Salma Hayek has been a powerhouse Latina actress in Hollywood for years. She began her acting career in her native Mexico, starring in telenovelas like Teresa, before making a splash in the 1993 drama Mi vida loca. The actress then became a crossover sensation in the U.S. and instantly captivated audiences on the big screen with her work in Desperado (1995) and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Her hard work over the years and versatile performances have made her a household name who continues to thrive in the industry.
Hayek made history by becoming the first Mexican actress to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress when she was nominated for her performance in the critically acclaimed 2002 biopic Frida. Aside from acting, Hayek has also worked behind the camera as a director and a producer. In 1999, she founded her production company, Ventanarosa, bringing Latinx-centered stories to life.
With a slew of upcoming projects, including Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Magic Mike’s Last Dance and Without Blood, audiences can continue to look forward to seeing Hayek's work. Below, here are Hayek's essential performances so far.
Considered Hayek’s breakout film, the actress co-stars alongside Antonio Banderas in Robert Rodriguez’s follow-up to El Mariachi. The film follows gunslinger and musician El Mariachi (Banderas), who returns to a small Mexican town and gets tangled up with local drug lord Bucho (Joaquim de Almeida). He, along with his friend Buscemi (Steve Buscemi) and bookstore owner Carolina (Hayek), take on Bucho and his gang.
Hayek reunited with Rodriguez for her iconic role of Santanico Pandemonium, the seductive vampire queen. The action horror film stars George Clooney as Seth Gecko and Quentin Tarantino as Richard Gecko, two brothers on the run after killing multiple police officers during a bank robbery. As they make their way to Mexico, they kidnap preacher Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) and his children when they steal their RV, only to find themselves trapped inside of a saloon filled with deadly vampires.
Matthew Perry and Hayek star as Alex and Isabel in this romantic comedy directed by Andy Tennant. After a one-night stand, Isabel finds out that she is pregnant, and the two decide to get married. Life as a married couple comes with familial and cultural issues, as well as work sacrifices.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon star as two fallen angels, Bartleby and Loki, who find themselves kicked out of Heaven. After discovering a loophole that might get them back to Heaven, they head out to New Jersey. Their plan, however, could destroy humanity, and a holy crusade is launched to stop them. Written and directed by Kevin Smith, the film co-stars Hayek as the muse of creative inspiration, Serendipity. George Carlin, Linda Fiorentino, Janeane Garofalo, Chris Rock, Jason Lee, Alan Rickman, Alanis Morissette, Bud Cort, and Jason Mewes also star.
Hayek produced and starred in this Oscar-nominated biopic about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Directed by Julie Taymor, the film explores Kahlo's early life and how her tumultuous relationship with husband Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), political views, and sexuality impacted her work. Antonio Banderas, Ashley Judd, Diego Luna, Geoffrey Rush, and Edward Norton co-star.
Frida was nominated for a total of six Oscars, including one for Best Actress for Hayek. The film went on to win two Oscars: Best Original Score and Best Makeup.
Hayek reprised her role as Carolina in Robert Rodriguez’s final chapter in the El Mariachi trilogy, known as the Mexico Trilogy. This time around, El Mariachi (Banderas) is hired as a hitman by renegade CIA agent Sands (Johnny Depp) to kill a man who plans to murder the Mexican president. Eva Mendes, Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Enrique Iglesias, Cheech Marin, and Danny Trejo co-star.
Pierce Brosnan stars as Max Burdett, a master thief who retires to an island with his partner-in-crime and girlfriend Lola (Hayek). Upon discovering that the massive diamond that he's been searching to add to his collection is aboard a cruise ship on this very island, Max returns to his old ways. However, this time, F.B.I. Agent Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson) is ready to catch him in the act.
This is the first film that Hayek and Penelope Cruz starred in together, as upper class Sara Sandoval and poor farm girl María Álvarez , respectively, two very different women who become bank robbers in order to stop a U.S. bank magnate from stealing land from the poor to build a railroad. The turn-of-the-century Western comedy hails from Norwegian directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, and is well worth the watch for Hayek and Cruz's ineffable chemistry.
This Shrek spin-off is the origin story of the swashbuckling, boot-wearing cat, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas). The story follows Puss as he, Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), and literal cat burglar Kitty Softpaws (Hayek) set out to steal a goose that lays golden eggs.
Hayek will once again voice Kitty Softpaws this holiday season in the upcoming sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, in theaters Dec. 21.
Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) are two pot growing friends whose shared girlfriend (Blake Lively) is kidnapped by the Mexican Baja Cartel after the ruthless and powerful leader, Elena (Hayek), demands part of their marijuana business. The two friends team up with DEA agent Dennis Cain (John Travolta) to try to get their lover back. This Oliver Stone crime drama also co-stars Benicio Del Toro, Demián Bichir, and Emile Hirsch.
Hayek stars as Beatriz, a Los Angeles massage therapist and holistic healer, in this comedy-drama. While at the mansion of one of her wealthy clients (Connie Britton), Beatriz’s car breaks down, forcing her to stay for the family's business dinner party. As the drinks start to flow, Beatriz begins to quarrel with another guest, Doug (John Lithgow), a ruthless real estate mogul, who appears to care more about money than people.
Hayek makes her superhero movie debut in this action adventure from Marvel Studios directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Chloé Zhao. Hayek plays Ajak, the spiritual leader of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings with superpowers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years. When a new evil enters the planet, they reunite to save the world. Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry, and Kit Harington are among the ensemble cast.