Zoe Saldana is awesome! Not only is she beautiful in person but she kicks butt as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy (both literally and figuratively).

Group photo with Zoe Saldana and Leanette Fernandez

After chatting with her there’s no doubt that she loves what she does and values herself enough to choose the roles that are right for her. She also wants to empower women so that we’re not limiting ourselves based on our gender. You Go Girl!

Here’s what Zoe Saldana had to say about her role as Gamora…

What was it like wearing that makeup everyday?

at first we tested with these contact lenses that just made me look like a lizard…and then they decided that it was better not to do contacts because you’re able to connect more with your own eyes. It was interesting. Sometimes I couldn’t put my arms down ‘cause if I started to get warm and sweat then the makeup would melt.

How long did applying the makeup take?

4½ to 5 hours

How did you prepare for your role?

I pull out of everything that I see in life…I was like, “Okay how am I gonna’ make this character different from all the other action characters that I’ve done before?”…I thought that’s Gamora and she’s a Bull Fighter. She’s not gonna’ be a Marshal Artist…she’s gonna’ be a very graceful sword fighter. So I just kinda’ added those little twists and then I thought well she’s an orphan. She was taken from her planet…even though on the surface it is a Marvel movie, and it’s comedy, I can’t come from that place. It’s unnatural to me. I have to come from a very real place and she was a real person. Whatever happens to her, whatever she’s been through is real.

Are you a comic book fan?

I would watch them whenever they were on TV and they were great. I used to watch He-Man and She-Ra and The Thunder Cats. I loved the Thunder Cats…my sisters and I would fist fight over who’s gonna’ be She-Ra…I never had an interest for reading it, but I loved watching it.

Did you research Gamora?

My nephew was my teacher with Gamora. He was like, “Do you even know who you’re playing?’ [LAUGHS]

How do you choose what projects you get involved in?

The script, the filmmaker and my character. My character needs to feel relevant. If I just feel like she doesn’t participate in the problem solving of plots and things like that then you really don’t want me on your team because I’m not gonna’ be happy. I’ve been in those situations where as an individual, as an Artist, as a woman you don’t feel relevant and it doesn’t feel good.

What were your thoughts on your character when you first read the script?

I liked the idea of doing a Marvel movie and working with him but I was not that excited about the script from Gomorrah’s standpoint. I’m like you want me in every scene, but I don’t speak in any of them. So what am I gonna’ do? Go there for 6 months, go through 5 hours of make up every day, 6 days a week, to just be a fly on the wall in every scene? [LAUGHS] “No baby that’s not gonna’ happen…we need to work on this.” And he (James Gunn) was like, “Zoe we’re on the same page, that’s what we’re doing.”…He kept his word, he was very outspoken and Marvel really had such a respect for him.

How do you feel about being a role model for girls?

…when I made these decisions to play this role, it’s selfless. ‘Cause doing these roles is a very selfless thing. I’m an Artist and I can only do things for me but to know that it’s gonna’ have such a beautiful impact on young women it’s, the selfless part of me.

Guardians of the Galaxy will be in theaters on 8/1. Be sure to connect with them and stay up to date: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube | Website