The amazing Salma Hayek was born on September 2, 1966, in the oil boomtown of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Hayek has freely admitted that she and her brother, Sami, were spoiled rotten by her well-to-do Lebanese-Mexican businessman father and her Mexican-born opera-singing mother. After having seen Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) in a local movie theatre, Salma decided she wanted to become an actress. Her education included a stint at a New Orleans convent school, where she pulled pranks on the nuns by setting their clocks back three hours. She was soon expelled. Only after attending Mexico City's Universidad Iberoamericana did she feel ready to pursue acting seriously.She soon landed the title role in "Teresa" (1989), a hugely successful soap opera which earned her the star status in her native Mexico. However, anxious to make films and to explore her talent and passion, Hayek left both "Teresa" (1989) and Mexico in 1991. Heartbroken fans spread rumors that she was having a secret affair with Mexico's president and left to escape his wife's wrath.At long last, Salma made her way to Los Angeles. The 24 year old actress approached Hollywood with naïve enthusiasm, and quickly learned that Latin actresses were, if at all, typecast as the mistress maid or local prostitute. By late 1992, Hayek had landed only bit parts. She appeared on "Street Justice" (1991), "The Sinbad Show" (1993), "Nurses" (1991), and as a sexy maid on the HBO series "Dream On" (1990). She also had one line in the Allison Anders film Mi vida loca (1993). Feeling under-appreciated by Anglo filmmakers, Hayek vented her frustrations on comedian Paul Rodriguez's late-night Spanish-language talk show in 1992.Robert Rodriguez and his producer wife Elizabeth Avellan happened to be watching and were immediately smitten with the intelligent, opinionated young woman. He soon gave her her big break--to star opposite Antonio Banderas in the now cult classic Desperado (1995), which put her on Hollywood's map. The moviegoers proved to be as dazzled with Hayek as he had been. After her break, she was cast again by Rodriguez to star in his From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Although her vampy role opposite George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino was a small one, it was a good credit to her box office name. Hayek's first star billing came later that year with Fools Rush In (1997) opposite "Friends" (1994) actor Matthew Perry. The film was a modest hit, and Hayek continued to rise her star in both commercial and artistic films such as: Breaking Up (1997) with an unknown Russell Crowe; "54" about the rise and fall of the legendary New York club; Dogma (1999), playing the muse in a somewhat odd comedy co-starring Matt Damon and Chris Rock; In the Time of the Butterflies (2001) (TV), the small artistic film which won Hayek an ALMA award as best actress; and the 1999 summer blockbuster Wild Wild West (1999). Her production company "Ventanarosa" produced the 1999 Mexican feature film Coronel no tiene quien le escriba, El (1999), which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival and selected as Mexico's official Oscar entry for best foreign film.The new millennium started out quietly around Salma as she was preparing to produce and star in her dream role, that of Frida Kahlo, the legendary Mexican painter whom Salma had been admiring her entire life and whose story she wanted to bring to the big screen ever since her arrival in Hollywood. It finally happened in 2002. Frida (2002), co-produced by Hayek, was a beautifully made film overflowing with passion and enthusiasm, with terrific performances from Salma and Alfred Molina as Kahlo's cheating husband "Diego Rivera". On the side was an entourage of stars including Antonio Banderas, Ashley Judd, Geoffrey Rush, Edward Norton and Valeria Golino.The picture was a hit and was nominated for six Oscars, including best actress for Hayek, who became the first Latin actress to be nominated in the category, and won the awards for make-up and its brilliant original score by Elliot Goldenthal. Hayek established herself as the serious actress that she is and, in the same year, expanded her horizons, directing The Maldonado Miracle (2003) (TV), which was shown at the Sundance Film festival. In 2003, she starred in the final of Rodriguez's "Desperado" trilogy Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), again opposite Banderas, and has just finished After the Sunset (2004) opposite Pierce Brosnan and Ask the Dust (2006) opposite Colin Farrell. Both are scheduled for release in early 2005. In the works are Robert Altman's "Paint" and Bandidas (2006) in which she will star with her friend Penélope Cruz.
