Zoe Saldana, Latina Magazine

Latina Magazine

Anyone playing Nina Simone on the big screen is bound to face some criticism.

From the moment Zoe Saldana was cast as the legendary jazz singer in Nina, she experienced this backlash firsthand. In a new interview with Latina magazine, the 34-year-old actress responds to the criticism that she isn't "black or curvy enough" to play Simone.

"People are going to want to outcast you and put you someplace and it's like, you can have any opinion about it, and that is fine, as long as you understand that it's going to come second to how I feel about myself," she said.

And did those adamantly wanting her not to play the role ever make her want to quit? "That would not have been fair," Saldana said. "I was already a part of this project and my priority was Nina, and the love that I feel for this woman, for her music and what she left us. Let's all give ourselves a chance to watch it and then make a decision."

Fair point. In the meantime, Saldana isn't going to let others' negative opinions keep her from living her life. "Life isn't just happy, happy, happy. Give me all of it! In order for me to keep growing and learning, I have to participate in life," she said. "I have to sacrifice. I have to expose myself. I have to be open, because then when it's good, the rewards are unbelievable. And when it's bad, it's not that I enjoy it, but I feel what I'm living. That's my motto: just be wide awake."

Wise words from a wise woman.

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