Zoe talks beauty

“There’s no one way to be black. I’m black the way I know how to be. Don’t ever think you can look at me and ad­dress me with such dis­dain.”

Glamour (South Africa) - - Glamour Goddess -

What prod­ucts do you like? “I’m be­com­ing adamant about prod­ucts that don’t con­tain cer­tain chem­i­cals. The de­sire to be or­ganic is ever-present in my life, so I’m us­ing Dr Hauschka, but I’m also mak­ing my own.” Do you have an opin­ion about plas­tic surgery? “If I’m still in the pub­lic eye for years to come, and I’m go­ing to serve as a role model, I hope to pre­serve some kind of nat­u­ral state. But I’m al­lowed to be in­se­cure. And if I have to go to a doc­tor to sort out those in­se­cu­ri­ties, I will.” How did you get back into shape af­ter hav­ing ba­bies? “Af­ter I had the boys, I was so in­spired by the mom­mies [on so­cial me­dia] us­ing their ba­bies as weights, do­ing all their ex­er­cises in be­tween naps and feed­ing times. So I ex­er­cised in my gar­den and went on Youtube. Search #work­out­moms, #bounc­ing­back – what­ever – and you’ll be flooded with women who will in­spire you.”

some­thing you can use.’” When Cindy Craw­ford heard Zoe and her hus­band were ready to sleep-train the boys, “she emailed to say, ‘There’s this doc­tor and I swear by his tech­nique,’” Zoe says.

“That love and sup­port from the net­work of women around me, it made me…” Tears well up. “I get emo­tional be­cause if we con­tinue to do that, we will be un­stop­pable. As op­posed to nit­pick­ing at one an­other for ar­bi­trary things like weight. It’s so minu­tiae when there are big­ger is­sues we have to be talk­ing about, like equal pay and rights.”

Even af­ter her rep­u­ta­tion as a bank­able ac­tion hero­ine had been estab­lished, Zoe found her­self strug­gling with these is­sues – most mem­o­rably when a pro­ducer told her, “I hired you to look good in your un­der­wear hold­ing a gun.” The line is as much of a gut punch now as it was when it was de­liv­ered years ago, but luck­ily, Zoe has “a strong sense of self. I have no prob­lem ad­mit­ting my er­rors; just have re­spect for me,” she says. “It’s kind of like that Nina Si­mone song – you’ve got to learn to leave the ta­ble when love isn’t be­ing served.”

Which brings us to a topic that’s dogged Zoe for al­most five years: her role as the iconic black singer in the biopic Nina. From her ini­tial cast­ing in 2012 to the no-fan­fare re­lease of the film this year, Zoe has been pil­lo­ried for hav­ing the au­dac­ity to play the dark-skinned singer. And af­ter Zoe tweeted a quote from Nina Si­mone, the singer’s es­tate tweeted, “…please take Nina’s name out of your mouth. For the rest of your life.”

Zoe faces these crit­i­cisms head-on. “There’s no one way to be black,” she says. “I’m black the way I know how to be. You have no idea who I am. Don’t you ever think you can look at me and ad­dress me with such dis­dain.” And as for the idea that Zoe could be con­sid­ered too pretty to play Nina, she re­torts, “I never saw her as unattrac­tive. Nina looks like half my fam­ily! But if you think the [pros­thetic] nose I wore was unattrac­tive, you need to ask your­self, what do you con­sider beau­ti­ful? Do you con­sider a thin­ner nose beau­ti­ful, so the wider it is, the more in­sulted you are?”

What seemed to drive crit­i­cism about Zoe dar­ing to take the role (one she turned down for a year) wasn’t just that she wore skin-dark­en­ing makeup, but the view that the job went to some­one seen as apo­lit­i­cal. But she has no re­grets. “The script would prob­a­bly still be ly­ing around, and no­body would have done it. Fe­male sto­ries aren’t rel­e­vant enough, es­pe­cially a black fe­male story,” she says. “What­ever con­se­quences this may bring about, my cast­ing is noth­ing com­pared to the fact that this story must be told.”

The prob­lem isn’t just that one role for an African-amer­i­can ac­tress may or may not have been mis­cast; it’s that Hol­ly­wood needs more non-white fe­male ev­ery­things. If the is­sue of un­der­rep­re­sen­ta­tion is ever truly ad­dressed, more peo­ple would no doubt cre­ate great roles for the en­tire list of ac­tresses who ‘should’ have got the role in Nina.

Still, Zoe is ready to move on. She’s ex­cited to be part of Ben Af­fleck’s pe­riod movie Live by Night, but not afraid of get­ting type­cast as a butt-kick­ing alien. “If it were up to me, I’d only do movies in space,” Zoe says. “I have an affin­ity for the lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ties that the uni­verse pro­vides.”

2009 In Dolce & Gab­bana at the Os­car party. 2015 With her hus­band Marco Perego Sal­dana at the Os­cars. 2016 As Uhura in

2015 With her twins Cy and Bowie.

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