Salma Hayek was born in 1966 in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. She came from a very privileged family, her father being a Lebanese-Mexican executive for an oil company and her mother an opera singer.
The name Salma is actually Arabic for "safe". Like many Mexicans, the Hayek family was devout Catholics. When Salma Hayek was 12, her family sent her to a religious school in Louisiana. The young girl was soon expelled for her misbehavior and was sent to live with her aunt in Texas.
After finishing college in Mexico City for international relations and marrying her first husband, Salma decided to pursue a different career path: acting. When Hayek was 23 years old, she got the lead role in the Mexican telenovela "Teresa" and became a star in her home country. Despite her success, Salma Hayek decided to go to Los Angeles the next year, 1991. Hollywood was no place for Latin actors then, especially ones who couldn't speak English very well. Despite the challenge, Hayek caught the attention of Robert Rodriguez and his wife Elizabeth Avellan. They gave her a starring role in the film "Desperado" with Antonio Banderas. She was a huge success and began to get offers for minor and leading roles in both large and artistic films.
Salma Hayek is also a producer and started her own company called "Ventanarosa". It is this company which produced the film "Frida", which also starred Hayek in the title role.
Salma Hayek has been named by The Hollywood Reporteras one of the most powerful Latinos in Hollywood. She is also considered to be one of the sexiest celebrities and was number 17 in Entertainment Weeklyon their list of the "25 Smartest People in TV".