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Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek Jiménez (born September 2, 1966) is an Academy Award-, Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated Mexican-American actress, Daytime Emmy-winning director, best known for her break out role as a sexy Vampire stripper queen in the horror movie From Dusk Till Dawn. 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 of Lebanese descent while her mother is of Spanish descent. 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. 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 seventeen. 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. At the age of 23, the former 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, hoping for a career in Hollywood, despite limited fluency in English brought on by dyslexia. Robert Rodriguez and his producer wife Elizabeth Avellan soon gave Hayek the break she needed, a starring role opposite Antonio Banderas in 1995's Desperado. The movie caught Hollywood's attention, as moviegoers proved to be dazzled by Hayek as Rodriguez had been. Due to Hayek's loyalty to the director she would later decline playing the role Catherine Zeta-Jones eventually took in The Mask of Zorro after Rodriguez abandoned the project. She has also appeared in the Spy Kids trilogy. Hayek followed her success in Desperado with a brief but memorable role as a vampire queen in From Dusk Till Dawn, where she provocatively danced on a table before killing Quentin Tarantino's character. 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, she had an uncredited acting part opposite Benicio del Toro in Traffic. Around this time Hayek founded 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 also featured an entourage of stars in supporting roles, including Antonio Banderas, Ashley Judd, Geoffrey Rush, Edward Norton, and Valeria Golino. 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. She became, after Fernanda Montenegro, the second ever Latin American nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Following Frida, in 2003 she reprised her role from Desperado by appearing in the final film of the Mariachi Trilogy, Once Upon a Time in Mexico. In that same year she 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, 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.


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