Good Things Come to Those Who Hustle: Salma Hayek’s Story

She’s known for her looks and her sexy accent, but Salma Hayek is so much more than a pretty face! She has dazzled audiences with her looks and acting ability across her roster of films and television appearances. This Mexican-born superstar is far more than just a bombshell who graces our screens.

Harvey Weinstein, Francois Pinault, Salma Hayek / Salma Hayek / Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas / Salma Hayek.
Source: Getty Images

With a love life that is simultaneously dreamy and shocking, it’s no shock that a lot of drama has followed this woman. She has established herself as one of Hollywood’s finest, from hypnotizing her fans with her legendary “snake dance” in the film Dusk Till Dawn, to making audiences laugh in her newest film, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. Salma Hayek has established herself as one of the greats!

She Was Scouted Early

Actress Salma Hayek was born in a beautiful city on Mexico’s eastern coastline called Coatzacoalcos – Coatza to the locals (or those who get easily tongue-tied). Her family was well-connected, leading talent scouts to seek her out from a young age. That definitely helps – having successful parents in the public eye!

Salma Hayek is posing for a studio photography / Salma Hayek lying on the stairs in a white dress.
Photo by Kurt Krieger, Corbis, Getty Images / Instagram, @salmahayek

Her father, Sami Hayek Dominguez, was a successful businessman. When Salma was young, her father even ran for mayor of Coatzacoalcos! Her mother was an opera singer and talent scout, making it easy and quite convenient to get her young daughter in front of the right set of eyes to make her successful!

She Grew Up as an “Ugly Duckling”

She wasn’t always seen as the “perfect 10” as the world sees her today. At the hands of her grandmother, she had to change bits and pieces of her physical features to “make them better,” as if a child needed to change anything about her body. What her abuela made her do will make you cringe!

Young Salma Hayek is doing gymnastics.
Source: Instagram/@salmahayek

Her grandmother, or abuela in her native language, used to shave the hairs of her head and her eyebrows clean-off. She apparently did this to “encourage them to grow back thicker,” which just seems incredibly unnecessary. Abuela took things a bit too far in this case! She was already destined to become beautiful, why do something like that?

Her Battles With Learning Disabilities

Before she started speaking multiple languages, Hayek struggled with reading. She has always had difficulty, even to this day, but there’s a reason for that. When she was young, she discovered that she had both ADHD and dyslexia, a learning disability that can make it difficult to interpret words, letters, and other symbols correctly.

Young Salma Hayek is standing next to her mother.
Diana Jimenez Medina, Salma Hayek. Source: Instagram /@salmahayek

Suffering from both disabilities, Hayek struggled for years to process languages, both native and foreign. The diagnosis made everything a little more clear, though it was still incredibly difficult for the future actress. Unfortunately, that’s not even close to where her bad luck began! Things were about to get rough for her…

She Was Expelled From School

So many people don’t realize how grateful they are for years of schooling until it’s too late. Hayek was apparently a rowdy student in her high school, which ended up leading to her expulsion. Maybe she missed the memo that school was not a place to mess around, but who could blame a young teen, itching to break out, for wanting to be somewhere else?

Young Salma Hayek dressed in pink.

Sources referred to the cause of her expulsion as “antics,” which is probably the best term for it! She apparently spent her days in school playing pranks and tricks on the nuns. Who knows what these pranks entailed, but she paid the highest price for it when all was said and done!

She Suffered From Acne

Looking at this gorgeous actress today, you would never be able to guess that she suffered from an all-too-common condition called acne. Stinks, right? We’ve all been there, done that! While the actress was in her twenties, her skin was pretty problematic in her eyes. It did more harm than good for her!

Salma Hayek is dressed in a floral dress.
Source: Instagram/@salmahayek

Unfortunately, her acne condition caused her much distress. It even sent her into a downward depressive spiral. Luckily, though, things cleared up – who knows if she utilized treatments, if she washed her face more. But fortunately things worked out for her in the end!

She Started on a Telenovela

Telenovelas in Latin American cultures is so over the top; it’s practically worshipped! These shows are basically soap operas but conducted in Spanish and filled with even more drama than you could imagine. A telenovela was where this girl got her start on screen, before she even headed off to Hollywood!

