Zoe Saldana says Nichelle Nichols gave her “confidence" to play Lieutenant Uhura in the 2009 ‘Star Trek’ movie.

The ‘Avatar’ star reminisced about meeting the star of the 60s sci-fi series - who died last week aged 89 - who originated the role Zoe took on in the J.J Abrams-helmed flick that also starred Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg and Chris Pine.

The 44-year-old actress wrote on Instagram on Monday (01.08.22): “I knew I had big shoes to fill when I was chosen to play Uhura, and Nichelle made me feel safe, told me to play her with all the confidence in the world. My hope is that we continue to keep her memory alive by celebrating her amazing body of work, and by spreading the message of peace and equality amongst all people. She lived a long, impactful life and not only prospered, but helped so many others prosper too.

Maya Angelou once said “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. I agree with this statement with the exception of Nichelle Nichols. It’ll be hard to forget what she said and hard to forget what she did, and it will certainly be impossible to forget how she made us feel.”

Zoe also added she was “saddened” to hear of the death while labelling her a “true star” and “ahead of her time”.

She wrote: “I’m saddened to learn of Nichelle Nichols’ passing. We have lost a true star- a unique artist who was ahead of her time always. She’s an icon, an activist and most importantly an amazing woman- who blazed a trail that has shown so many how to see women of color in a different light. Her strive for equality was unwavering.”

The ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ star called meeting Nichelle “a truly special moment”.

Zoe said: “Meeting Nichelle was truly a very special moment in my life. Her energy was infectious every time I was in her presence. She convinced me in believing that anything was achievable, if you put your heart into it. I mean, she inspired Mae Jemison to follow her dreams of becoming an astronaut and that’s exactly what Mae did.”

Zoe concluded her post with a message: “REST IN POWER QUEEN NICHELLE”.