After shedding her vixen skin with monumental films like Frida, Salma Hayek Pinault is no longer content being just an A-list actor. She’s producing inspiring films (Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, Septembers of Shiraz), voicing her support of Hillary Clinton, and tackling the ills of the world. Behold: Saint Salma!
Salma Hayek Pinault can sing. The five-foot-two powerhouse belts it out, Bolero-style, to "El Triste" From Marc Anthony's 2010, Iconos. Her raspy voice takes over at the Los Angeles studio where her Latina cover shoot is underway. When the music ends, she asks her assistant to replay it several times—every time, she sings along while everyone else watches. "My daughter is embarrassed when I sing,"Hayek, 49 says. "When I'm with my family, we do it all the time."
Hayek’s fans remember her singing in her films Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and, of course, in 2002’s Frida, which she produced and which was nominated for several Oscars, including one for best actress—a first for a mexicana. Hayek’s talent blossomed growing up in a vibrant, artistic home with an opera-singing mother, a furniture-designing brother, and a businessman father who shared his colorful Lebanese heritage with his children in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico.
It’s no accident, then, that the thread that runs through most of Hayek’s films—aside from her stunning beauty—is a strength and ferocity of character, whether she’s playing a tormented artist or a wily bandida. She chooses her roles with care, consistently portraying strong female characters, and funds activism projects with the lofty hope that they will open others’ minds and eradicate the world’s biggest social ills, such as AIDS and poverty. “My father was very strict about me and my brother treating everyone the same,” she says emphatically. “We’re not racist. We’re not classist. We all have problems. No one’s perfect—we all have our challenges.”
Hayek also has a practical side that guides her toward lucrative movie roles to pay for the businesses she operates, which include Ventanarosa, her production company; Nuance, a full beauty line inspired by her grandmother’s beauty regimen and natural ingredients; and Cooler Cleanse, her cleansing nutritional juices.
KEEP READING THE COVER STORY AND WATCH SALMA'S BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO >>