Salma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez (born
September 2, 1966) is a Mexican actress, director, and television and film
producer. Hayek's charitable work includes increasing awareness on
violence against women and discrimination against immigrants.
Hayek is the first Mexican national to be nominated for an Academy Award
for Best Actress. She is one of the most prominent Mexican figures in
Hollywood since silent film actress Dolores del Río. She is also, after
Fernanda Montenegro, the second of three Latin American actresses (the
other being Catalina Sandino Moreno) to achieve a Best Actress Oscar
Hayek was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico, the daughter of Diana
Jiménez Medina, an opera singer and talent scout, and Sami Hayek
Dominguez, an oil company executive who once ran for mayor of
Coatzacoalcos. Hayek's father is a Mexican of Lebanese descent, while her
mother is Mexican and of Spanish descent. Her first given name, Salma, is
Arabic for "safe". Raised in a wealthy, devoutly Catholic family, she was
sent to the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Grand Coteau, Louisiana, at the
age of twelve. While there, she was diagnosed with dyslexia. She was also
an accomplished gymnast aspiring to compete in the Olympics, but her
father prevented her from being recruited by the Mexican national team.
The religious sisters running the Academy ejected Hayek, citing behavioral
problems, so she returned to Mexico. She was later sent to live with her
aunt in Houston, Texas, where she stayed until she was 17 years old. She
attended college in Mexico City, where she studied International Relations
at the Universidad Iberoamericana, and married her first husband Cameron
Switzer. To the surprise of her family, she dropped out to pursue a career
as an actress.
At the age of 23, Hayek landed the title role in Teresa (1989), a
successful Mexican telenovela that made her a star in Mexico. In 1994,
Hayek starred in the film El Callejón de los Milagros (Miracle Alley),
which has won more awards than any other movie in the history of Mexican
cinema. For her performance, Hayek was nominated for an Ariel Award.
Hayek moved to Los Angeles, California in 1991 to study acting under
Stella Adler. She had limited fluency in English, which was attributed to
her suffering from dyslexia. Robert Rodriguez and his producer wife
Elizabeth Avellan soon gave Hayek the break she needed, a starring role
opposite Antonio Banderas in 1995's Desperado. The movie caught
Hollywood's attention, as moviegoers proved to be dazzled by Hayek as
Rodriguez had been. Due to Hayek's loyalty to the director, she would
later decline playing the role Catherine Zeta-Jones eventually took in The
Mask of Zorro after Rodriguez abandoned the project. She also appeared in
the Spy Kids trilogy.
Hayek had a starring part opposite Matthew Perry in the romantic comedy
Fools Rush In. She followed her success in Desperado with a brief but
memorable role as a vampire queen in From Dusk Till Dawn, in which she
performed a table-top snake dance. In 1999, she co-starred in Will Smith's
big-budget Wild Wild West, and played a supporting role in Kevin Smith's
Dogma. In 2000, Hayek had an uncredited acting part opposite Benicio del
Toro in Traffic. In 2003, she reprised her role from Desperado by
appearing in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, the final film of the Mariachi
Around 2000, Hayek founded film production company Ventanarosa, through
which she produces film and television projects. Her first feature as a
producer was 1999's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba, Mexico's
official selection for submission for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars.
Frida, co-produced by Hayek, was released in 2002. Starring Hayek as Frida
Kahlo, and Alfred Molina as her unfaithful husband, Diego Rivera, the film
was directed by Julie Taymor and featured an entourage of stars in
supporting and minor roles (Valeria Golino, Ashley Judd, Edward Norton,
Geoffrey Rush) and cameos (Antonio Banderas). She earned a Best Actress
Academy Award nomination for her performance. This made Hayek, along with
Katy Jurado and Adriana Barraza, one of only three Mexican actresses to
have been nominated for an Academy Award. The film earned two Oscars.
"In the Time of the Butterflies," is a 2001 feature film based on the
Julia Álvarez book of the same name, covering the lives of the Mirabal
In the movie, Salma Hayek plays one of the sisters, Minerva, and Edward
James Olmos plays the Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo whom the
sisters opposed. Marc Anthony plays a brief role as Minerva's first love,
and as the motivation for her later revolutionary activities.
In 2003, Hayek produced and directed the The Maldonado Miracle, a Showtime
movie which won her a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a
Children/Youth/Family Special. In December 2005, she directed a music
video for Prince, titled "Te Amo Corazon" ("I love you, sweetheart") that
featured her good friend Mia Maestro.
Hayek is an executive producer of Ugly Betty, a television series airing
around the world since September 2006. Hayek adapted the series for
American television with Ben Silverman, who acquired the rights and
scripts from the Colombian telenovela Yo Soy Betty La Fea in 2001.
Originally intended as a half hour sitcom for NBC in 2004, the project
would later be picked up by ABC for the 2006–2007 season with Silvio Horta
also producing. Hayek guest-starred on Ugly Betty as Sofia Reyes, a
magazine editor. She also had a cameo playing an actress in the telenovela
within the show. The show quickly became a ratings hit and won a Golden
Globe Award for Best Comedy Series in 2007. Hayek's performance as Sofia
resulted in a nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards.
In April 2007, Hayek finalized negotiations with MGM to become the CEO of
her own Latin themed film production company, Ventanarosa. The following
month she signed a two year deal with ABC to develop projects for the
network through her production company, Ventanarosa.
Hayek is developing and producing La Banda, a Spanish-language romantic
comedy set in Mexico, written by Issa Lopez.
Hayek recently had a guest stint on 30 Rock as Elisa, the nurse for Jack
Donaghy's mother, for whom Jack falls.
Hayek will star as the wife of Adam Sandler in Grown Ups, which also
co-stars Chris Rock and Kevin James.
Hayek has been credited as a song performer in three movies. The first was
Desperado for the song Quedate Aquí. In Frida she performed with band Los
Vega the Mexican folk song La Bruja. She also recorded Siente mi amor,
which played during the end credits of Once Upon a Time in Mexico. She
also contributed to Happiness is a Warm Gun in "Across the Universe" as
the singing nurses.
Hayek is a naturalized United States citizen. She dated actor Edward
Norton between 1999 and 2003, and then Josh Lucas in 2003. She is a good
friend of Spanish actress Penélope Cruz and co-starred with her in the
2006 film Bandidas. Hayek studied at Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. Her
brother, Sami Hayek, is a designer with his own line of products at Target
and clients that include Louis Vuitton, Brad Pitt, and the Mexican
On March 9, 2007, Hayek confirmed she was expecting her first child with
PPR CEO François-Henri Pinault. On September 21, 2007, she gave birth to
daughter Valentina Paloma Pinault at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los
Angeles, California. On July 18, 2008, Hayek and Pinault announced the end
of their engagement. They later reconciled and were married on Valentine's
Day, 2009 in Paris. On April 25, 2009, they were married a second time in
I keep waiting to meet a man
who has more balls than I do.
I act tall!" "But look how short I am...I can't even act to be tall.
I'm five-two. I can't even create the illusion that I am tall!
"I don't believe in the so-called Latino explosion when it comes to
movies. Jennifer Lopez doesn't have an accent. She grew up in New
York speaking English not Spanish. Her success is very important
because she represents a different culture, but it doesn't help me.
I grew up in Mexico, not the US, and the fact is that there just
aren't any parts for Latin actresses. I have to persuade people that
my accent won't be a problem, but an asset. Everyone's afraid of
doing something a bit risky. Everyone wants a $200 million hit and
anything they think might get in the way of that kind of success is
considered a liability".
"What worries me the most is that most men are so weak. Because of
that they act like they don't care and like machos - because they
are too fragile inside. They're scared of confrontation and afraid
of so many things. And because of this they build up their life so
they have to deal with their feelings as little as possible. I find
feminine men unbelievably sexy. But most men are completely
incapable of getting in touch with their feminine side. What am I
supposed to talk about with a man who doesn't know what it's like to
be a woman?"
At the beginning [my career] was hard. People were like, 'Who is
this Mexican jumping bean?'
"What works in a relationship of very public people is not making
the relationship public - keeping it as personal as it can be. It's
the only way it is real. I am suspicious of those who have to let
the world know how much they love each other. It's a little sad when
you have to brag about how much you love someone. That kind of
declaration doesn't always reflect the moment of truth between two
people who care deeply for each other. When that truth is there, you
don't need others to know it. And when somebody truly loves you, you
don't even need him or her to be affectionate. Affection is
fantastic, but it doesn't necessarily mean there's love - and the
public display of affection is often just a show. When you open a
door for others to have an opinion on your relationship, it can be
dangerous. Find what you need, not what everyone else wants for you.
Women have been taught that in order to have a place in the world,
an identity, they must marry and have children. If that's the life
you truly want, great. But for many women, marriage is only about
needing the world to know that someone desires them enough to say,
"Here's a contract to prove that I love you and will commit to you
for the rest of my life." For these women, no contract equals no
validation - and, thus, no reason for existing."
"In my twenties I was offered lots of parts where there wasn't much
to do but act sexy. I still get offered those roles - but now I take
it as a compliment." Woman's World (7-11-06)
About Madonna: "She always paid attention to the Latin community. I
was grateful somebody like her appreciated our culture" (InStyle
magazine, Sept 2006).
"If I go on a diet and work out, I'm always in a bad mood. I'd
rather be a little heavier but nice." -quoted in Woman's Day 8-15-06
"In my world, you have to be so beautiful, so skinny, so rich, so
famous and I don't believe you really have to be any of those
things. You simply have to be who you are. I do have thighs and a
butt. I have cellulite. Don't be too impressed with me. Don't try to
dress like me or wear your hair like mine. Find your own style.
Don't spend your savings trying to be someone else. You're not more
important, smarter, or prettier because you wear a designer dress. I
get them free and I'm too lazy to go out and look for my own. I, a
rich girl from Mexico, came here with designer clothes. And one day,
when I was starving in an apartment in Los Angeles, I looked at my
Chanel blouses and said, 'If only I could pay the rent with one of
"If a man lets all of my dogs sleep in the bed with us, then that is
the most romantic thing. You must love my dogs in order to love me.
A man who is nice to my animals and doesn't shoo them away - well,
that's the height of romance."
"It sounds trite to go after men who are nice but when you've been
hurt a lot it becomes appealing."