Salma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez (born September 2, 1966) is a Mexican and American actress, director, and television and film producer. Hayek's charitable work includes increasing awareness on violence against women and discrimination against immigrants.
Hayek is the first Mexican national to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She is one of the most prominent Mexican figures in Hollywood since silent film actress Dolores del Rio. She is also, after Fernanda Montenegro, the second of three Latin American actresses (the other being Catalina Sandino Moreno) to achieve a Best Actress Oscar nomination.
In July 2007, The Hollywood Reporter ranked Hayek fourth in their inaugural Latino Power 50, a list of the most powerful members of the Hollywood Latino community. That same month, a poll found Hayek to be the "sexiest celebrity" out of a field of 3,000 celebrities (male and female); according to the poll, "65 percent of the U.S. population would use the term 'sexy' to describe her". In December 2008, Entertainment Weekly ranked Hayek number 17 in their list of the "25 Smartest People in TV."
Hayek was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico, the daughter of Diana Jiménez, an opera singer and talent scout, and Sami Hayek, an oil company executive. Hayek's father is Mexican of Lebanese descent while her mother is Mexican of Spanish descent. Her first given name, Salma, is Arabic for "safe". Raised in a wealthy, devoutly Catholic family, she was sent to the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Grand Coteau, Louisiana, at the age of twelve. While there, she was diagnosed with dyslexia. She was also an accomplished gymnast aspiring to compete in the Olympics, but her father prevented her from being recruited by the Mexican national team. The religious sisters running the Academy ejected Hayek, citing behavioral problems, so she returned to Mexico. She was later sent to live with her aunt in Houston, Texas, where she stayed until she was 17 years old. She attended college in Mexico City, where she studied International Relations at the Universidad Iberoamericana. To the surprise of her family, she dropped out to pursue a career as an actress.
Later Hollywood work: Director, producer and actress
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. This made Hayek, along with Katy Jurado and Adriana Barraza, one of only three Mexican actresses to have been nominated for an Academy Award. The film earned two Oscars.
"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 The Maldonado Miracle, a Showtime movie which won 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 her good friend Mia Maestro.
Hayek is an executive producer of Ugly Betty, a television series airing around the world since September 2006. 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 quickly became a ratings hit and 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.
In April 2007, Hayek finalized negotiations with MGM to become the CEO of her own Latin themed film production company, Ventanazul. The following month she signed a two year deal with ABC to develop projects for the network through her production company, Ventanarosa.
Hayek is developing and producing La Banda, a Spanish-language romantic comedy set in Mexico, written by Issa Lopez.
Hayek recently had a guest stint on 30 Rock as Elisa, the nurse for Jack Donaghy's mother, for whom Jack falls.
Hayek will star as the wife of Adam Sandler in Grown Ups, which also co-stars Chris Rock and Kevin James.
Hayek is a naturalized U.S. citizen. She dated actor Edward Norton between 1999 and 2003, and then Josh Lucas in 2003. She is a good friend of Spanish actress Penélope Cruz and co-starred with her in the 2006 film Bandidas. Hayek studied at Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. Her brother, Sami Hayek, is a designer with his own line of products at Target and clients that include Louis Vuitton, Brad Pitt, and the Mexican Government.
Hayek often uses method acting to play characters. While she was cast as Frida Kahlo, Hayek had to smoke for the role using real cigarettes. As a result in her own admission she became a smoker and is currently trying to kick the habit.
On March 9, 2007, Hayek confirmed she was expecting her first child with PPR CEO François-Henri Pinault. On September 21, 2007, she gave birth to daughter Valentina Paloma Pinault at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. On July 18, 2008, Hayek and Pinault announced the end of their engagement. They later reconciled and were married on Valentine's Day, 2009 in Paris. On April 25, 2009, they were married a second time in Venice.
Recipient of Glamour magazine Woman of the Year Award in October 2001.
Recipient of Producers Guild of America Celebration of Diversity Award in 2003.
Recipient of Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year Award in February 2006.
Recipient of Time Magazine 25 Most Influential Hispanics in 2005.
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