Zoe Saldana (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Actress Zoe Saldana is no stranger to a strong female lead, and in her latest leading role as Adelina in Missing Link, she confirms it’s no coincidence that her character knowns how to take control.

For her newest animated role, Saldana lends her voice to the courages Adelina Fortnight in Missing Link, a fantasy/adventure film in theaters April 12. During a sit-down with AV Film, the 40-year-old mother of three discusses the importance of being intentional with her character choices:

“I love to collaborate with male directors and writers who understand that female characters and their stories need to be complex, and need to be relevant, and Adelina is absolutely relevant! Without Adelina, Lionel (voiced by Hugh Jackman) is unable to find grounding and grow a heart, and grow some courage to be selfless,” Saldana stated.

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The actress then went on to describe how important it was for more on-screen women to send the right message to girls through their work.

“I’m used to playing characters that are super relevant because I’ve made a choice to only work and be a part of those stories. I like that she (Adelina) has an arc, that she is also trying to find herself, while she’s trying to help the story be solved. We’re giving a message to girls that you matter, and not just your contribution to someone else finding who they are, but your journey and your self-discovery is just as important in your life. ”

While on a promotional run for the children’s film, the veteran actress, who has been in Hollywood for nearly two decades, also opened up to Essence magazine on how she’s avoided “being boxed in,” both as a woman, and a person of color.

READ MORE: Zoe Saldana says she had to work hard because of her race

“I felt that by avoiding being boxed in by people’s one-dimensional perceptions of me, I ended up creating so much more opportunities for myself,” she explained. “And I also ended up playing characters where I’m not just someones daughter, or someone’s wife, or someone’s girlfriend, or someone’s muse.”

Missing Link is out in theaters now.