The curious case of Zoë Saldana

Zoë Saldaña

Yesterday during my regular pedicure at my local nail salon, I picked up a copy of the September issue of Latina Magazine. I used to subscribe years ago and then let my subscription lapse. Aside from the constant code-switching which always felt forced and inauthentic. I don’t dislike code-switching or Spanglish. I speak and write like that, but I also recognize that it’s tough to write and make it feel natural. I did appreciate that their models were often real women and they were not 5’10 and 115 pounds.

I haven’t paid much attention to them lately, at least not positive attention. A few weeks ago, I heard about their inane list on 10 Latinas who have played “the help” in movies or television shows. It was a tie-in to the movie of the same name. For obvious reasons, there was a bit of social media outcry. It wasn’t about the perceived status of maids, nannies or domésticas; their work is valued and important. Instead, the criticism arose from the tone deafness of the article. There was no criticism about the lack of meaningful roles for Latinas and Latinos. The blurb about Lupe Ontiveros mentioned her estimate that she has played a maid 150 times, but was in no way critical of the fact that she didn’t have many other opportunities.

Anyway, as I flipped through the magazine, I checked out the details of Zoë Saldana’s photo shoot. On the same page, they included thumbnails of her previous covers for the magazine in May 2006 (far left above) and June/July 2009 (middle). I was surprised to see the change in skin tone between her first cover and subsequent covers. I know all magazines do a lot of touching up, but it’s interesting to see how much they’ve lightened her up over the years. Way to celebrate Afro-Latinas, Latina Magazine.


2 thoughts on “The curious case of Zoë Saldana

  1. Yolo says:

    I recently saw her on the cover of Ebony and under her was, “Black, Latina, and fierce.” Now I’m not really sure about Zoe’s background or how she herself identifies, but I do think that Ebony makes a mistake when they don’t see a Latina identity as possessing an African influence or as big chunk of that identity, especially for those in DR and PR. Being of African descent and being Latina are not mutually exclusive. I wonder how Latina magazine covered that. Anyhow, the Ebony cover is actually as light as the 3rd cover from the left.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s