Assumed by many as the first Mexican actress to become a Hollywood movie star since Dolores Del Rio, Salma Hayek is not only known for her sole physical beauty, but most of all for her exceptional acting career. Born Salma Hayek Jimenez on September 2, 1966, in the oil boomtown of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, her father is a Lebanese businessman who once ran for mayor of their city, while her Mexican mother Diana Jimenez, is an opera singer and talent scout. She has only one brother named Sami, who designs custom chairs famous among celebrities including Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. Raised in a devoutly Catholic family, Hayek was sent to a Louisiana Chatolic boarding school at the age of 12 for two years before then sent back home by the nuns worked in the school after getting into trouble for terrorizing them. After that she lived with her aunt in Houston, Texas for a couple of years and headed back to her hometown Mexico to go to college when she was 17 years old. Studied International Relations as a university student after being forced by her parents, she at last decided to drop out in order to pursue a career as an actress, a dream she's been long for since her very young age.
A Mexico City's Universidad Iberoamericana graduate, Hayek did feel ready to start an acting career early on, landed the title role in "Teresa" (1989), a hugely successful soap opera which earned her the star status in her homeland. Won several acting awards, still she felt the need to explore her talent and passion that later on left the hugely successful soap and her homeland and headed for L.A. After taking a year to learn English and study acting with Stella Adler, by 1992 the beauty landed only bit parts, appeared on "Street Justice" (1991), "The Sinbad Show" (1993), "Nurses" (1991), and as a sexy maid on the HBO series "Dream On" (1990). It was not until Allison Anders cast her in a supporting role in "Mi Vida Loca" (1993) that Hayek got her first big break. Obtained a Screen Actors Guild card, the road to success was at first tough for her to pass, but not anymore by the time she made an appearance on a Spanish-language cable access talk show in 1992 that happened to count director Robert Rodriguez amongst its viewers. Immediately smitten with her knack, he promptly cast her as the female lead in the 1995 "Desperado," giving her the big break she desperately longing for.
Being in the same scene with senior actor Antonio Banderas in the hit film did help Hayek earned a name among Hollywood movie stars, while at the same time enabled her to secure more roles, including further collaborations with Rodriguez on two other projects, a cameo with Banderas in the ill-conceived feature "Four Rooms" (1995) and as a blood-sucking snake-dancer in the Quentin Tarantino-scripted vampire outing, "From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996). Unfortunately, the film, which also starred George Clooney, didn't get either respect or response, and so did Hayek's next few projects. She was then cast alongside Matthew Perry in the 1997 romantic comedy "Fools Rush In" as two lovers who instantly decided to get married after meeting in Las Vegas, but then have to face some problems when meet each other's family and work colleagues as well when they start to know each other more. This film, sad to say, failed to impress both critics and audience. Her next film, "Breaking Up" (1997), which paired her with Russell Crowe as a couple who constantly separate and reconcile, sadly, failed to excite audience as well.
The 1998 "The Faculty," a teen thriller that cast Hayek as a teacher who turns into an alien, was an exception, so did with "Dogma" (1999). Gained critical praise, she was then billed to star in what was to be her biggest film to date, Barry Sonnenfeld's 1999 summer blockbuster "Wild Wild West," which also starred Will Smith and Kevin Kline. Sad to say that the following year Hayek's career deemed and she only played small roles in some unpopular movies, one of which was Mike Figgis' experimental "Time Code," which cast her as Jeanne Tripplehorn's lover. Realizing the regress, this actress tried to wake up and regain her fame by the time of which she produced and played the lead role in "Frida," the long awaited biography of tragic artist Frida Kahlo released in 2002. The picture, surprisingly, was a hit and was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Actress for Hayek, making her the first Latin actress to be nominated in the category.
Already established herself as a high-profile movie star, Hayek expanded her horizons, reunited with Robert Rodriguez for a humorous cameo in "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over" and reprised her role in the successful and entertaining third outing in the El Mariachi series "Desperado 2: Once Upon a Time in Mexico," which hit the theaters in 2003. Afterwards, she finished "After the Sunset" (2004) opposite Pierce Brosnan, "Ask the Dust" opposite Colin Farrell, plus "Bandidas", the latter two were both released in 2006. Her acting resume keeps growing as she then added "Lonely Hearts" and "Across the Universe" for 2007 releases and "South of the Border" for that of 2008. Not only that, she went deeper into film producing as well in "Diego Ascending" (2009) and "Bones Family" (2009) while taking double job of starring and producing in "La Banda" (2009) also an untitled project for Disney slated to come up in 2010.
A beautiful, sexy and charming female, there's not much we can read about Hayek's love life. Previously dated fellow actor Edward Norton from 1999 to 2003, she then linked to Josh Lucas. On March 9, 2007 it was officially confirmed by her publicist that the actress was engaged to French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault who heads PPR, a holding company specializing in retail luxury goods. On September 21st the same year the pair happily welcomed a daughter named Valentina Paloma Pinault.