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Zoe Saldana Discusses Her Arab Roots, Her New Marvel Movie & Breaking Stereotypes

Did you know she was part Lebanese?

Zoe Saldana, a well-known part Lebanese part American actress, has become a global icon by appearing in the three highest-grossing films of all time: “Avatar,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Despite being rejected from roles for not fitting the image of a typical movie star, Saldana persisted and never forgot the lesson her mother instilled in her, the idea that diversity is what makes an individual rich, which has helped her to become successful.

Saldana grew up in a small apartment in Queens, New York with her parents and two sisters. Her family encouraged her to learn about different cultures and to explore the world around her. She discovered her love for acting while performing in youth theater groups in New York as a teenager.

Despite her talent, Saldana faced prejudice and racism within the film industry due to her multicultural background, which was seen as a flaw. Her anxiety and panic would build up before auditions, only to be told that she didn't fit the traditional mold. Saldana had a choice to either allow these negative thoughts to sink in or to continue to seek opportunities where she was wanted. She decided to do the latter, which led her to work with filmmakers like James Gunn, JJ Abrams, and James Cameron. They created science-fiction worlds that she naturally gravitated towards and where there was space for her. Saldana enjoys playing different characters in these creative spaces, even if they are not like herself.

Saldana's time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is coming to an end with the release of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." Despite this, she continues to film the next three "Avatar" films with James Cameron. She believes that her success is due to her diverse background and embracing her uniqueness. She hopes that her story will inspire others to do the same and to know that fitting in is not always necessary to be successful.

Despite the end of these creative spaces, Saldana remains excited to continue exploring different roles and is always looking for new opportunities to learn and grow as an actress. 

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