Zoe Saldaña Recalls Being Told to Change Her Name Early in Career

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A former ballerina, Zoe Saldaña made her film debut with “Center Stage,” and went on to appear in “Crossroads,” “Drumline,” and “The Terminal,” before breaking out in “Star Trek,” “Avatar,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Speaking recently spoke to EW and revealed some of the worst advice she ever received as an actress. The “Guardians of the Galaxy” star recalls how she was advised to change her name early in her career. She claims that at the time, she didn’t take the suggestion as hurtful.

“When I did [2000 film] ‘Center Stage’, I remember being discouraged by my management at that time to use my name,” Saldaña said, before adding, “but their intention was never for me to stop being who I was. They celebrated who I was.”

Saldaña continued, “But my manager at the time was a former singer and a ballroom performer, and she did change her name as well, when she was a teenager back in the ’60s, I believe. And she said it’s what everybody does. That was her doing the best that she wanted for me, but I still knew that I liked my name.”

Today, she says, that kind of advice would be considered poor. “That was her doing the best that she wanted for me, but I still knew that I liked my name.

Speaking with ScreenRant about her new Netflix time-travel movie, The Adam Project, the star shared what she would tell her younger self if she could go back 20 years when she was just starting her movie career.

“What would I tell her? ‘Don’t be so nervous.’ I remember at that time, I was just so nervous because I was getting to do these projects for the very first time, and I was getting to travel to these places for the very first time,” she said. “So there was a lot of nervousness that I felt, and always having to cover that up to look like I’ve been here before. But I would just tell her, ‘Don’t be so nervous. You belong.’ “

The Adam Project is now streaming on Netflix.

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