Zoe Saldana, the new Halle Berry

Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana is one of the busiest young names in Hollywood.

See her in blockbusters like 'Avatar' and 'Star Trek Into Darkness'.

She also stars in many lower budget movies such as 'Love, Marilyn' and 'The Heart Specialist'.

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Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana was born June 19, 1978 in Passaic, New Jersey. She has starred in Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar, and Star Trek. She is the new face of Calvin Klein, photographed by Mikael Jansson, following in the scantily-clad footsteps of Eva Mendes.

Saldana grew up in Queens, New York, but spent seven years of her childhood in the Dominican Republic, her father's home country.

The Calvin Klein gig was a dream come true for Saldana. She says, Calvin Klein has been such an all-American staple for me. I love what creative director Francisco Costa does every year with his clean lines.

His designs allow the woman in you to shine through. I have been wearing his dresses a lot this year -- so when they asked me to be the face of their underwear line I was very honored.

Saldana is seen a lot on the red carpet at movie premieres and Hollywood social events: For red carpet looks, I tend to go with more dramatic designers, Givenchy, Alaia, Christian Lacroix and Calvin Klein, she says. These are the designers that have caught my eye.

In keeping with her action girl image, she prefers edgy outifts: I’ve been really into the leather jackets. My favorites are my leather L’Agence and a linen olive green Max Mara jacket, she says.

Her downtime outfits are in keeping with her preference for action rather than tranquility: I don't like things like little sandals that look fragile. I like to look strong and commanding. I'm more of a guy's girl. I like having a beer in a bar, and I don't bicker or sit down and do my nails

Saldana's 2009 was action-packed. She starred as Nyota Uhura in J.J. Abrams Star Trek, and Neytiri in James Cameron’s Avatar. Both of those movies have big-budget sequels in the pipeline.

In 2010, she appeared in Losers, where she plays Aisha, a member of a CIA black ops team. She also starred in lame Chris Rock comedy Death at a Funeral, and heist adventure Takers (formerly Bone Deep) directed by John Luessenhop and starring Matt Dillon.

Asked if she is going to be become our next action heroine a la Halle Berry in Swordfish and Catwoman, Saldana says: I honestly felt that after Avatar I became like a beast for action. I'm so hungry for it and I want to do all my stunts. I’m all bruised up and everything. I’m still at that phase where I want to do everything myself and get beaten up.

For her part in Losers, Saldana put herself through a grueling training program: Yes, gun training, a lot of physical training too. I had to gain a couple of pounds so that I was going to be able to hold those weapons for more than eight hours a day. They’re pretty heavy. I don’t know what it is, but I love that kind of shit. I really love it when I’m pushed physically and it's not just a mental research of what a character’s supposed to do.

Saldana is not the gentle, girly sort: I don't draw myself a bath with candles -- I don't get it. I feel the same about camping: You pack for five frickin' hours to go to the woods and sit by a fire?

When she was a girl, Saldana didn't play with dolls or pink furry animals: Growing up, my dolls were doctors and on secret missions. I had Barbie Goes Rambo.

Although Saldana has the big 3-0 behind her, she is intent on continuing to do her own stunts: I like to think that I’m still young. Hips aren’t hurting, knees are fine, they’re not swelling so let’s just do it. It's a lot of fun to be able to jump into my role and not just drop her and have somebody else pick up.

Looking ahead to the Avatar sequel, Saldana wants to be physically prepared: I need at least 6 to 7 months of training and stuff to get into Neytiri again and whatever's going to happen is going to happen.

I wish I was one of those actors that is very business-oriented, but I live day-to-day, project to project, character to character.

I just want to play characters that are different from the ones I played on recent films and continue growing. And if they happen to be a three-picture deal that ends up helping me pay my mortgage for three more years, then ding ding ding ding, but I don’t get as far as thinking about that.

Besides the financial perks of signing onto films that turn into franchises, you get to work with great actors and directors all over again.

Sometimes I almost feel that a three-month filming experience for something that will last forever is not fair for the actor. Because what you guys get to watch, that's for you. The part of shooting the movie, that’s for me. I take all those memories and that experience with me.

To get to go back to Star Trek and see Chris Pine's baby blue eyes and get to kiss Spock (Zachary Quinto) and to work with director J.J. Abrams, I couldn't have been in a better environment from the writers to the producers.

To get to relive that experience in another adventure in space … I'm not looking forward to the dress though. It just means I have to hit the gym two months before we start shooting, so I'm not looking forward to that.

In the Fall of 2011, Saldana will be seen in Colombiana about a female assassin who grew up in Bogota. Star Trek 2 is tentatively scheduled to hit movie theaters in 2012.

Asked if she is happy with her crazily busy personal and professional life right now, Saldana replies: Am I happy? Happiness is nothing but temporary moments here and there -- and I love those. But I would be bored out of my mind if I were happy all the time.

Buy Zoe Saldana's hottest movies: Takers, The Losers, Star Trek (Single-Disc Edition), Avatar (Three-Disc Extended Collector's Edition + BD-Live) [Blu-ray].

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By Athina Simonidou