Zoe Yadira Zaldana Nazario was born in New Jersey to a Puertorican mother and a dominican father and was raised by her mother in Puerto Rico when her father died. Esquire Magazine (May 2009 Issue) She was raised in Queens, New York, and her first languages are English and Spanish. Zoe enlisted in a ballet class at one of the most prestigious dancing schools in the country, gaining experience as a dancer, which benefited her later for her role in Center Stage. She returned to the United States after her sophomore year in high school and enrolled in the Faces Theater Program, an acting course.
Saldana was still a member of the program when she got her first screen experience on an episode of Law & Order, which aired October 13, 1999. She left school after her major film debut in Center Stage (2000), which subsequently led to appearances in the Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads (2002) and the drama Drumline (2002). She played the pirate, Anamaria, in the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and has appeared in a number of television shows and movies, including The Terminal (2004) and Guess Who (2005). Saldana was also the lead in the video for Juan Luis Guerra's song "La llave de mi corazón", and played Uhura in the 2009 movie Star Trek, and a starring role as Neytiri in James Cameron's Avatar—the highest-grossing film of all time.
Zoe has tattoos on her ribcage, her bikini line and her foot. They are Arabic (on ribcage), Farsi (on right foot), a star (on back of left foot) and what looks like the initials GK (on panty line).