Birth Name : Salma Hayek-Jimenez
Date of birth (location) : 2 September 1966 ( Veracruz, Mexico)
Salma Hayek is considered to be the first Mexican actress to become a Hollywood movie star since Dolores Del Rio, and is also known for bringing a fiery presence and striking, dark-eyed beauty to the screen. A soap star in her native Mexico, Salma risked her entire career to come to L.A., where she struggled to be taken seriously. Her discovery by director Robert Rodriguez, who cast her in his 1995 film Desperado, gave Hayek her breakthrough, and she subsequently gained a reputation as one of Hollywood's sexiest and busiest actresses.
Being the daughter of a Spanish mother and Lebanese father, Hayek was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico, on September 2, 1966. Raised in a devoutly Catholic family, she was sent to a Louisiana boarding school at the age of 12. After getting into trouble for terrorizing the nuns, Hayek returned to Mexico, but she was eventually sent to Houston, Texas, to live with her aunt, where she stayed until she was 17. She subsequently moved to Mexico City, where she studied International Relations as a university student, but, to the chagrin of her family, decided to drop out in order to pursue a career as an actress. Starting out in local theatre productions, she eventually moved to television and landed a starring role in the popular soap opera Teresa. The show's success made Hayek a celebrity in her native country, but, desiring something more, she shocked her fans by deciding to quit the show in order to pursue a career in L.A.
After learning English language and taking acting lessons with Stella Adler, Salma got her first break when Allison Anders cast her in a supporting role in Mi Vida Loca (1993).
The role allowed Hayek to obtain a Screen Actors Guild card, and after doing so, she continued to audition until she appeared on a Spanish-language cable access talk show that happened to count director Robert Rodriguez amongst its viewers. Rodriguez tracked Hayek down and promptly cast her in Desperado, his bigger-budget 1995 sequel to El Mariachi. The film, which also starred Antonio Banderas, succeeded in giving the actress her own plot on the Hollywood map, and Rodriguez again demonstrated his faith in her when he cast her in his next project, the vampire extravaganza From Dusk Till Dawn (1996).
Unfortunately for Salma Hayek, the film, which also starred George Clooney, failed to do as well as expected, and Hayek's next few projects were similarly lackluster. The Faculty (1998), a teen thriller that cast Hayek as a teacher who turns into an alien, was an exception, and Kevin Smith's Dogma (1999), which featured her as a celestial muse, was fairly successful with critics and audiences. Also in 1999, Hayek had a starring role in what was to be her biggest film to date, Barry Sonnenfeld's Wild Wild West, which also starred Will Smith and Kevin Kline. Unfortunately for all involved, the film was a turkey. In 2000, Hayek could be seen in smaller, edgier ventures, including the independent comedy Chain of Fools, in which she played a centerfold-turned-cop, and Mike Figgis' experimental Time Code, which cast her as Jeanne Tripplehorn's lover. If these films ultimately didn't provide Hayek with a role that would draw attention to her genuine talent, this would soon change with the long awaited biography of tragic artist Frida Kahlo. With her role as the eponymous character in Frida (2002), Hayek disappeared into her subject so convincingly that not only would she return to the good graces of critics, but earn a Golden Globe nomination as well.
