very idea that Saldana could be considered too pretty to play Simone seems to make the actress more sad than defensive. “I never saw her as unattractive. Nina looks like half my family!” she says. “But if you think the [prosthetic] nose I wore was unattractive, then maybe you need to ask yourself, What do you consider beautiful? Do you consider a thinner nose beautiful, so the wider you get, the more insulted you become?”
She goes on to say…
Still, she has no regrets. “The script probably would still be lying around, going from office to office, agency to agency, and nobody would have done it. Female stories aren’t relevant enough, especially a black female story,” she says. “I made a choice. Do I continue passing on the script and hope that the ‘right’ black person will do it, or do I say, ‘You know what? Whatever consequences this may bring about, my casting is nothing in comparison to the fact that this story must be told.'”
“The fact that we’re talking about her, that Nina Simone is trending? We f***ing won,” Saldana continues. “For so many years, nobody knew who the f**k she was. She is essential to our American history. As a woman first, and only then as everything else.”
You pickin’ up what Zoe is puttin’ down?
See a behind-the-scenes video on the next page.