Salma Hayek is staring in the Mexican Telenovela
Source: Televisa S.A. de C.V.

Salma Hayek got her big break when she landed a starring role on the Mexican telenovela Teresa. She played a smart and gorgeous social climber – a common role in the genre and soap operas in general. Even if the role didn’t require much work on her end, her fanbase certainly didn’t doubt her abilities!

Where Is Salma Hayek From?

While many know her from her 2002 breakout role in the film Frida, she was actually already a highly coveted actress in Mexico. Before making her way to Hollywood to conquer the American movie industry, she did so in Mexican cinema!

Portrait of Salma Hayek attending an event.
Source: Pinterest

Hayek landed a main role in the most-awarded film in Mexican movie history, El Callejón de los Milagros, also known as Midaq Alley – The Alley of Miracles. This film took home 12 awards between 1995 and 1996, specifically the Ariel Award, the highest award in the Mexican film industry, and a Goya Award for Best Ibero-American Film.

She Studied Everything in Hollywood

It’s apparent that coming to a new country, might send someone back to the bottom of the totem pole in any industry. Despite being a renowned actress in Mexican cinema, Hayek found herself starting from scratch again. Luckily, she was able to focus on her acting studies formally.

Salma Hayek, as Carolina, staring at Antonio Banderas, as El Mariachi, as he lays down on a wooden counter.
Source: Copyright: Columbia Pictures

Hayek had the opportunity to work with a famous acting coach, Stella Adler. She moved to Los Angeles in 1991 to study under Adler, and just four years later, she starred alongside Antonio Banderas in the film Desperado. This was only the beginning for this shining star!

She Almost Dated Someone Who Became President

Melania was apparently his second choice. That’s right, we could have had First Lady Salma Trump in the White House! Early in her career, she nearly ended up dating the former President. Donald Trump tried all his best moves on the Mexican American actress, but he fell short.

Vintage photo of Donald Trump in the late '90s / Portrait of Salma Hayek at a Hollywood party.
Photo by Davidoff Studios, Getty Images / Instagram/@salmahayek

While the two were attending a party filled with many of Hollywood’s elite, the billionaire-turned-president could tell that Hayek was cold. He tried to be chivalrous, draping his jacket over her to keep her warm. However, the actress didn’t seem interested in any of his advances!

Salma Stays Faithful

According to Hayek, she was already in a relationship with someone else when Trump was hitting on her. You might be able to argue that the Apprentice star might not have known she was in a relationship, but that would be wrong! He actually used her boyfriend to get her phone number, so he could ask her out!

Salma Hayek is posing next to a pinata of Donald Trump.
Source: Instagram /@salmahayek

He reportedly told her, “He’s not good enough for you. Not important. He’s not important, he’s not big enough for you. You have to go out with me.” He’s proven time and time again that he won’t back down from a challenge too easily, and this is just one of the examples showing that he meant business!

He Was Relentless

Ultimately, Hayek knew that she was not going to be unfaithful to her man. He was not going to let that get in the way of getting what he wanted, and he was not going to let go so easily. Hayek believed that Trump planted some stories in news outlets to reel her in like the catch of the day.

Donald Trump is sitting on a couch.
Photo by Joe McNally/Getty Images

One of these “planted” stories said that HE refused to date HER, because she was too short! Naturally, he didn’t take well to any form of failure and was visibly angry about his master plan falling short. Sometimes, he needs to accept that wealth doesn’t do it for everybody!

He Bought a Date With Her at an Auction

Even after all the drama between the two was said and done, Trump spent a whopping $145,000 at an auction to have a lunch date with this gorgeous actress. Then, when the date was set and ready to go, something unexpected happened between the two…

Donald Trump on the backseat of a limousine.
Photo by Joe McNally/Getty Images

He stood Salma Hayek up! That’s right, Trump had the audacity to bail on her and not show up to their big date! Who knows why he did it – maybe he felt like the tables were turned and he could reject her in the same way she was rejecting him… Either way, not cool, Donald!

