Salma Hayek has built a solid career in the international entertainment industry, where, among several projects, she now enjoys the privilege of being part of the Marvel Universe with the character of “Ajak” in The Eternals, but far from her achievements in Hollywood and as a businesswoman, the Mexican actress faced more than one rejection due to her race.
The actress from Veracruz made her debut on Mexican television at the end of the 80s, and her talent and beauty helped catapult her career as a star in the telenovela Teresa and the movie El callejón de los milagros, to later move to the United States looking for an opportunity in Hollywood, which came in 1995 with Desperate next to Antonio Banderas, and a year later with From twilight to dawn with George Clooney.
Since then her successes have been constant and is among the five Latin American actresses who were recognized for their work by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), when she was nominated for Best Actress for her leading role in Frida, a 2002 film that she produced herself with her company Ventanarosa.
But far from the awards and her strength to improve herself as an actress, Salma Hayek recently revealed that in the beginning she was discriminated against for being Mexican, preventing her from starring in important projects.
“I remember there were two great comedies in which I auditioned for the lead role. Afterward, the directors told me that I was the best audition and that I was better than those who were chosen, and that they regretted it. But at that moment, they knew that the studios would not have chosen a Mexican as the main character,” she said in an interview with Variety magazine.
The actress recognized that it was difficult for her to enter the world of action movies and get away from the sensual side that she had projected in her early work.
“They didn’t even give me the auditions. We tried really hard. I said I know I can do drama, but what about romantic comedies and action comedies?” She shared what producers thought of her: “For them, it was like, ‘Oh no, she’s like a sexy Mexican.’
She also had to overcome the differences marked by being a woman: “If you are a woman and you are in a movie that is very successful and they say that you are their favorite character, they will still give the boy all the box office credits.”
Salma Hayek’s battle with COVID-19
In this same conversation, Salma recalled the tough battle she faced against COVID-19 right at the beginning of the pandemic, and that almost led her to death.
She said she was isolated for seven weeks in a room in her UK home, which she shares with her husband and daughter. She was connected for all that time to an oxygen tank and could only wait for the best to happen.
“My doctor begged me to go to the hospital because I was very sick. I said ‘no thanks, I’d rather die at home,’” Hayek revealed.
After those difficult weeks, she returned to work last April with the filming of Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, where she will have a special role with Lady Gaga and Adam Driver.
The actress said that she has not fully recovered, as she has not yet recovered her energy, but her participation in Scott’s film has been perfect for her condition. “It was easy. It was the perfect job to get back into work. I had started doing Zooms (video calls) at one point, but I could only do a few because I was so tired,” she confessed.