When Salma arrived in Los Angeles she had to face the bitter truth: she was only one of thousands of aspiring actresses and she couldn't even speak English. Eighteen months of hard work followed in which Salma took English lessons and worked with acting teacher Stella Adler. Salma attended numerous auditions but couldn't land a role until Allison Anders cast her in "Mi Vida Loca". But her breakthrough was to come later.
When Salma was a guest on a Spanish language cable access talk show director Robert Rodriguez saw her and wanted Salma to play alongside Antonio Banderas in his movie Desperado. The sizzling role of Carolina was a major success and Rodriguez went on casting Salma in all of his movies. In 1995 Salma returned to Mexico to star in the critically acclaimed movie "El Callejón de los Milagros" (Midaq Alley) which got her a nomination for the Silver Ariel (Mexican Oscar). Salma soon turned out to be a workaholic as she filmed up to four movies a year. Small parts in "Fair Game"(1995) and "Fled"(1996) didn't challenge her acting capabilities. In 1996 though Salma made a huge impact in Rodriguez' "From Dusk Till Dawn" as she played Satanico Pandemonium, a seductive vampire queen. The romantic comedy Fools Rush In, with Matthew Perry, followed in 1997. In the same year she played Esmeralda in TNT's adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel "The Hunchback". During the filming she met actor Edward Atterton, and they dated until 1999.
Other movies like "54" and "The Faculty" followed. Salma also began producing movies with her production company "Ventanarosa". In 1999 she made a deal with Sony to produce shows for Columbia TriStar TV (in English) and Telemundo (in Spanish). But her independent production, "The Velocity of Gary," was not successful. "Wild Wild West" also had a high potential of success regarding the stars aboard (Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh) but the critics and the audience disliked the movie and it. But Salma also starred in critically acclaimed movies like "No One Writes to the Colonel" which won the Latin American Cinema Award at the Sundance Film Festival. "Dogma," in which Salma played a heavenly muse, was controversial but successful. Salma has become an institution of style in Hollywood. Salma in addition to acting and producing, Salma has modeled for fashion magazine and is a spokeswoman for the Revlon Initiative Against Breast Cancer. She took part in the USO action to support peace and stability in Kosovo.
In 2000 appeared in several movies. Mike Figgis' experimental "Time Code" which was shot digitally with no editing at all was applauded by critics and proved Salma's talent. Her first Spanish movie, "La Gran Vida," premiered in Spain. She also had a brief cameo in Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic.” In October 2000 she returned to Mexico to film "In The Time Of The Butterflies", which is based on the book by Julia Alvarez. Salma also starred in the comedy "Chain of Fools" starring Steve Zahn, Jeff Goldblum and Lara Flynn Boyle. In February 2001 Salma teamed up again with "Time Code" director Mike Figgis to star in his latest project "Hotel". The movie premiered at the 2001 Venice Film Festival.
This fall Salma's pet project 'Frida' was released. She portrays the life of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. It took Salma 6 years to convince production companies to invest in this project. The movie is directed by Julie Taymor and has an impressive cast with Alfred Molina, Geoffrey Rush, Edward Norton, Ashley Judd and Antonio Banderas.
In 2003 the third part of Robert Rodriguez's 'El Mariachi' trilogy,"Once
Upon a Time in Mexico," is released. It reunites the team of 1995's
"Desperado" Antonio Banderas as the mariachi and Salma Hayek
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