We’ve been celebrating major Latina wins this year including Gloria Estefan becoming the first Latina to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Now Zoe Saldaña is the definition of Latina Power at the Box Office making history as the first actor to have four movies earn more than $2 billion, according to measurement firm Comscore. This past weekend her latest movie, Avatar: The Way of Water, surpassed $2 billion at the worldwide box office joining her three other films to reach the milestone: Avatar (2009), Avengers: Endgame (2019) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). The 44-year-old actress, who is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, has not only established herself in two of the most successful fantasy franchises of all time, she also returns as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which debuts in theaters May 5.
“Wow! What can I say about today? It has been a rollercoaster of emotions for sure. Gratitude for the acknowledgment, and absolute exhilaration that I get to wake up every morning and go do what I love. Never in a million years did I ever aim to make history by being in these movies,” she wrote in a caption on Instagram announcing the news. “I’ve always been lucky to have been chosen and asked to join these amazing, groundbreaking projects.Thank you to @jamescameronofficial @jamesgunn and @therussobrothers for trusting me with their vision. Thank YOU to all our fans for making these movies what they are today- history in the making!”
She recently opened up to WWD about feeling creatively stuck doing these franchises yet feeling gratitude for the opportunities. “I feel that for the last 10 years of my life, I’ve been just stuck. I felt stuck doing these franchises,” she told the publication. “I’m very grateful for the opportunities that they provided, from collaborating with amazing directors and getting to meet cast members that I consider friends and getting to play a role that fans, especially children, love. But it also meant that I felt artistically stuck in my craft of not being able to expand or grow or challenge myself by playing different sorts of genres and different roles.”
She received acclaim for her work on the Netflix mini series From Scratch, a tear-jerker and love story based in Italy. She’s also working on Lioness, an upcoming series from Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan that she’s leading and co-producing with Nicole Kidman. Clearly she has plans for creative projects beyond the franchises she’s become known for but now this milestone solidified her status as a major Hollywood star and bankable actress.
In a time when representation of Latinxs on the big screen remains so limited, to see a Latina, an Afro-Latina, make history like this is so worth celebrating.