Keep Coming Back (2008)
South of the Border (2008)
Across the Universe (2007)
Lonely Hearts (2007) aka Lonely Hearts Killer (Germany)stars as Martha Beck
Ugly Betty (2006) - TV stars as Sofia Reyes
Ask the Dust (2006) stars as Camilla
Bandidas (2006) stars as Sara Sandoval
Sian Ka'an (2005) stars as Maria (voice)
After the Sunset (2004) stars as Lola Cirillo
Desperado 2: Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) stars as Carolina
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) aka Spy Kids 3: Game Overstars as Cesca Giggles
Frida (2002) stars as Frida Kahlo
In the Time of the Butterflies (2001) - TM aka En el tiempo de las mariposasstars as Minerva Mirabal
Hotel (2001) stars as Charlee Boux
Timecode (2000) stars as Rose
Chain of Fools (2000) stars as Kolko
Gran vida, La (2000) aka Living It Upstars as Lola
Traffic (2000) aka Traffic - Die Macht des Kartells (Germany)stars as Rosario, Madrigal's Mistress
Wild Wild West (1999) stars as Rita Escobar
Coronel no tiene quien le escriba, El (1999) aka No One Writes to the Colonelstars as Julia
Dogma (1999) stars as Serendipity
The Faculty (1998) stars as Nurse Rosa Harper
The Velocity of Gary (1998) stars as Mary Carmen
54 (1998) aka Fifty-Fourstars as Anita Randazzo
Fools Rush In (1997) stars as Isabel Fuentes
The Hunchback (1997) - TM aka The Hunchback of Notre Damestars as Esmeralda
Breaking Up (1997) stars as Monica
Sistole Diastole (1997) stars as Carmelita
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) stars as Santanico Pandemonium
Follow Me Home (1996)
Fled (1996) stars as Cora
Vuelo del águila, El (1996) - TV stars as Juana Cata
Callejón de los milagros, El (1995) aka Miracle Alleystars as Alma
Desperado (1995) stars as Carolina
Four Rooms (1995) - TV stars as TV Dancing Girl
Fair Game (1995) stars as Rita
Roadracers (1994) - TM aka Rebel Highwaystars as Donna
The Sinbad Show (1993) - TV aka Sinbadstars as Gloria Contreras
Mi vida loca (1993) aka My Crazy Lifestars as Gata
Teresa (1989) - TV stars as Teresa
Nuevo amanecer, Un (1988) - TV stars as Fabiola
MICHAEL ATKINSON: Salma, how would you describe your presence on film to a blind man?
SALMA HAYEK: That would depend on what character I was playing. How I would describe my characters is absolutely different from how I would describe myself.
MA: Let's talk about you, then. Right now you are very high on the movie Industry's most-wanted list. Why do you think that is?
SH: I don't know, but I do know I was lucky enough to have worked with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, and to have played some very unique characters. How many times does one get to play a monster, like I did in From Dusk Till Dawn? Some men have a silly theory about beautiful women - that somewhere along the line they'll turn into a monster. That movie gave them a chance to watch it happen.
MA: Now, you came to Hollywood from Mexico five years ago, with no prospects, no offers -
SH: Nothing close to an offer. I knocked on many doors and got turned down many times until I finally got one line in Mi Vida Loca .
MA: And a year later you were co-starring with Antonio Banderas in Desperado. How did that happen?
SH: I was on a Spanish-language talk show and the host asked me what was I doing in L.A. I said I wanted to do American films, and he said, "But you' re not getting any." And I said, "Yes, because American films don't usually have leading roles for Latin women. But I intend to change that." Robert Rodriguez and his wife [Desperado producer Elizabeth Avellan] saw that show and called me in to audition. No one else believed in me then, and I had nearly lost faith in myself. But they saw something that others didn't, and I will never forget that.
MA: I just watched Desperado again and was struck with the suspicion that you used a body double in your love scene with Antonio Banderas.
SH: I would have preferred to have had a body double. It was very hard to film that scene because I was either crying or trying to cover myself. Playing a stripper in From Dusk Till Dawn was easier because I was not with a man, only a snake, so I felt a lot safer.
MA: After those two movies, were you afraid of being typecast as a Latin vamp?
SH: I do have a Mexican accent, but that doesn't mean that I'm a Latin vamp. My new movie, Fools Rush In, is a romantic comedy and the girl I play in that is very warm, very sweet. I also have a film coming up called Breaking Up, and my part in that was not written for a Latina, and my character is not particularly pretty or sexy or exotic. So, no, I'm not afraid of being typecast.
MA: And you're playing what could be the ultimate Esmeralda in TNT's The Hunchback. Will you be doing any pole dances, like the Esmeralda in Disney's animated version?
SH: No, not this Esmeralda. Actually, there are some poles that I dance around, but not at all in the way a stripper does.
MA: In the end, what do you hope to accomplish in movies?
SH: I aim for a lifetime full of movies. I want to work for a long, long time and keep growing in my work, and if I am very lucky and very blessed, maybe somewhere along the line there will be one movie in there that becomes a classic.
Next Post - Picture Gallery of Salma Hayek.