Today actress Salma Hayek celebrates her 50th birthday!
Like many in the world, I first became familiar with her through her breakout role in Desperado, although the role that really stood out from those early years was From Dusk til Dawn where she portrays the vampire queen Santánico Pandemonium. This was a breathtaking performance that explored the nature of the erotic, power and terror. All told, she actually doesn't have that much screen time or dialogue, but in that performance she conveyed a lot with very little to work with.
Since then, she's had an accomplished career with remarkable range from comedies to action adventures like Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Desperado. Artistically, her greatest contribution so far outside of genre work has been Frida, an unflinching biography of artist Frida Kahlo.
As they note over at the IMDB: "...Salma Hayek was born on September 2, 1966, in the oil boomtown of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Hayek has freely admitted that she and her brother, Sami, were spoiled rotten by her well-to-do businessman father, Sami Hayek Dominguez, and her opera-singing mother, Diana Jiménez Medina. Her father is of Lebanese descent and her mother is of Mexican/Spanish ancestry. After having seen Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) in a local movie theatre, Salma decided she wanted to become an actress. At 12, she was sent to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she pulled pranks on the nuns by setting their clocks back three hours. She was soon expelled. Only after attending Mexico City's Universidad Iberoamericana did she feel ready to pursue acting seriously."
She's broken a lot of ground for Latinas in the US, both in the arts and society. I look forward to her next projects ahead.