Zoe Saldana (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Zoe Yadira Saldaña Nazario ( ; born June 19, 1978), known by her stage name as Zoe Saldana or Zoë Saldaña, is an American actress. She had her breakthrough role in the 2000 film Center Stage and the 2002 film Crossroads. She later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek, and a starring role as Neytiri in James Cameron's Avatar. She also had a lead role in the action film Colombiana.
Saldana was born Zoe Yadira Zaldana Nazario in Passaic, New Jersey. Her late father, Aridio Saldaña, and her mother, Asalia Nazario, were born in the Dominican Republic. Her first languages are Spanish and English. She spent the majority of her early childhood growing up in Queens, New York. After her father died in a car accident when she was nine years old, Saldaña moved to the Dominican Republic with her mother. There, Saldana discovered her love of dance and soon enrolled in the ECOS Espacio de Danza Academy; she studied ballet, jazz, and modern Latin dance. The family returned to Queens after her sophomore year in high school.
In 1995 she began performing with the FACES theater group in Brooklyn, which put on plays geared towards providing positive messages for teens, via themes dealing with issues such as substance abuse and sex. Concurrently, she performed with the New York Youth Theater; her appearance in their production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat led a talent agency to recruit her. Her previous dance training, and her acting experience, helped her land her first big screen role as Eva, the talented and headstrong ballet dancer in the 2000 film Center Stage.
Zoe Saldana was still a member of FACES when she gained exposure in an episode of Law & Order (titled "Merger") which first aired in 1999.
Saldana's first film role was in Center Stage (2000), directed by Nicholas Hytner, about a group of young dancers from various backgrounds who enroll at the fictitious American Ballet Academy in New York City. She left school after Center Stage, subsequently appearing in the Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads (2002) and the comedy-drama Drumline (2002). She played the pirate Anamaria a female pirate who signs up to join Will Turner and Mr Gibbs for a chance to confront Jack Sparrow for stealing her ship in the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Saldana has appeared in a number of television shows and movies, including The Terminal (2004) and Guess Who (2005) with Ashton Kutcher.
Saldana was also the lead in the video for Juan Luis Guerra's song "La llave de mi corazón", and played Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek. In 2009, she played Neytiri (Neytiri te Tskaha Mo'at"ite), the Na'vi chief's daughter, in James Cameron's Avatar, a role that gave her much publicity and recognition, and therefore presenting her more opportunities to work in big commercial films.
In August 2010, Saldana's television ad for Calvin Klein's "Envy" line debuted.
In 2011, Saldana starred in the romantic comedy The Heart Specialist, Saldana also starred in the crime drama movie Colombiana as Cataleya Restrepo, a professional assassin.
In 2012, she starred in the drama film The Words. She will reprise her role for Star Trek into Darkness, the sequel to the 2009 remake. It is expected to be released in May, 2013.
In June 2010, Saldana became engaged to Keith Britton, an actor and CEO of My Fashion Database. In November 2011, it was confirmed that Saldana and Britton had amicably ended their relationship after eleven years together. Saldana has an on-again, off-again relationship with actor Bradley Cooper.
Saldana is a celebrity supporter of FINCA International, a microfinance organization.