Zoe Saldana on Sisterhood Over Competition

Our 2019 Leading Latina cover star, Zoe Saldana, tells a story of choosing sisterhood over competition that every woman should hear.

Last November, Zoe Saldana joined fellow Latina actors and activists America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, Gina Rodriguez, and Rosario Dawson in Florida to rally the Latino vote for the midterm elections. The collaboration was forged to raise awareness and emphasize the importance of voting, but it ended up doing so much more.

Zoe Saldana, founder, BESE, Leading Latina 2019
Zoe Saldana, Founder, BESEPhoto: Peter Yang

“The first thing we did when we were all together on that trip is: we sobbed,” Saldana says. “It was so emotional because every other time in our lives, we would have been so afraid to be in a room together. We would have been worried, ‘Oh, is she going to take my job?’ Because, including the women outside of our community, there’s only one door that opens and it’s 60,000 of us trying to get through. Fear was paralyzing us and kept us away from each other.”

Saldana points to the 2018 launch of the Time’s Up movement as an initiation of the unification of women. “January 1, 2018 is a very powerful date in my life as a woman, regardless of what kind of woman I am,” she says. “January 1 let each and every one of us know that we have the responsibility of taking care of each other. We all believed, we all promoted it, we all talked about it on social media. We were all sent the email, we were all sent the letter. On January 1, 2018, we all became accountable for each other’s welfare and well-being. So every time you look at a woman, whether she’s Latina, white, Asian—you look her in the eyes and you know that you have her back.”

The sisterhood that Time’s Up created was prevalent when the group of Latinas met for the November Florida gathering. Saldana says, “[Since the Time’s Up movement], we now have this responsibility of coming together and being good citizens, being good women, being good artists, and being good sisters. It took a weight off and we were able to just embrace each other. I love each and every one of them; there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them.”


Read our Conversations at the Top feature with Zoe Saldana ⟶

Our full list of 2019 Leading Latinas

A powerful message from guest editor Liliana Gil Valletta