Zoe Saldana is crazy-close with her mother and sisters. And that’s a major reason the actress, now starring in the period thriller Live By Night, doesn’t let any trash talkers get under her skin.
“It comes from accepting who you are, as you are. I’ve been around women my whole life. We’re all victims of body shaming. We’re all abusers of self,” Saldana tells Yahoo Style. “As long as we practice every day being kind to each other and understand that what is being sold to you and expected of you — it’s unreal. It’s inaccurate. Once you learn that, you start working with what you have. You start to curate the kind of information you want in your life.”
Saldana is sweet and self-aware. She’s scarfing down a late lunch before finishing her day of press, in a year that’s turned into a professional cyclone. She’s shooting Avengers: Infinity War for the first half of 2017, and the rest will be dedicated to the Avatar sequels, with Zaldana reprising her role as a princess of the Omaticaya clan. She’s also married, to artist Marco Perego, and the mom of twins Cy and Bowie. When Saldana casually mentions that she has “a bunch of amazing nannies,” you want to hug her for her honesty. No biggie, says Saldana.
“I’ve always believed in the power of having people around you who support you and make you better. We shift tasks around so Marco and I can have time together,” she says, adding that she and Perego recently started working with a life coach. “She’s teaching us to find a way to live a high quality life so we can afford to be rested.”
Wherever work takes her, the family treks with. “It’s very stressful. But it would be more taxing on my heart if I left them behind. My husband can’t do it either. It’s unforgivable. Once they start school, that takes precedence. But for now, where I go, they go,” she says.
Being that it’s physically impossible to film scenes while parenting children, she needs — and appreciates — the caregivers who help her and Perego out. The two are adorable on red carpets and after they tied the knot, Perego took Saldana’s name: he now goes by Marco Perego-Saldana. One thing Saldana doesn’t compromise on: sharing photos of her boys on social media. Sure, you’ll see the occasional snap of their shoes or backs, but that’s it. Which means that unlike so many celebrity offspring, the twins can go to the playground and be anonymous.
“It has to do with respecting who they are. They’re too young to tell me how they would feel. They don’t know if they’re comfortable with that. It’s too violating. I can share them to the point that my husband and I are comfortable. I’ve never felt the impulse to show their faces. The trolling online is pretty disgraceful. I’m giving them a chance to have their own life,” she says.
Speaking of lives, Saldana relished stepping into the one lived by her Live By Night passionate Cuban expat and radical, Graciella Suarez, who becomes involved with the mobster played by Ben Affleck (who also directed).
“I haven’t had the opportunity to play many earthlings,” says Saldana. “Graciela is devoted to her life. But I’m not a woman of the ‘20s. I’m so glad I wasn’t born then.”
She trusted Affleck behind the camera, and loved exploring a woman who was much more than arm candy.
“The character has to speak to me and her relevance in the story. That’s the first thing I look at. I need to make sure this character serves a purpose. My ego a woman — it doesn’t make me able to do that. My ego is inflated when it comes to those things,” she says, of picking roles that are richer than just the supportive or nagging wife or girlfriend, whose only purpose is to push forward the story.
Saldana marvels that her other films “have turned into franchises. When they’re done, if I have time, I would love to continue exploring art films. We have to do four movies of Avatar.”
Between work, more work, and her family, there’s not much time left for idle pursuits. She and Perego make it a priority to carve out time together and Saldana says she’s learning to just step away for a beat when her kids act out. This time around, the Golden Globes — where Saldana presented — served as their adult night out. It’s crazy how things change once kids enter the picture.
“I used to be a big shopper before I had kids. I can’t remember the last time — last year I went to Barney’s and they had a sale and I went there with my stylist (Petra Flannery). Marco cancelled his meeting and came over as well. We got to rummage through the sales racks. I do enjoy shopping,” she says.