Zoe Saldana (born June 19, 1978; also known as Zoë Saldana, Zoe Saldaña, and Zoë Saldaña) is an American actress. She had her breakthrough role in the 2002 film Drumline, and later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek, and Neytiri in James Cameron's Avatar. In 2010 she appeared in the film The Losers.
Zoe Saldana was born Zoe Yadira Zaldaña Nazario or Zoe Yadira Zaldana Nazario in New Jersey, United States, to a Dominican father and a Puerto Rican mother, Asalia Nazario. Her first languages are English and Spanish. When she was ten years old, she and her family moved to the Dominican Republic, where they lived for the next seven years. Saldana enlisted in a ballet class at one of the most prestigious dancing schools in the Dominican Republic. After returning to New York at age seventeen, she began performing with the Faces theater troupe, which put on plays geared to providing positive messages for teens, via themes dealing with issues such as substance abuse and sex. These performances not only gave her valuable experience but also a source of great pride, as she knew that she was making a difference in the lives of young people like herself. While performing with the Faces troupe and also the New York Youth Theater Zoe was recruited for a talent agency. Her dance training years before, coupled with her acting experience, greatly helped her land her first big screen role as Eva, the talented and headstrong ballet dancer in the 2000 film Center Stage.
Saldana was still a member of the program when she gained exposure in an episode of Law & Order (titled "Merger") which first aired in 1999. She left school after Center Stage, which film led to appearances in the Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads (2002) and the comedy-drama Drumline (2002). She played the pirate Anamaria in the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and has appeared in a number of television shows and movies, including The Terminal (2004) and Guess Who (2005). Saldana was also the lead in the video for Juan Luis Guerra's song "La llave de mi corazón", and played Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek. In 2009, she played Neytiri, the Na'vi princess, in James Cameron's Avatar, the film is a leading box office hit and her biggest success to date.