Afro-Latina actress Zoe Saldana graces the inaugural issue of Cosmo for Latinas, the glossy’s first foray into trying to tap into one of America’s fastest growing demographics.  In the issue, the Dominican beauty dishes on her early years, the challenges she’s had to overcome, her career, and what it’s like being a woman of color in the industry.

“People think of Latina women as being fiery and fierce, which is usually true. But I think the quality that so many Latinas possess is strength. I’m very proud to have Latin blood,” she told the mag.

The Drumline actress’ life hasn’t always been easy. After her father died in a car accident when she was young, her mother packed up the family and moved them back to the Dominican Republic. But she credits her mother’s resolve for helping her become the woman she is today.

After moving back to NYC to become a ballet dancer in her teens, Saldana says she decided to give up dancing to pursue a different dream–acting.

“I had to quit ballet because it felt like a part of me was dying inside. It takes a lot of courage to face up to things you can’t do because we feed ourselves so much denial…In dance, you use every part of your body except your voice. I wanted to start acting because I wanted to use my voice.”

While I’m glad Saldana is getting some more much-deserved shine, I’m not exactly sure why Cosmo felt the need to have a mag specifically for Latinas. Perhaps if they incorporated a more diverse group of women into Cosmo itself, they wouldn’t have to segregate their readers. Just saying.

Check out the full o interview when Cosmo for Latinas hits newsstands May 1. 

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