Zoe Saldana opened up to Cosmopolitan UK about everything from the state of the film industry when she first started 20 years ago to how her husband has been an inspiration, and why her race has made her work harder, plus what mentors have restored her faith in Hollywood.
The 39-year-old star keeps it real about what it was like when she first began to work in film.
"It was unfair and uneven...from how you built the part to why you were cast...to how you were dressed. And that one scene where you have to be in your underwear and why you have to have this sex scene that feels gratuitous. Or when you arrive on set and see your male director and male co-star are having a collaborative discussion about a scene that involves you, and you're not a part of it because you're the serviceable character," the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 star says. "And how hurt you then feel in your trailer. I don't want to go back to that. You feel stupid. I don't want to hear another man tell me, 'Oh, you were my muse.' I don't want to f--king be your muse anymore. I don't want you to just post me on your wall and look at me. I want you to listen to me!"
Saldana explains the incredible change that the #MeToo movement has brought not only in the overall industry but also how it's bonded so many actresses.
"You cry [now] because you didn't know how hard you had it. Now I see it differently. We were all suffering quietly...the high road for a woman for centuries was silence. You kind of go, 'F--k!' The new high road is speaking up. I don't want to go back to feeling minimized and like I'm lucky to be here," she says. "I get choked up. Never in my life would I have dreamed what happened last year. We were all reaching out to each other, as women, providing care for each other. I never experienced that when I arrived to Hollywood 20 years ago."
The BESE founder, explains how her husband, Marco Perego plays an inspirational role in her life with the #MeToo group.
"My husband has been an inspiration in this whole thing. The conversations we've been having, safely and intimately, have been evolving. And it's been very rewarding," she says. "He is a part of the #MeToo group. We have to broaden the narrative of #MeToo. The same way it applies to victims, it should apply to men who were blind who have now seen. If there is one thing I have to advise, it's to be kind to the men who are making an effort and don't put them all in one box. Let's not do to others what has been done to us. If we know how bad it's felt for so long, then we know what not do and how not to teach."
Saldana also candidly talked about how she's had to work harder due to her race.
"I'm not going to sugar-coat it for you. Ask any artists of color if they feel like they have to work harder. I don't mean that we deserve any special treatment--I don't want anybody's sympathy. But I do encourage empathy because you do have to work twice as hard to make someone in a position of power who has the power to f--k with your life and your dreams see why they should hire you, and why you are the right person for the role," she says. "We are yet to have an Asian superhero. And I'm waiting for that. It's time. 'Time's Up!' What's the answer? 'Standing up and speaking with love and respect whenever you feel you've been treated unfairly.'"
But the mother of two, assures us that there are amazing people in the industry and she's found mentors who continuously restore her faith in being an actress.
"[Working with] Steven Spielberg reminded me that I mattered. I have had all these mentors in my life: my mom, my ballet teacher, Steven, and James Cameron. Whenever my spirit was broken, they'd restore my faith in people and what I was doing," she explains. "I booked [my role in] The Terminal right after, so I got to work with an amazing director who is known for being humble and a mentor. I shared [my experience] with him, and he said, 'That's very unfortunate you went through that. But keep doing this. You're really good at it. There are good people out there.' He would invite me to sit with him on set and there would be a chair right next to his. It made my heart ache with happiness because he remembered that I'd been made to feel so irrelevant before and he went out of his way to make me feel the exact opposite."
The full interview appears in the May 2018 issue of Cosmopolitan UK, on sale today!