salma hayek

Salma Hayek: Proud Latina in Hollywood

December 8, 2021

Without a doubt, Salma Hayek is one of the most notorious Mexican actresses in Hollywood. Find out how she became one of the most recognized Latinas in show business.

From masterfully impersonating Frida Kahlo (2002), going through Wild Wild West with Will Smith (1999), to making the great voice of Kitty soft legs in Puss in Boots (2011), Salma Hayek has undoubtedly made her acting career something worth telling.

Who is Salma Hayek?

The daughter of a Lebanese and a Spanish woman, Salma Hayek Jiménez is a Latina born in Mexico in September 1966. Her name means “peace” or “calm” in Arabic and her hometown is Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

During her childhood, Salma studied in her city and at the age of 12 she entered the Sacred Heart Academy, a private Catholic school in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. Later, she settled in Mexico City with the intention of studying International Relations at the Universidad Iberoamericana.

However, soon after, she decided to dedicate herself completely to training as a professional actress. That is how at the end of the 80s, Salma Hayek was beginning her training at the Center for Artistic Education (CEA), an institution belonging to Televisa.

A curious fact is that Salma had been interested in the world of acting since she was a child. This is largely because Salma was fascinated by watching the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Salma Hayek in the acting world

Salma Hayek began her acting career in 1988, in her home country. The play Aladino and Un Nuevo Amanecer were her first appearances on stage and television, respectively. Just a year later, she starred in the telenovela Teresa, which made her known throughout Latin America.

Despite her success on the Mexican small screen, Salma had her sights set on Hollywood and moved to Los Angeles. Even knowing that at that time Latin actresses were not considered for important productions, she did not give up. She continued training and began to act in some television series.

The rise of her career in Hollywood

Conveniently for Salma, in 1992 she was invited to the Paul Rodríguez Show. She took the opportunity to sarcastically and intelligently express the unfavorable situation of Latin actresses in Hollywood. At that moment she caught the attention of the film director Robert Rodríguez, who 3 years later would offer her the lead role in the film Desperado (1995) with Antonio Banderas.

From then on, Salma Hayek has had outstanding performances alongside actors such as Matthew Perry, Russell Crowe, Quentin Tarantino, George Clooney and Adam Sandler, just to name a few.

However, Salma wanted to go a little further and in 1999 created her own production company Ventanarosa. Her first feature film was El coronel no tiene quien le escriba, based on the novel by Gabriel García Márquez. In 2002, Frida premiered, the most important film of her career, so far.

Salma Hayek’s performance as Frida Kahlo led her to become the first Mexican and one of the 5 Latin actresses who have been nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. Throughout her career, she has won several awards for both film and television.

But she didn’t stop there! Salma was also involved in the production of Ugly Betty and the Monarca series on Netflix.

Salma Hayek’s facet as a social activist

On the other hand, Salma Hayek has been an activist for more than 25 years. Since 2008 she has been dedicated to helping women victims of violence and discrimination through the Kering Foundation together with her husband. Additionally, in 2013 she partnered with Gucci to co-found CHIME FOR CHANGE, a global campaign promoting gender equality.

As if that were not enough, Salma is a spokesperson for UNICEF where she has participated in multiple initiatives such as the fight against tetanus in 44 countries and educational campaigns for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, among others.

Among some of her philanthropy work is her contribution to the collection of almost one million dollars for the victims of the 2017 earthquake in Mexico. She has also fought against the spread of HIV/AIDS in East Africa and South Africa.

In terms of her direct contributions to Latino communities, Salma has supported Pro Mujer for more than a decade. This organization is in charge of offering health programs and financing for women in vulnerable locations in Latin America.

On the other hand, we cannot stop saying that apart from all the above, Salma has a great treasure: her daughter Valentina Paloma, born in 2007. Her husband is the French businessman Francois Henri Pinault. Together they reside between Los Angeles and Paris.

To conclude, we must accept that currently Salma has slowed down the pace of her appearances on the big screen, but it is also true that this Latina never ceases to amaze.

Can you imagine enjoying all the Latin power concentrated in this impressive woman at her fabulous 54 years of age playing a superheroine from the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Well if you did not know, at the end of 2021 we will see Salma Hayek as Ajak in Eternals.

Tell us, what is your favorite movie with this talented Latina?