She Faced Harmful Discrimination

It’s fairly obvious that Hayek was destined to become a big star. The road to success isn’t always smooth, but, hey, nothing worth having is easy, right? There was nothing holding her back, and she was destined to be one of the best, brightest, and most beautiful actresses in Hollywood. Of course, there’s a “but” coming up…

Salma Hayek in a still from the movie 'Fled’.
Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis/Getty Images

In the eyes of many major studio heads, there was a major factor that needed to be considered when determining her potential success. What these studio heads told her will make you furious; we can only imagine how she felt and reacted in the moment, as well!

Just One Problem…

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the actress opened up about some of the horrendous comments made to her about why she wouldn’t succeed. The studio heads that claimed they were just looking out for her were also responsible for tearing her down again.

Salma Hayek is posing on a magazine cover / Salma Hayek.
Source: Instagram /@salmahayekmx

“You could have been the biggest star in America, but you were born in the wrong country,” she was told. “You can never be a leading lady, because we can’t take the risk of you opening your mouth and people thinking of their maids.” That is one of the most unnecessary and harsh things I’ve ever heard!

Her Looks Drew Attention

Salma Hayek is hot, and she knows it! Her stunning good looks have been known worldwide for decades at this point, and it seems she’s only getting better with age! While on the set of her first Hollywood film alongside Antonio Banderas, she got attention in ways you might not have expected.

Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas are sitting next to a bed on the floor.
Source: Copyright: Columbia Pictures

Hayek and her costar Banderas had to film a love scene. Not only does that make for a sultry scene to watch, but it was evidently steamy for them to make, as well. In the 1995 film Desperado, more than just the cameras appeared to be watching the love scene between two hot stars!

Crowds Came From Near and Far

Of course, a beautiful woman has the potential to have many people coming from near and far to worship her. Additionally, it goes without saying that the cast and crew of a film will form a unique bond in the process of it all. However, sometimes they get a little… too close. This is what happened on the set of Desperado.

Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas are walking together amongst the crowd at the Cannes.
Photo by Stephane Cardinale/Sygma/Getty Images

Apparently, the entire crew showed up to watch their steamy as heck love scene. That’s right, the entire crew showed up to watch Hayek and Banderas do the deed for the screen! Fortunately, only essential crew members and the camera operators saw the scene. The rest of the crew had to wait to see it with the rest of the world.

The Magical Snake Dance

Fresh out of her performance in Desperado, Salma Hayek landed a key role in Quentin Tarantino’s classic film From Dusk Till Dawn. She was featured in this movie alongside other industry greats, like George Clooney and Tarantino himself. This movie featured a scene that will forever be associated with her.

Movie still of Salma Hayek dancing with a snake wrapped around her body.
Source: Copyright: Miramax Films

The epic snake dance scene became an instant classic. The actress performed a sultry, brilliant dance with a ginormous snake. Unless you’re already a snake charmer or a zookeeper, it’s safe to assume you might be terrified of filming a scene like this. She certainly was terrified…

She’s Terrified of Snakes

OK, we certainly don’t blame her… Snakes are terrifying! If someone handed us a snake and told us to keep calm, there’s a chance we’d just run for the hills instead. The legendary snake dance scene was difficult for the star to film, because she had a terrible phobia of these slimy slithering creatures.

Salma Hayek holds a snake wrapped around her neck in a still from ‘Dusk Till Dawn’.
Source: Miramax Films

Hayek has a terrible case of ophidiophobia, better known as a fear of snakes. Seriously, who could blame her? They’re terrifying, and some of them can swallow animals much bigger than them. How on earth could someone with such an intense fear film a scene where she dances with a snake like that?

She Was Tricked Into Her Dance Scene

If she knew that the movie included a dance scene with a snake, maybe she would have thought twice about the role. There was just no way that Hayek, or anyone else for that matter, would agree to film a risky scene like that if they had such a big fear! There’s more to the story, though…

Quentin Tarantino is wearing a thoughtful expression on his face / Salma Hayek looking down on the set of Dusk Till Dawn.
Photo by Leonardo Cendamo, Getty Images / Dimension Films, Miramax, Sunset Boulevard, Corbis, Getty Images

The producer from the film in question, From Dusk Till Dawn, lied to the star to get her to say yes to the movie. She claims she was tricked into taking the role, and she had to spend months upon months in intense therapy to work through her fear before (and after) filming. That’s rough!

