Zoe Saldana

From Acting to Producing: Zoe Saldana's Mission to Diversify Hollywood


Sep. 26 2023, Published 8:24 p.m. ET

“America has a lot of growing up to do,” Zoe Saldana once said while discussing diversification. Most fans probably know her as the blue-colored lady from Avatar. She is undeniably incredibly talented, considering her role in the movie and other popular science fiction films like Star Trek. However, Zoe is more than just an actor. She is transitioning into the production seat in an effort to diversify Hollywood.

Here is more about Zoe’s efforts to diversify Hollywood and what she has achieved.

What Motivated Zoe to Advocate for Diversity?

Zoe has faced several challenges in her career. However, the most outstanding has been racism. Zoe’s father is Dominican, and her mother is Puerto Rican — and Zoe struggled to find her place in Hollywood at the start of her career. “When you start out and you are a person of color and you are female, you feel like you work twice as hard and it takes twice as long,” she told Porter Magazine. “We are finally reaping the benefits of all the hard labor. I honestly feel like we're just getting started.”

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In 2018, she founded and launched BESE, a new digital platform whose sole purpose is to empower Latinas. Zoe writes, “BESE is about reconstructing and re-contextualizing narratives around how young people connect to today’s America.” “It’s about inclusivity and telling the stories that navigate the cultures, identities, and nations that make up this country,” she continues.

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The Colombian star is also a mother, a factor that likely played a significant role in influencing her decision to start BESE. Zoe says she hopes to create an environment where her children are appreciated, one that sees them for the people they are instead of where they come from. To ensure she achieves this, Zoe has partnered with Daniel Batista to set afloat and develop BESE, which strives to create purposeful content that challenges mainstream media to be more diverse.

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Furthermore, the organization foresees dealing with a lack of diversity in mainstream media through producing stories in video, podcast, and editorial formats aimed at Latinx, millennials, and Gen Z. Zoe is confident that having role models will make a difference. Therefore, publicizing and engaging all Latinos will make it easier for others who would love to follow in their footsteps to be inspired.

Advocacy for Diversity and Career Choices

Besides championing diversity through BESE, Zoe tries to use her influence as an actor to achieve diversity. She has been flexible to adapt and play characters from diverse backgrounds. For instance, Zoe has undertaken projects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that showcase her Caribbean roots. She has also stood out in emphasizing the need for diversity and representation in the entertainment industry, which indicates her strong dedication to changing the narrative.

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She also co-owns Cinestar Pictures with her sisters, Mariel Saldana and Cisely Saldana. Cinestar has produced several diverse TV shows and movies including Netflix’s From Scratch, Gordita Chronicles on HBO, and The Honor List. Zoe is becoming more than an actor in Hollywood by actively striving to bring diversity and share the stories of Latin Americans.

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