Zoe Saldana is no stranger to sexism in Hollywood.
In an interview with Allure magazine, which features her on the cover of its July 2016 issue, the 37-year-old Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy actress, known for her sexy female action roles, talks about struggling with equal rights and recalls a time she was told precisely why she was cast for a project—and no, it wasn't for her acting skills.
"A producer said, 'I hired you to look good in your underwear holding a gun,'" Saldana said.
Saldanda did not name names. She wields guns while wearing lingerie in the 2010 movie The Losers, in which she plays a Bolivian woman who helps an elite black ops team of United States Special Forces operatives.
"I was told walking into this project that they really wanted me for the part, and that any input or ideas I had to please share them," Saldana added. "That's what I was doing, and this producer was so bothered by the fact that he had to disrupt his vacation to call me and tell me to stop being a difficult bitch. I thought, 'Wow, it's real. It really happens.'"
Saldana had also talked about the underwear comment in 2015, telling The Philadelphia Daily News, "A producer once told me he hired me for the way I held a gun while wearing panties, not for my opinions. I wish I'd recorded it, so I could play it for every girl in elementary school and tell them never to let anybody treat them that way."
Saldana did not appear bothered by her racy role in The Losers in an on-camera interview with BlackTree TV in 2010, saying, "We're living right now in these times where everything is always so heavy. You have to like, think and your brain just blows up and all of a sudden, you just want to sit down, have your popcorn, have a good story, have a girl in panties with two guns, have some guys like, with nice guns and like, great senses of humor and guns and explosions. And this film has it all."
In her interview with Allure, Saldana also talked about another struggle many women deal with in the workplace: Balancing family life and work life. The actress shares 1-year-old twin sons Cy and Bowie with husband Marco Perego.
In 2015, she told USA Today that a studio behind one of her films initially declined her request to cover the boys' childcare while she was on set before agreeing to it. She added studios sometimes spend money on lavish perks for "male superstars," such as private jets or "a really phat penthouse."
"The tone changed in the negotiations," Saldana told Allure. "I was starting to feel that I was...difficult."
"This is a necessity that you must cover for me in order for me to go and perform my job," she added.
She also said some of the female employees of film studios are the ones enforcing "these man-made rules."
"When are we going to learn to stick together?" she asked.