It's not always easy for attractive women to be taken seriously in Hollywood. Being Mexican seems to only exacerbate the stigma. It is testimony to her character that Salma Hayek has managed to defy stereotypes and prove herself to be one of Hollywood?s most talented stars.
The daughter of a Lebanese father and a Spanish mother, Salma grew up in a devout Catholic family who tried their hardest to instill a sense of responsibility and reverence in their strong-willed and vivacious daughter. As a young girl, her mother used to periodically shave her daughter?s head and eyebrows, believing that this would allow them to grow even more luxuriant in the future. Strikingly beautiful from a young age, her mother must have seen the potent weapon her daughter's appearance would become.
At age 12, her parents sent Salma to a boarding school in Louisiana. While there, Salma apparently was a bit of a troublemaker and delighted in playing pranks on the poor nuns. Returning to Mexico, she moved to Mexico City where she attended College, studying International Relations. It was while in college that Salma began to fancy an acting career. She had considered it countless times in the past, but had always dismissed the idea as implausible, and more than likely to anger her parents. In the end though, she would give in to her dreams and - despite her parents? staunch disapproval and the disbelief of her college friends - she dropped out of college to pursue an acting career.
Salma spent some time working in theatre productions and then moved on to television. She landed a few roles on soap operas, most notably Teresa. The serial was an instant success and created a feverish climate for the young actress. She was very soon the most loved and adored celebrity in Mexico.
Despite her success, Salma thought that there was more to be done, and that she had reached a plateau in Mexico. Surprising her fans, she soon dropped out of Mexican television and moved to Los Angeles. Because she was unfamiliar with the English language, most of Salma?s first year in the U.S. was spent taking English and acting lessons. She had literally gone from the top of the field to the bottom of the barrel.
After studying for a time with the world renown acting teacher Stella Adler, Salma began to make the audition rounds. She had yet to even qualify for membership in the all-important Screen Actors Guild. Allison Anders?, for whom Salma auditioned for Mi Vida Loca, was impressed by Salma's determination. Although she passed her over for the lead, she gave her a small role which would allow her entry into the Guild.
That necessity behind her, Hayek continued to audition feverishly. Salma got her break when she appeared on a Spanish-language cable access talk show. The show was seen by director Robert Rodriguez, who immediately tracked the beauty down and cast her in his next film, Desperado. This film also starred another Latino then-newcomer, Antonio Banderas.
The film was a success, and more roles followed for Salma. Although she has yet to earn the same amount of respect she had in Mexico, she is well on her way. American fans can't seem to get enough of her ravishing beauty and they are beginning to catch on that she can actually act too.
It was recently announced that Salma won the role of the famous painter Frida Kahlo, a role coveted by none other than Madonna. She also has a role in Will Smith?s Wild Wild West, which is sure to increase her exposure.