Zoe Saldana On Sexism & Racism In HollywoodJune 17, 2016
If there’s anyone who has what it takes to voice her opinion regarding the-ism’s, it is Zoe Saldana. In an interview with Allure magazine, the action star talked about the reality of Hollywood’s sexist treatment of women. She discussed a time where she was hired for her looks and not so much for her talent.
“A producer said, ‘I hired you to look good in your underwear holding a gun,'” she said. “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 continued. “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 b—h. I thought, ‘Wow, it’s real. It really happens.'”
Zoe had to experience a first-hand an act of discrimination for being a woman. How can you be asked to share any input or ideas if later you will be labeled “difficult”? This is not the first time that the action heroine had to face sexism. There was another time when she was asked to cover her own childcare costs during filming.
“The tone changed in the negotiations. I was starting to feel that I was…difficult,” she confessed.
We often see this problem throughout Hollywood and despite the evolution of our generation, little has changed. Women are still sex symbols and talent is overlooked. Saldana, who is a black Dominican, then went off to discuss the backlash she received for portraying the singe Nina Simone, and the public’s refusal to even accept her as a black woman.
“There’s no one way to be black,” she said. “I’m black the way I know how to be. You have no idea who I am. I am black. I’m raising black men. Don’t you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain.”
If you recall, Zoe applied darker makeup and even had her nose crafted to be made to appear like Nina Simone. The fans were NOT happy.
Saldana has no regrets and even though she foresaw the controversy, she wanted to tell Nina Simone’s story.
“I made a choice. Do I continue passing on the script and hope that the ‘right’ black person will do it, or do I say, ‘You know what? Whatever consequences this may bring about, my casting is nothing in comparison to the fact that this story must be told,” she said.
Hopefully the rise of new filmmakers will bring a more respectful culture for diversity in Hollywood.