She had her breakthrough role in the 2000 film Center Stage and later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek, and a starring role as Neytiri in James Cameron’s Avatar. Zoe Saldana was born Zoe Yadira Saldaña Nazario or Zoe Yadira Saldana Nazario in Passaic, New Jersey. Her father, Aridio Saldaña, is Dominican, and her mother, Asalia Nazario, is Puerto Rican. She spent the majority of her early childhood growing up in Queens, New York. The family returned to Queens after her sophomore year in high school. Concurrently, she performed with the New York Youth Theater Zoe; her appearance in their production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat led a talent agency to recruit her. in 2009, she played Neytiri, the Na’vi princess, in James Cameron’s Avatar, a role that gave her much publicity and recognition, and therefore presenting her more opportunities to work in big commercial films.