*Zoë Saldana is Latina magazine’s December/January cover girl, and in the issue, the actress opens up about her heritage, immigration and motherhood, and as PEOPLE notes, Zoe has a message for folks who take issue with America’s growing Latin culture.
“You can’t kill us. You can’t send us back,” she tells Latina. “We are millions and millions here because it is our time to migrate. We are the youngest culture. We are doing what your people did. So shut up and just deal with it.”
Saldana, 39, whose mother is Puerto Rican and whose late father hailed from the Dominican Republic, stuns on the Latina cover in a Valentino tiered lace and tulle mini. Inside the issue, the mother of twins also dishes on her controversial role as Nina Simone.
“As a woman, it wasn’t difficult to empathize with another woman. But I needed to be very isolated,” Zoe told the magazine about the “path” she took to become Nina. “I moved out of my house for three months. I wasn’t really talking to anybody that I knew. I just needed to be all things Nina. It was so intense, and everything happened really fast.”
“The people behind the project weren’t my cup of tea,” she said. “The director was fine, but there was a lot of mismanagement, which is why we’re still here three years later. And I’m still trying to fight with everybody to get the movie finished. Nina deserves better.”
Below are more highlights from the interview.
Do you feel personally affected by the immigration debate?
Zoe: This topic of immigration hurts because I don’t want to be angry anymore. I don’t believe that what anybody else is saying is true about me or my people. I’m kind of embarrassed when you see all of these people talking on national television, and it’s like, “Oh my God, if your grandfather were alive today, when he came here from Ireland, from Italy, escaped the f–king war in Russia. You’re rotting his name to shame. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how many degrees from Ivy League schools. You’re such a bigot. You’re such a hick right now.” People have to be open to the reality of what’s happening in our country.
There’s something exciting happening around the U.S., where more people are reckoning with Latino culture.
Zoe: The only true American here is the Native American. Everyone else is a transplant. We’re going through the exact same thing the Italians went through, the Irish, the Jews, and the Asians. In different ways, but it’s been very similar. After a while, people acculturated, and they only found solace by literally accepting themselves and going, “Whatever. Esta soy yo.” They were like, “This is my new country, but I’m going to keep this from my old, and I’m gonna blend it all.”
On balancing her work life and home life:
Zoe: You come home, you spend time with your family, you stay a little extra after the dinner has been eaten. Y tu hablas. Conversas con tu familia. It’s very important, because by the time you go back to work, it doesn’t feel like work. There’s a separation between being physically tired and being fatigued overall. I don’t like being fatigued. But when my mind is tired, I’m not… no estoy balanceada. No gusta porque me pongo triste.
Read more of Zoe Saldana’s Latina magazine interview here.