10/22/2014 12:30 pm ET Updated Oct 22, 2014

Zoe Saldana On Why She Wants The Word ‘Ethnic' To Disappear

Zoe Saldana is all about voicing her thoughts, but there's one word the "Avatar" star says she's ready to retire.

The first time mother-to-be visited The Queen Latifah Show on Tuesday to talk about her role in “The Book Of Life,” and discuss everything from equality to what it takes to be a “real man.”

In August 2013, Saldana and her sisters signed a deal with Lionsgate Studios to develop and produce Latino-centric content for TV and film. Since then, the siblings' company , “Cinestar Productions,” produced NBC's horror miniseries “Rosemary’s Baby” starring Zoe.

When asked by host Queen Latifah about why she feels passionate about creating opportunities for Latinos in Hollywood, the actress said it went beyond her own roots.

“I think it’s not just Latinos,” Saldana said. “It’s what kind of path I would like to create for myself in terms of the kind of world that I would want to be in. Now that I’m getting ready to start the most special passage of life, which is by becoming a parent, I want to be part of a world -- or at least behave that way -- that is equal, that is fair, that is even. So it’s not just with Latinos.”

“I cannot wait until the word ‘ethnic’ is erased from our everyday vocabulary,” the star added. “In America, everything that’s not ‘American’ is ethnic but outside of America everything that is American is ethnic. So in reality there’s no such thing as being darker or lighter, when in reality you’ve just been this way your whole life. Unless you’re comparing me to something, then I’m always going to be taller, smaller, skinnier, bigger or lighter or darker.”

Saldana continued by describing how her mother taught her about the illusion of a fixed ideal that everything is relative to. Now the star is hoping to share this lesson with audiences everywhere.

“I can fight or I can educate people,” Saldana said. “I feel like for instance The Book of Life is a story about celebrating life. The Mexican community has taken great pride for centuries in celebrating their dead, with love and great memories and color. So that excites me. That’ll be able to share and educate the world on a culture that we’ve been living neighboring to for so long and we know very little about.”

Host Queen Latifah, who is no stranger to playing strong female leads in films, inquired about Saldana’s own history of character choices. The actress is known for embodying strong women in blockbusters like “Avatar,” “Star Trek,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and didn’t make an exception when she became the voice of María Posada in the newly released animated feature “The Book of Life.”

“You feel a strength in women,” Saldana said when asked about why she gravitates towards strong female leads. “Besides us being very demure and beautiful and sexy and nurturing, there’s also a strength that’s part of our composition. We’re just not encouraged to ignite it, we’re not encouraged to access it and to let it shine. Because it intimidates men. But I think it takes a real, real man to live beside a real woman. To allow women to be a real woman.”

Check out the full clip above and more on the interview here.



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