From Zoë Saldana’s official website:
Zoë Yadira Saldana was born June 19, 1978 in Passaic NJ to a Puerto Rican mother and Dominican father. Her family relocated to the Dominican Republic when she was ten years old. There she practiced ballet at one of the most prestigious dance schools in the country. Saldana returned to New York at age 17, where she began involving herself in theatre groups such as Faces and the New York Youth Theatre.
Her ballet training helped land her first on screen part as Eva in the dance film, Center Stage (2000). The actress’ career continued to flourish with roles in Pirates of The Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) with Johnny Depp, The Terminal (2004) starring Tom Hanks, and Guess Who (2005) opposite Ashton Kutcher.
Saldana’s career climbed to new heights in 2009 when she played Uhura in Star Trek. She officially joined the A-list with her groundbreaking role as Neytiri, the Na’vi princess, in James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). Saldana brought her fictional character to life through motion capture technology. This visual effects fueled film has revolutionized the movie industry.
Saldana continues to frequent the Dominican Republic and has two sisters, Cisely and Mariel, who appeared with her in a 2007 Gap advertisement.
On being black:
When I go to the D.R., the press in Santo Domingo always asks, "¿Qué te consideras, dominicana o americana?" (What do you consider yourself, Dominican or American?) I don't understand it, and it's the same people asking the same question. So I say, time and time again, "Yo soy una mujer negra." ("I am a black woman.") [They go,] "Oh, no, tú eres trigueñita." ("Oh no, you are 'dark skinned'") I'm like, "No! Let's get it straight, yo soy una mujer negra." ("I am a black woman.")