Afro-Latina actress Zoe Saldana has never been one to mince words, continuing to speak her mind in a recent interview where she got real about Hollywood’s treatment of women of color.
After years in the industry, Saldana revealed to Porter Edit that she still has a hard time landing auditions, sharing her reasoning with the publication.
“I think it has a lot to do with race,” she said. “‘Color doesn’t sell’ – they hide behind that excuse. But in reality, if you are in a position of leadership, that means that you have the responsibility to guide the narrative and re-shape it and put it on the right track. When you’re not setting that trend, then you are no different than the shackles that are binding you.”
She went on the say things were even worse for her early in her career.
“Every time I read a script, even if it was a period piece, I read it thinking that I was going to go after the lead role,” she said. “It wasn’t until I would come across the introduction of a supporting ethnic role that I realized, ‘Oh.’ I wasn’t even allowed to try to get that main role, because they want to go ‘traditional’ on the part…. It was a very hard pill to swallow.”
Lastly, the Columbiana star revealed that she was once told she “was not traditional American,” taking exception with the ignorant statement. In response, she embraced her heritage even more.
“I will never accept that I am not a traditional anything,” she said. “I come from where I come from, I can’t change that, and you come from where you come from. But if you tell me that where you come from is the only right place, and therefore I don’t fit that traditional mold, let’s just establish, very clearly, that you are the one who’s wrong. Because everything about me and where I come from is just as right.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.