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Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek: The First Mexican Nominated for a Best Actress Oscar

From cheesy telenovelas (soap operas) to Hollywood stardom, the road for this multifaceted Mexican was not all peaches and cream. Salma Hayek (born in September 2, 1966) is an actress, director, television and film producer who has become one of the most prominent Latin American figures in Hollywood, and the first Mexican to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.

Humble Beginnings

Her looks may trick you into believing she is the basic gorgeous wind-up movie star, but this is a woman who has defied convention and stereotypes. She left her hometown Veracruz to attend college in Mexico City, and despite her family’s disapproval, she dropped out to pursue a career in acting. After a successful debut starring in a popular telenovela that earned her celebrity status in Mexico, Salma chose to leave the security of Spanish-language TV and head for a Hollywood career in 1992.

Breaking Through

Once in Los Angeles, she enrolled in English and acting classes, but could not land a movie role for more than two years. Her first opportunity came from director Robert Rodriguez who invited her in 1995 to star in the film Desperado, opposite Antonio Banderas. She then spent years paying her dues in modest productions, where she was mostly portrayed as a sex symbol.

Salma’s big shot came from her own passionate devotion to one of Mexico’s most iconic figures: painter Frida Kahlo. After winning an epic eight-year battle to produce this biographic film, she threw herself into her performance as Frida, earning positive reviews and an Oscar nomination in 2002.

Salma Today

Since 2006, Salma has been executive producer of ABC’s sitcom “Ugly Betty”, based on Colombian telenovela “Yo soy Betty, la fea”. The show won a Golden Globe Award in 2006 for best comedy series, and several Emmy nominations.

In 2008, Salma became a mother, giving birth to daughter Paloma Valentina Pinault. The father is billionaire PPR CEO Francois-Henri Pinault.

Giving Back

Salma is an intense advocate of several humanitarian causes, which include increasing awareness on violence against women and discrimination against immigrants.


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