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Salma Hayek Was Once Considered Too Sexy for Hollywood

Salma Hayek is one of the biggest stars of the last several decades. She’s managed to build a lengthy career full of a huge variety of performances. She’s been nominated for an Oscar (for her work in the movie Frida) and has become a reliable presence in comedy films and TV shows. And yet, she was almost denied the chance to spread her wings and show off her talents. Early in her career, Salma was considered simply the ‘sexy’ type who was on a project primarily for her looks. And while she certainly thrived in roles like these, since she’s a gorgeous and sexy person, they began to be incredibly limiting to her career’s long term survival. In this video, we get into the details of how Salma’s career started off in this state of being pigeonholed, but how ultimately she’s managed to break free from the stereotype, and turn into one fo the biggest stars around. We’ll also take a look at her long time marriage to a billionaire, her traumatic experiences at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, and more. So stay tuned, as Facts Verse Presents: Salma Hayek was Once Considered Too Sexy for Hollywood

Salma’s Early Hollywood Days

Salma got her start in the sexy action flick, Desperado, alongside Antonio Banderas. Almost overnight, she became a sensation. Audiences loved her beauty and the way she popped on screen. But, for better or for worse, this is the way she was looked at for many years after that. Typecasting is a reality for most successful actors and actresses, and Salma’s path was no different. She found herself suddenly being cast only as the sexy vixen types. And while she was grateful for the work, it wasn’t helping her career in the long term. Nor was it allowing people to see her for the talented, layered, and funny actress that she is. In From Dusk Till Dawn, she played a stripper – notably one who had a snake draped around her. The image was fairly indelible for fans of the movie and the actress. But it meant that in the period after the movie came out, she was offered stripper roles over and over. She also started landing on every magazine and website’s list of “Sexiest Women” and landed roles with character names that were as sexy as the characters themselves, like Bella Flores and Kitty Softpaws. And to an extent, Salma helped cultivate this dilemma. She admitted that early on, she felt that the only way she could combat the inherent racism of Hollywood was to give in to some of its sexism. She felt that if she could keep audiences turned on by her physically, there would be less focused on her ethnicity or her accent.

Salma’s career was going incredibly well in certain ways. And yet she wasn’t being given any opportunities to branch out and show off her actual skills.

She actually credits Adam Sandler, of all people, as being the one who helped her break out of the mold of her ‘sexy’ typecasting. She said she had always wanted to do comedies, but had never been offered a part in one. That changed when Sandler cast her in the movie “Grown Ups”. That allowed audiences and execs in Hollywood to see the range she possessed, and that she was a bankable star in more than simply eye candy level roles.

Her Billionaire Husband

Hayek has been happily married to her husband, French billionaire François-Henri Pinault, since 2009, having met him in 2006. In fact, her legal name is actually Salma Hayek Pinault. And despite the fact that the two have been madly in love for almost two decades now, there are some who question her motives for marrying him. There are whispers, and sometimes outright accusations that she married him for his money. But Salma has tried to ignore or look past these accusations. To her, he’s a charming, handsome, and talented man, whom she thinks is a tremendous human being. In an interview, she lamented the fact that people assume that any person who makes a tremendous amount of money must naturally be a terrible person. But she said that her Pinault’s qualities as a man far outweigh his wealth. In an interview on Dax Shepard’s podcast, Salma talked about having those same misconceptions about uber rich people too. But that as soon as she met her future husband, those preconceptions melted away. She finds it insulting to her and her husband that anyone would presume that she simply married him for his money.

Pinault started a French fashion company called Kering, building it up from scratch before later purchasing major companies like Gucci and Balenciaga. He and Hayek have a daughter named Valentina, and by all accounts are an incredibly happy family.

Her Essay About Harvey

In 2017, Salma published an editorial in the New York Times about her traumatic experiences dealing with disgraced movie producer, Harvey Weinstein. Her story lined up with so many other horrible accounts of his awful behavior. She initially brought her film Frida to Harvey at Miramax, and was initially excited to work with him. His reputation in Hollywood was, at the least, that his company produced good movies that did well both at the box office and in awards season. It seems that, like so many people, Salma was unaware at the time of his predatory and inappropriate behavior towards women in the industry.

In the editorial, she wrote about how she was so initially thrilled that Harvey would be producing the project. But that her excitement very quickly faded away into outright dread. She soon had to constantly defend herself against his unwanted advances. Harvey would show up at odd hours looking to hook up, and would follow her from hotel to hotel, even to sets of other movies he wasn’t involved with. Wrote Salma, she had to constantly tell him no: “No to me taking a shower with him. No to letting him watch me take a shower. No to letting him give me a massage. No to letting a naked friend of his give me a massage. No to letting him give me oral sex. No to my getting naked with another woman.”

In addition to all the pressure Harvey was giving her, he apparently was also threatening in other ways. She wrote that he even threatened to kill her. And that she’s pretty sure the only reason he didn’t rape her was because of mutual friendships with people like director Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Harvey also threatened to shut down the movie if she didn’t add in a lesbian love scene. Salma also admitted to having a sort of Stockholm syndrome – where hostages end up taking the side of their captors – during the making of Frida. She got wrapped up in the hope of being seen as an artist, that she allowed Harvey to keep making demands on her, such as full frontal nudity. She admits to being unable to stop throwing up before shooting these scenes, and having to take a tranquilizer just to be able to film.

And while the movie went on to garner 6 Oscar nominations and two wins, her relationship with Harvey and Miramax was severed because of Salma’s rejections of Harvey’s predatory behavior.

Another Difficult Love Scene

Salma admitted to having difficulty with the love scenes in another famous movie, but for entirely different reasons. Salma was 27 years old, but was new to the entertainment business. So she hadn’t really filmed a love scene in a major picture before. Then she booked her lead role in the movie Desperado. And when she read the original script, it didn’t call for one. However, the studio decided that there was such great chemistry between her and star Antonio Banderas, that the movie needed to have such a scene between the two. This sent Salma into a nervous tailspin. She felt like she didn’t know if she could ever film a scene like that, despite it being opposite her friend Antonio. She had made a point of saying that Antonio was a true gentleman the entire time, and her hesitation had nothing to do with him. But rather, it was just a lot to handle. For many actors and actresses, the thought of having to be naked or semi-naked and seen writhing around in bed with someone isn’t a situation they want millions of people to see. And yet, it often goes with the territory for the leads in romantic movies.

Salma said that she was thrown by how much it wasn’t a big deal for Antonio. This made her feel even more self conscious, and she started sobbing before the cameras rolled. She wisely asked for a closed set, meaning it was only her, Antonio, director Robert Rodriguez, and Rodriguez’s wife at the time, producer Elizabeth Avellán. That was certainly helpful for Salma to calm her unease at the situation, but it was still incredibly difficult. Ultimately they got it filmed, though Salma admitted to constantly putting a towel over her body that they’d rip off just before the camera rolled. And the final product reflected her angst at these moments. They had to chop up the love scene, somewhat awkwardly, because Salma would only be able to stay in character for moments at a time.

Clearly, Salma has been able to craft a lengthy career filled with incredible performances and fantastic projects. But it’s a fascinating tale of someone who had to overcome the danger of being typecast, and in particular being almost TOO attractive to be taken seriously in Hollywood. Thankfully she was able to stop this process and thrive in all sorts of ways.

Now it’s time to hear from you? Did you know about Salma’s traumatic experiences with the predatory behavior of disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein? Let us know in the comments section below!

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