She Upgraded the Dance

Fortunately, she was dedicated enough to the role to move past her fear and make the dance the best it could be. You might expect that a dance with an amphibious creature with fangs would be carefully planned out… but you’d be wrong!

Movie still featuring Salma Hayek.
Source: Copyright: Miramax Pictures

There was little to no planning involved in the making of the epic snake dance scene. According to the actress, there was almost nothing – no choreography – planned for this dangerous tabletop dance. The producer just told her to “feel the music,” as if she didn’t have a snake slithering all over her skin…

She Was Their Backup

The actress waited a short period of time before jumping into her next role. Her next film would be 1999’s Wild Wild West. Though she played the part of Rita Escobar in the end, she wasn’t the producer’s first choice. The role almost went to Jennifer Lopez, but they ran into an issue.

Jennifer Lopez/ Penelope Cruz
Photo by Pool SCORCELLETTI, VAUDEVILLE, Gamma-Rapho, Getty Images / Frederic Meylan, Sygma, Getty Images

JLO actually turned the role down. Afterwards, they offered the role to Penelope Cruz, though she had to turn it down because of a scheduling conflict. When Cruz turned the role down, Hayek was finally offered the role. Little did she know, she would come to regret taking it in the first place.

She Could Have Been Used More

Yes, that’s right, Salma Hayek was completely underused in the film Wild Wild West. Unfortunately, her major role in this film would prove to be one of the low points in an otherwise stellar career. Wild Wild West’s final product left the cast disappointed when it came out.

Salma Hayek is dancing at the brothel, as Rita Escobar, in the film Wild Wild West.
Photo by Murray Close/Getty Images

The cast wasn’t very pleased with what the rest of the world saw on the silver screen. This movie screened across the world, meaning that millions of people across the globe weighed in. Hayek’s primary complaint was that she was underutilized, or that she felt she was – and that seems right to us!

Taking Things Into Her Own Hands

Salma Hayek learned the hard way that she needed to be her biggest advocate. This was evident from her experiences filming Wild Wild West, as well as her earlier interactions with studio heads who told her what “her real problem” was. She wasn’t going to sit back and let herself be taken advantage of.

Salma Hayek speaks during a press conference.
Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Getty Images

As a result, she started her own production company! She took her dream and made it a reality, because she knew that no one would just hand her the opportunities she was hoping for. The first production filmed by the company was also officially selected as Mexico’s submission for the Oscars.

She Played Frida Kahlo

The star did not waste a single second and began making films that were better suited for her. She produced and starred in the incredible film Frida, about the iconic and legendary artist Frida Kahlo. She wanted to highlight her Mexican culture and heritage through her production company.

Salma Hayek as Frida Khalo in a publicity still from the movie.
Source: Copyright: Miramax Films

The movie reached a level of success that Hayek never thought was possible. It even yielded her an Oscar nomination! Needless to say, that doesn’t mean that the production process was a piece of cake, because behind the scenes, filming was a complete and total nightmare.

She Was a Moving Target

Remember Harvey Weinstein, the now disgraced Hollywood producer? Unfortunately, she had a few run-ins with this scum-of-the-earth producer, between the 1990s and 2000s. The star had to deal with constant harassment by Harvey Weinstein and based on what’s come out against him, none of it should come as a surprise…

Harvey Weinstein, Francois Pinault, and Salma Hayek are posing for the press at an event.
Photo by Stefanie Keenan/WireImage/Getty Images

Weinstein used to show up to her hotel room unannounced at all hours of the night, pressuring her to engage with him in ways she had no interest in. He’d often pressure her to take a shower with him, and she’d receive strange messages from him constantly. On the set of Frida, things got even worse.

Weinstein Tried to Destroy Her

Salma Hayek was unfortunately one of many who had to deal with his wrath. Back in the early 2000s, Harvey Weinstein was the head of Miramax. This was the studio responsible for producing Friday. Initially, Hayek was thrilled about working with the legendary producer. That changed quickly, though.

Salma Hayek as Frida at the set of ‘Frida’.
Source: Copyright: Miramax Films

As time passed, Weinstein realized that Hayek was not going to give him what he wanted most: her body. He started to lash out at her, and even began to start pushing her out of the film. He went as far as claiming that he gave the role to someone else! That barely scratches the surface, though…

Weinstein’s Ridiculous Demands

As Weinstein pushed Hayek to a boiling point, he met her with a list of his own demands as an effort to push her out of the project. His list was outrageous, of course, and he had every intention of watching her fail. Luckily, she didn’t back down so easily – which is why we have a masterpiece today.

Harvey Weinstein is talking to Salma Hayek.
Harvey Weinstein. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Weinstein’s list of demands required her to raise $10 million, get a top-notch (rather, A-list) director to oversee the project, rewrite the script (for free!), and cast another four A-list actors and actresses. Otherwise, he threatened to axe the project as a whole. Luckily, she fought until the very end!

She Shocked Everyone by Meeting His Requirements

You read that right! Even though she was rather new in Hollywood at the time, this superstar managed to meet all his demands! Even if they were ridiculous and meant to break her, she would not allow this creepy old man to determine the rest of her career. You go, girl!

Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd, Alfred Molina, and Antonio Banderas sit at a round wooden table in a scene from Frida.
Source: Copyright: Miramax Films

She managed to convince other successful, A-list talent to fill out the film’s cast. Some other stars in the project included Ashley Judd and Antonio Banderas. As a result, Weinstein had to keep his promise and make the movie. This success was short lived, as he ended up taking all his anger out on the star during filming.

“I’ll Kill You!”

Sure, some people make comments like that in a fit of rage, knowing that they would never really lay a finger on someone. In any case, it’s something that certainly should not be taken lightly. In a moving piece by Hayek in The New York Times, she mentioned that he had threatened her; “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t,” he said.

Harvey Weinstein is talking on the phone as he walks the red carpet.
Photo by C. Uncle/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Hayek recalled how Weinstein would show up to the set and scream about everything that was wrong with the movie. Weinstein would say that she couldn’t act and that the character’s trademark unibrow was hideous, and that she was a terrible producer. Once, he even made everyone else on set leave so he could tear into her himself!

He Tried to Insult Her; It Didn’t Hold Her Back

Weinstein tried to convince Hayek that she was nothing more than good looks, and that if her character didn’t match that, the film was destined to fail. He tried to use this as an excuse to end production in the middle of filming, and even gave her a haunting ultimatum.

Salma Hayek smiling at the press.
Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images

She could have been an even bigger star than she became. Somehow, though, she was stuck working for mediocre studio executives who needed to get with the times. One of Hayek’s costars from Frida, Alfred Molina, spoke highly of her: “If Salma were white and male, she’d be bigger than Harvey.”

Her Impressive Roster of Ex-Boyfriends

Salma Hayek has dated a series of impressive men, some of whom she remained on good terms with. One of them was Edward Norton, who went as far as helping her rewrite the Frida script entirely, for free. That sounds like a good man, and even years later, she referred to her ex as an angel.

Edward Norton and Salma Hayek are watching a movie.
Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty Images

Another of the actress’s former lovers is Josh Lucas, a heartthrob from a series of early 2000s romantic comedies. Their relationship was short lived, though. They were only together for a year, and unfortunately broke up because she was always working. In his interview with GQ, he said, “women of a certain age oftentimes feel they need to stay on the treadmill—the figurative treadmill. If both people are working, it’s a problem.”

She Faced Constant Discrimination

Before working on the movie Grown Ups, studio executives had a rather rude request of Sandler after casting Hayek as his wife in the film. Studio executives reportedly asked for someone “less ethnic” to fill the role. Seriously, what on earth is that for?!

Salma Hayek is putting makeup on.
Source: Instagram /@salmahayek

Fortunately, Adam Sandler is a stand-up guy who was not going to listen. He told them simply that she was already offered the part; they’d have to deal with it. He also threatened them and told them to never bring it up again, or else there would be some trouble. Go Adam!

She Had Adam Sandler as an Ally

Sandler is both Hayek’s fan and a close personal friend. The two had incredible chemistry on screen, and it didn’t end there. The two remained good friends beyond the project, and even shared an emotional moment together while paying tribute to someone they cherished.

Salma Hayek and Adam Sandler in a publicity still from the movie Grown Ups.
Source: Copyright: Columbia Pictures

Their on-screen son, Cameron Boyce, passed away in July 2019 from epilepsy. The two shared a tribute for the young star, proving that some relationships expand beyond their days on set together. Plus, if they were a couple in real life, they’d look really good!

She Was an Executive Producer on Ugly Betty

Hayek knew that she had a unique platform to illuminate Latinx stories across the entertainment industry. The star was an executive producer on the Emmy-winning television show Ugly Betty. Betty Suarez is just another first generation Mexican American living in Queens, doing her best to take the publishing world by storm.

America Ferrera and Salma Hayek are looking at their reflection in the mirror.
Source: Copyright: ABC

Hayek loved being on the set of this show. She loved it so much, that she made multiple cameos throughout the series. She started out as Sofia Reyes, another publishing executive working with MODE in Season One. In addition, she played the nurse on the telenovela the Suarez family watches throughout the show!

She Had Her Own Stalker

In 2015, the world learned about one of the other big struggles this bombshell beauty had to deal with. She opened up about her dealings with a stalker, which sounds all-around terrifying. Hayek filed a restraining order against the stalker, adding even more stress to the star’s life.

Salma Hayek takes a selfie surrounded by leaves.
Source: Instagram /@salmahayek

A maniacal fan took her obsession to the next level. Hayek was being harassed by a woman who tried to impersonate the actress, attempt to contact her family, and of course, follow the star everywhere. This instilled a sense of fear in the star that brought her to file a restraining order against the stalker!

Who Is Salma Hayek Married To?

Hayek married a man whose face probably appears in the dictionary next to the word “wealthy.” She had the opportunity to date another man, the guy who went on to become the 45th president, but she turned it down. The man she did end up tying the knot with makes Trump’s wealth look likechump change.

Salma Hayek is kissing her husband on the cheek.
Source: Instagram /@salmahayek

She tied the knot with the exquisite French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault. Forbes places his estimated net worth at roughly $44.1 billion. That is an amount of money that some people could never even fathom! Sorry Trump, she upgraded to the all-inclusive diamond package and she’s not turning back!

Her Views on Feminism Are Murky

In an interview with People, she made some comments that didn’t sit right. “I’m not a feminist. If men were going through the things women are going through today, I would be fighting for them with just as much passion. I believe in equality,” she stated. E! Online called this “cringeworthy.”

A selfie of Salma Hayek.
Source: Instagram /@salmahayek

The star quickly clarified her comments in an interview with The Guardian. “I am a feminist because I love women and I am ready to fight for women…But – it should not be just because I am a woman,” she said. So, we’ll put her down as supporting women… just not knowing what title to use for it?

She Had a Daughter at 41

Not only did she get married a little later in life, but she also gave birth to a healthy baby girl when she was 41 years old. She was too busy establishing herself as one of the greatest actresses of all time to focus on family planning right away, and she was ecstatic to become a mother.

Salma Hayek's family is talking to the Pope.
Valentina Paloma Pinault, Francois-Henri Pinault. Source: Instagram /@salmahayek

Hayek welcomed her daughter, Valentina, back in 2007. She put on a whopping 50 pounds during her pregnancy, though she didn’t hate it. “I gained so much weight, I got an opportunity to see myself completely disfigured in many different ways — for a very good reason — and I don’t regret it for a second,” she told Glamour in 2013.

She “Handed Out” Breastmilk

While she was on a trip with UNICEF to Sierra Leone, Salma Hayek gave herself as a resource to those in the communities she visited. She breastfed a week-old infant while on the trip, as shown in Nightline, which followed her throughout the trip. The reason is shocking…

Salma Hayek is posing for a photo.
Source: Instagram /@salmahayek

She didn’t quite make the trip just to give out breastmilk. The mother of the newborn was unfortunately incapable of producing breastmilk of her own, so Hayek took on the responsibility. She allowed Nightline to film her good deed, because she wanted to take the stigma around breastfeeding away.