Who can keep Zoe Saldana grounded? “My eight-year-old niece inspires me,” the actress (in Giambattista Valli) told InStyle.com at the Children’s Defense Fund California’s 21st Annual Beat the Odds Awards in Beverly Hills last night, where she helped honor five high school students who overcame tremendous obstacles. “She goes through so much, and you think that just because they’re children that their problems and their issues aren’t supposed to be as big as an adult. The reality is that we forget that we were eight once. And we forget that something as simple as being liked in school or doing the right thing or disappointing your parents is a very big deal. She’s like a little fighter. Every day she beats so many things—from standing up to a bully to learning to verbalize what she really feels. She inspires me every day. And she always keeps me grounded, which is what I love.

Plus, check out Zoe Saldana’s most memorable outfits in the gallery!

Zoe's Best Looks!

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— Reporting by Lindzi Scharf