Salma HayekSalma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez-Pinault (Spanish pronunciation: ; born September 2, 1966) is a Mexican actress, director and producer. She is one of the most prominent Mexican figures in Hollywood. She received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as Frida Kahlo in the movie Frida.
Hayek was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico, the daughter of Diana Jiménez Medina, an opera singer and talent scout, and Sami Hayek Dominguez, an oil company executive who once ran for mayor of Coatzacoalcos. Hayek's father is of Lebanese descent, while her mother is of Spanish descent. Her first given name, Salma, is Arabic for "safe". Raised in a wealthy, devoutly Roman Catholic family, she was sent to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, at the age of twelve. While there, she was diagnosed with dyslexia.She attended college in Mexico City, where she studied International Relations at the Universidad Iberoamericana.
At the age of 23, Hayek landed the title role in Teresa (1989), a successful Mexican telenovela that made her a star in Mexico. In 1994, Hayek starred in the film El Callejón de los Milagros (Miracle Alley), which has won more awards than any other movie in the history of Mexican cinema. For her performance, Hayek was nominated for an Ariel Award.
Hayek moved to Los Angeles, California in 1991 to study acting under Stella Adler. She had limited fluency in English, which was attributed to her suffering from dyslexia. Robert Rodriguez and his producer and then wife Elizabeth Avellan soon gave Hayek a starring role opposite Antonio Banderas in 1995's Desperado.Hayek had a starring part opposite Matthew Perry in the 1997 romantic comedy Fools Rush In. She followed her role in Desperado with a brief role as a vampire queen in From Dusk Till Dawn, in which she performed a table-top snake dance. In 1999, she co-starred in Will Smith's big-budget Wild Wild West, and played a supporting role in Kevin Smith's Dogma. In 2000, Hayek had an uncredited acting part opposite Benicio del Toro in Traffic. In 2003, she reprised her role from Desperado by appearing in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, the final film of the Mariachi Trilogy.
Around 2000, Hayek founded film production company Ventanarosa, through which she produces film and television projects. Her first feature as a producer was 1999's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba, Mexico's official selection for submission for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars.
Frida, co-produced by Hayek, was released in 2002. Starring Hayek as Frida Kahlo, and Alfred Molina as her unfaithful husband, Diego Rivera, the film was directed by Julie Taymor and featured an entourage of stars in supporting and minor roles (Valeria Golino, Ashley Judd, Edward Norton, Geoffrey Rush) and cameos (Antonio Banderas). She earned a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her performance.
In the Time of the Butterflies is a 2001 feature film based on the Julia Álvarez book of the same name, covering the lives of the Mirabal sisters. In the movie, Salma Hayek plays one of the sisters, Minerva, and Edward James Olmos plays the Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo whom the sisters opposed. Marc Anthony plays a brief role as Minerva's first love, and as the motivation for her later revolutionary activities.
In 2003, Hayek produced and directed The Maldonado Miracle, a Showtime movie based on the book of the same name, winning her a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Children/Youth/Family Special. In December 2005, she directed a music video for Prince, titled "Te Amo Corazon" ("I love you, sweetheart") that featured Mia Maestro.
Hayek was an executive producer of Ugly Betty, a television series that aired around the world from 2006 to 2010. Hayek adapted the series for American television with Ben Silverman, who acquired the rights and scripts from the Colombian telenovela Yo Soy Betty La Fea in 2001. Originally intended as a half hour sitcom for NBC in 2004, the project would later be picked up by ABC for the 2006–2007 season with Silvio Horta also producing. Hayek guest-starred on Ugly Betty as Sofia Reyes, a magazine editor. She also had a cameo playing an actress in the telenovela within the show. The show won a Golden Globe Award for Best Comedy Series in 2007. Hayek's performance as Sofia resulted in a nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards.