Salma Hayek at the Kering Women in Motion Dinner at Place de la Castre during the 76th Cannes Film Festival held at the Palais des Festivals on May 21, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images)
Salma Hayek He didn’t have to be famous and successful to break down the barriers in Hollywood. Because just as she stood up to the sexist advances of Harvey Weinstein and fought against the prejudices that pigeonholed her into the oppressive walls of reputation as a sex symbol or a Latina with “sexy” curves, that was who she was The Mexican actress reached an almost impossible milestone for Hispanic actresses when she was practically a newcomer. And I’m not talking about producing your dream film about Frida Kahlo or winning the awards. Oscar seven years after his Hollywood debut, but a milestone that occurred much earlier. And nobody talks about that.
Perhaps this story is not known to the world because it is associated with a film that practically no one remembers. A comedy-drama in which he co-starred with Russell Crowe as both newbies on their way to the Mecca of cinema. However, there is an achievement hidden in it that Salma was extremely proud of. And as a result, it should be part of the common knowledge about the progress Latinos are making toward equality in Hollywood.
Salma was born on September 2, 1966 in Coatzacoalcos and knew she wanted to be an actress when she saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with her father. They went to the matinée at a local cinema every Sunday and she was thrilled to discover that there was a world capable of “making a river of chocolate come into being, and that flowers were sweets you could eat.” , as she told Rosie O’Donnell in 1997. That world was Hollywood and that’s where he went in 1991. He had dropped out of college to pursue his dreams, and after making a splash as a Mexican soap opera star, he packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles.
Salma Hayek (Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
But it wasn’t easy for him. Because this actress and producer that we currently recognize as one of the most sought-after, celebrated and close to the audience Latinas – the same one who captivates us on her social networks with her dances and her ode to natural beauty that applauds her gray hair The step of the times – spent years watching as no one wanted to hire her. She even had to listen to studio bosses telling her that “she would never be a protagonist” because she sounded like a “Mexican maid.” (The guard). But Salma didn’t let the rejections stop her. She continued to believe in herself and prevailed through confidence and resilience.
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It withstood the downpour for several years until Robert Rodriguez gave it the visibility it needed. It was the role of the seductive Carolina in Pistolero (1995), a charismatic figure who attracted attention at every step between shootouts, chases and the violence of her mercenary lover, played by Antonio Banderas. And then reality surpassed fiction, leading to Salma attracting the same looks in the real world, raising spirits as the seductive vampire Santanico Pandemonium in From Dusk Till Dawn (1997) as she began to develop her to earn her first chances as a leading actress. And without playing maid.
Lebanese-Mexican actress Salma Hayek on the set of From Dusk Till Dawn, directed and produced by Robert Rodriguez. (Photo by Dimension Films/Miramax/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Although he already had a foothold in the industry, nothing was yet secured. I kept auditioning and being Latina was a barrier for casting agents who saw a stereotype instead of talent. She said it herself to The Guardian in 2021, when she explained that she had lost “many” roles over the course of her career due to her roots. And although she has managed to break down prejudices through work and talent over the years, the milestone she reached in 1997 was historic for her and the Latino community.
I’ll talk to you about it call it quits (1997), one of his first films as a protagonist in Hollywood. It was a dramatic comedy that revolved around the separation of two immature people, unable to listen to each other, passionate and impulsive. A twist-filled trial that analyzes the damage of toxic relationships and the importance of emotional maturity when it comes to love. Russell Crowe played a selfish, love-struck photographer toxically entrenched with Monica (Salma Hayek), a teacher who demanded a level of commitment he couldn’t give her.
Salma got the role shortly after her success with Pistolero (1995), the film that symbolized the bridge she so dreamed of crossing from the Mexican to the American industry. A transition that he described in an interview with journalist Joe Leydon in the mid-1990s as “a huge achievement” but also “very difficult”. But although the film with Antonio Banderas would go down in history as his first step to the top of Hollywood, it was not his greatest success at the time.
And this actress, who over the years broke down stereotypes and conquered the industry, collecting success everywhere, believed that in 1996 she had achieved “the greatest success of her life.”
“I just got a role written for an American girl.”he said in the aforementioned interview. “And they only gave it to me because I stood out in the auditions. The director told me they didn’t give it to me because I was Mexican and they didn’t stop me from getting it because I was Mexican. They gave it to me because I gave the best performance for the director. And it didn’t stop her from giving it to me because she was Mexican., she added enthusiastically. “It’s a movie with Russell Crowe, it’s just two characters and it’s called Breaking Up. I’m very excited.”
If this achievement of Salma Hayek is not known and no one singles it out as one of the milestones of her career, that’s why call it quits It made virtually no noise. The story was interesting and an exercise in interpretation by both actors, who were the only characters on stage to bear the weight of the entire plot, but the director’s poor execution and amateur editing resulted in it becoming an absurd and ridiculous satirical dramatic comedy that ended up in stuck in her bowels. However, the milestone remains in its history, with or without success.
That is Salma Hayek He put his talent beyond prejudice at a time when Latino stereotypes continued to undermine Hollywood’s perspective. Where Hispanic artists sought opportunities but faced the tunnel vision that pigeonholed them into the role of drug dealers or maids. And so, while John Leguizamo I avoided sunbathing to avoid prejudice and get a job Jennifer Lopez She had just begun her journey as a Latin American artist with the biopic Selena and Penelope Cruz Having yet to set foot on Hollywood soil, the Veracruz native reached a milestone that would go unnoticed in the eyes of the world, but that actually reflects how she has been a pioneer of change since her early days in Hollywood.
That it wasn’t something he faced when fame came knocking on his door, but instead he threw himself into the void, looking for characters that weren’t written for someone from his roots, knowing full well that rejection and stereotypes would be against could affect him. And he did it by showing the same industry that talent really matters.
This article was written exclusively for Yahoo en Español by Cine54.
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