Gina Rodriguez, Eva Longoria and America Ferrera are at the forefront of the push to make Hollywood more Latinx inclusive. One A-lister who’s joining them is Zoe Saldana. When she’s not applying hours worth of green makeup to play Gamora in the Guardians of the Galaxy series, the 40-year-old actress is fighting the good fight for the entire Latinx community by defining the term Latinx itself. During an interview at South by Southwest, the starlet shared her take on the term.
“To me ‘X’ represents me and doesn’t exclude me the moment a man walks in a room,” she said. “So I can be in a room full of women and we’re all Latinas and the moment that one male walks in the room we are Latinos. My gender and my presence is erased. Our language (Spanish) is based on this language division that favors masculinity.”
The Guardians of the Galaxy actress learned about the term while working on her media company Bese, which focuses on telling the “underrepresented” stories of the country. “Latinx is a term that I learned as I was building BESE three years ago,” she shared. “I was doing all of this research and asking GenZ and millennials how they are choosing to define themselves. Millennials basically created this term, and my job is to bless it and make sure that it becomes a habit five years from now. That we use Latinx not as a cynical term.”
Today is #LatinaEqualPay Day, when we “catch up” to what white, non-hispanic men were paid in 2017. The gap is widest for Latina workers, who on average only get 53 cents for every $1 a man is paid. The gap has widened sincelast year, and for some, it’s even worse. This is an injustice, and there’s still so much work to do for Latinas to be treated equally. I am #PhenomenallyLatina, and I support Latina equal pay! @phenomenal.ly t-shirt proce benefit the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. www.phenomenalwoman.us
As for her thoughts on how Hollywood reacts to her Afro-Latin identity, she’s choosing to focus on herself instead. “I don’t care anymore what Hollywood feels,” she said. “When I chose to become an artist, I couldn’t be defined by the color of my skin or the texture of my hair or my origins. As an artist, I need to be multifaceted. I need to be that chameleon that transcends and becomes something else. And I need to make people believe it so that I can take you on this journey with me.”