Salma Hayek started her career in her native Mexico, where she starred in the telenovela “Teresa” and “El Callejón de los Milagros”.
This last role earned her a nomination for the “Ariel” award, a kind of Mexican “BAFTA” award. But she wanted more. She thought to take it a step further, even if it meant risking everything, and that’s how she got to Hollywood.
The actress moved to Los Angeles, California to study acting.
After a few minor appearances, she got her first major role – alongside Antonio Banderas, she starred in the film “Desperado” which was the first of a series of opportunities to work alongside other stars such as George Clooney, Will Smith, and Penelope Cruz.
At that time, it was not easy for Latina actresses to find their place in big productions.
In an interview with actress Drew Barrymore, Selma shared that throughout her career, she received many negative comments about her chances of landing the lead role.
An executive once said she couldn’t be a star because of her Mexican heritage, despite acknowledging her great talent.
“No matter how beautiful someone thinks you are, no matter how good an actress you are, when you open your mouth, the public will only see their handmaidens”, he told her.
These comments did not stop her. With Drew by her side, she declared: “We are part of a generation of actresses who have also become entrepreneurs and producers, we are unstoppable girls”.
In 1999, she founded “Ventanarosa”, a production company that worked on films and television series together with other major companies.
In 2002, Selma produced and starred in the film “Frida”, for which she received two Oscars and a nomination for best actress.
At the presentation of the series “Monarca”, for which she did the production, she talked about how she thought of herself when she was younger.
“When I look at pictures of myself in my 30s or 40s, I see myself more beautiful than how I saw myself at that time”. I criticized myself so much”.
Selma is an advocate of breastfeeding and promotes its benefits for babies.
On a trip to Sierra Leone, taking advantage of her motherhood, she nursed an African baby: “I nursed Valentina, but I still had a lot of milk to pump, so I nursed another baby. You should have seen his eyes. When he tasted the food, he immediately stopped crying.”
She also posted pictures on social media with captions promoting the importance of breastfeeding, all despite her busy schedule.
“When I was filming 30 Rock (The Ones), I was still breastfeeding Valentina”. I did it until she was 14 months old. The benefits of breastfeeding are immeasurable for babies!
“Having her support and what she believes in and being a mother and not being afraid to love or make mistakes or be vulnerable”. These things are incredibly brave, and qualities that a leader must have – a good leader”. Those were the words of director Chloe Zhao when she cast Selma as the new superheroine of the Marvel world.
Hayek announced that she will play the lead role in the movie “Eternal”, where she portrays Ajak, the leader of superheroes who will save humanity.
This role represented a great achievement for the actress, who pointed out that the door was then opened for all Latin Americans who were waiting for such a moment. In tears, she described the emotion she felt when she put on the costume.
“I saw my dark face in a superhero suit”. I saw my face as a little girl who had a lot of courage to dream big. I saw the faces of all the girls”.
After creating a stellar career as an actress, producer, activist, and entrepreneur, Selma unveiled her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in November 2021.
During her speech, she recalled that she was repeatedly rejected for leading roles.
“Why don’t you go back to telenovelas?” You will never find a job here”, she recalled what they told her.
Selma repeated to herself: “Nobody wants me here.” They want me in my country”.
Despite the disappointment and sadness, she did not give up. She chose to fight for her dreams and said: “She works hard. Get ready. You don’t care what anyone says. But most importantly, don’t listen to yourself when you’re trying to knock yourself down”.
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