Salma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez de Pinault (born September 2, 1966) is a Mexican film actress, director and producer. She received an Oscar Nomination for Best Actress for her role as Frida Kahlo in the film Frida.
Widely considered to be the first Mexican actress to become a Hollywood movie star since Dolores_Del_Rio, Salma Hayek is known for bringing a fiery presence and striking, dark-eyed beauty to the screen. A soap star in her native Mexico, Hayek 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.
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 taking a year to learn English and study acting with Stella Adler, Hayek 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 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 epnoymous 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 an Oscar nomination as well. Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi.