- Zoe Yadira Saldaña Nazario
June 19, 1978 (age 44)
- Actor, Voice Actor
- Aridio Saldaña, Asalia Nazario
Zoe Yadira Saldaña Nazario (born June 19, 1978), known as Zoe Saldanaor 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 Saldaña Nazario in Passaic, New Jersey. Her father, Aridio Saldana, was Dominican, and her mother, Asalia Nazario, is Puerto Rican. Her first languages are Spanish and English. She spent the majority of her early childhood growing up in Queens, New York. Saldaña moved to the Dominican Republic with her mother. There, Saldaña 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. 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.
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. She left school after Center Stage, subsequently appearing in the Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads (2002) and the comedy-drama Drumline (2002).
Among other roles, Saldana played Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek. In 2009, she played Neytiri, the Na'vi chief's daughter, in James Cameron's Avatar, a role that raised her profile.
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 had an on-again, off-again relationship with actor Bradley Cooper from 2011 to 2013.