you. And it almost appears seamless. Is that true? Or have there been bumps along the way because you’re a woman of color?
ZS: Nothing in life is just one layer. It’s one-layered [but] it’s multifaceted, and there are various factors that take place into making a decision or something happening. So the one thing I will say is, what has not changed is what I feel and think of myself and how I interact with the world, how I handle myself. I feel like I’m very confident. I’m going to have my moments of weakness, but I like who I am and I don’t want to be anybody else. I don’t want anybody to tell me to change when I don’t want to change.
So that’s just who I am. And when I approach something—whether I’m fighting for a role or I’m being offered a role—I’m not thinking whether or not anybody is doing me a favor or if I’m doing somebody else a favor. I’m just thinking, as an artist and as a woman, “is this something that best represents the craft that I want to be known for?” Or is this an accurate representation of what a woman is supposed to be?
And do I like this story? Do I like this director? Do I think the studio is going to manage and sell it properly. That’s where my head is at. I’m not thinking, “Oh, I’m a woman of color, are they gonna want me?” I don’t give too much energy to that, because my time is very valuable, and something that exists to others is not going to exist in my world. That’s how I think I get by, by not giving it any validation by wasting more time investing into thinking about it.
EBONY: That’s profound.
ZS: Yeah. Morgan Freeman said it. And I was just told this when I was doing an interview: he’s not going to talk about racism. I’m not going to talk about it. Yeah, it’s an elephant. We all see it, we all know it, but I’m not going to carry it in my heart, because I want to be a person that embodies change. Not embodies war or battles or bitterness; I want to keep moving on.
EBONY: People are buzzing about the Nina Simone project. What was that experience like?
ZS: I’ve been a fan of hers and have followed her life and known about her journey since I was very young. I am proud of it. It was a very intense and spiritual journey. I can’t wait until the film is done and it’s ready to be shared with the world.
EBONY: Back to Star Trek: this film is bigger than just something for Trekkies. It’s entertaining from top to bottom.
ZS: Oh my God, absolutely! It was never our purpose just to do a movie just for the demographic that follows the franchise or the show. Never, never, never. It was literally to do an amazing movie to revamp a very special series that had such a positive message of peace. Revamping it utilizing the advances that we have with technology and doing special, amazing effects that look more believable.
I’m not a fan. I never followed Star Trek. I’m now a lover of Star Trek because I enjoyed being a part of the story. It’s important to get across for other women that they’re going to enjoy this movie. They’re not going to be yawning, going, “Oh my God, why’d I let him drag me into this?!” This movie is going to cater to all your senses, whether you’re old or young, male or female, ’cause it’s a great movie experience. It’s a whole package.