One of Hollywood's most dazzling leading actresses, Salma Hayek was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico, on 2nd September, 1966.Her Lebanese-Mexican father was a rich businessman and her mother was an opera singer. At a very young age, Salma already knew she wanted to be an actress and, after finishing high school, she felt more than ready to pursue her ambition. In the late 80s, she won the role of "Teresa" in the self-titled soap opera, and quickly became the "it" girl everyone was talking about. The shallow and superficial acting required for the role was, however, not satisfying, as she wanted to get ahead in acting rather than being stuck in it.She soon left her native Mexico and her popularity to make her way to Los Angeles. There, her career took off. Having arrived in Hollywood, she was anonymous and had to start from scratch. She soon realized she had been slightly naïve about continuing her acting career in a foreign country, with a very thick accent and no experience, whatsoever. She was told over and over again by the big suits she would have no chance of becoming a leading lady in Hollywood as there just weren't any parts for Latinas with accents, let alone one who doesn't speak English.She started to take acting classes from the renowned Stella Adler and worked on her accent. By 1993, she still wasn't getting her feet off the ground and was too stubborn to return back to Mexico as she would consider it as "having failed". Instead, she vented her frustrations in a late-night talk show by Paul Rodriguez. Director Robert Rodriguez, who happened to be watching that very show, was smitten with the beautiful, witty, and articulate Hayek, and cast her in his upcoming movie Desperado (1995).Desperado (1995) was released in 1995 and was a hit. Antonio Banderas and Hayek had ignited sparks on the screen and the moviegoers fell in love with both stars. By now, she had entered the Hollywood scene. This hadn't happened for a Latina actress since the 1930s with the success of Dolores del Rio and, later on, with Rita Moreno.In 1996, she appeared in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) and Fled (1996) and started production on her first star billing movie, Fools Rush In (1997). The romantic comedy, which cast her as a woman who ends up pregnant after a one night stand with Matthew Perry, grossed around 35 million domestically and achieved rave reviews for Hayek. During this period, she also got to cash in on her status and looks by signing a lucrative deal with cosmetics giant Revlon.Although she had now started climbing Hollywood's A-list, the lack of good scripts, especially for women, made the young star more persevering in finding quality roles which actually demanded some acting ability. It was around this time that she felt she wanted to do a movie on the life of iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. She turned down a prominent role in a $70 million movie and instead took on roles in independent films including: Breaking Up (1997), a romantic drama alongside then-newcomer Russell Crowe; The Hunchback (1997) (TV);' '54;' and The Velocity of Gary (1998). They were impressive but didn't do much at the box-office.In the late 1990s, Hayek went back to mainstream movies starring in Wild Wild West (1999), which grossed well over $100 million, and Dogma (1999). Her own production company, "Ventanarosa", co-produced the Mexican film Coronel no tiene quien le escriba, El (1999), which was shown at the Cannes film festival and submitted as an Oscar entry. At this time, Hayek had also started preparation on her upcoming Frida Kahlo film and managed to star in more movies, most notably Mike Figgis's 'Timecode,' 'Chain Of Fools,' and 'La Gran Vida.'In late 2002 'Frida' was released. The hit movie provoked a great deal of publicity and rave reviews for both her and co-star Alfred Molina. When award season came the film and its star were not overlooked, winning the movie two Academy Awards and six nominations, including 'best actress' for her. After Frida came the final part in the closing trilogy of 'El Mariachi' with 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico.' Again Banderas and Hayek received top billing and big box-office.With her acclaimed work in front of the screen, Hayek was offered a chance to direct a movie for Showtime called 'The Maldonado Miracle.' Not only had she established herself as a versatile actress, she was now rewarded with an Emmy as outstanding director. During this time she became one of the most photographed women in the U.S. which led to a contract with cosmetic mogul Avon, who signed her as their spokesperson for their campaigns including the Anti-Domestic Violence campaign. After an absence from the big screen for over a year, Hayek broke up with her boyfriend of four years, actor Edward Norton, and returned opposite 007 star Pierce Brosnan in an old Hollywood style action comedy 'After The Sunset,' directed by Brett Ratner. 2004 also marked her year as Hollywood's highest paid Latina actress, earning roughly $20 million in film contracts alone.She remains one of the most hardworking actresses in Hollywood. New films include a high profile classic-style western comedy, 'Banditas,' co-starring pal Penélope Cruz, with whom she has been friends for years. They play two bank robbers becoming Mexico's Thelma and Louise. Another of her new films is the highly anticipated 'Ask The Dust' directed by the brilliant Robert Towne.