Salma Hayek: It’s racism to be shocked that ‘this Mexican ended in the life that she has’


Salma Hayek covers the April issue of Town & Country Magazine. I honestly saw some of the pull quotes without context and I was all “give me a f–king break, Salma,” but in context, she’s actually not bad at all. Salma can sometimes come across as very full of herself, but guess what? She’s a beautiful woman married to a billionaire. “Being full of herself” is pretty standard, I would think. Salma covers this magazine to promote her latest film, The Hummingbird Project, but she mostly chats about her life these days. Some highlights:

On her character in The Hummingbird Project: “They’re rare. And if you’re Mexican they’re practically nonexistent.”

On the joys and struggles of Instagram: “Funnily enough, I have 8.6 million followers…doing it on my own! I remember my first Boomerang. I did it, but it was without my head, and I got so frustrated I just posted it. I said, ‘Sorry, guys. I tried but I really can’t get it.’”

On her husband François-Henri Pinault and what she keeps private: “[Pinault] is the best husband in the world. I get to be who I am with him, and I don’t feel that somebody tries to limit me. I’m not going to tell you [how we met]. It’s such a romantic, amazing story, but it is mine. I don’t want to vulgarize it by making it into a story to make myself interesting.”

On those who were surprised when she married Pinault: “A lot of people are very shocked that I married who I married. And some people are even intimidated now by me. But it’s another way of showing racism. They can’t believe this Mexican ended up in the life that she has, and they’re uncomfortable around me.”

On Harvey Weinstein’s discrediting her story following her 2017 New York Times article: “There is a theory that women of color are easy to discredit.”

On becoming a mother at age 41: “I think I’m a better mother because I had her [Valentina] later. But I do get tired, I’m not going to lie.”

On plastic surgery: “I haven’t done an-y-thing. I don’t know how to explain it.” Does she, I ask desperately, drink a lot of water? Hayek shrugs. “Sometimes I drink a lot, some days I don’t.”

[From Town & Country]

“A lot of people are very shocked that I married who I married. And some people are even intimidated now by me. But it’s another way of showing racism. They can’t believe this Mexican ended up in the life that she has, and they’re uncomfortable around me.” True or no? I wasn’t surprised that Salma Hayek ended up married to a billionaire, I was surprised that she ended up with that particular billionaire. And yes, I think part of it was that I didn’t see her, at that time, being the kind of woman who would pick up and move to Paris to marry a Frenchman. Is that racist? Or was it because I was used to seeing her with Ed Norton, and I always kind of thought she’d end up with another actor, someone from the Hollywood community? It’s an interesting conversation to have, and I bet there were a lot of people who were like “WTF, a Mexican actress marrying a French billionaire?” and there was a lot of racism to it.

And yes, it was gross that Harvey Weinstein went out of his way to attempt to discredit Salma and Lupita Nyong’o in particular. It was racial/racist.


Photos courtesy of Victor Demarchelier for Town & Country, sent from a promotional T&C email.

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55 Responses to “Salma Hayek: It’s racism to be shocked that ‘this Mexican ended in the life that she has’”

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  1. tempest prognosticator says:

    Weinstein is a pig. Racism sucks. Salma is gorgeous.

    • minx says:

      She is gorgeous, and I guess she doesn’t consider having a nose job plastic surgery. She’s had at least one, why lie? The pictures are there.

      • Sunnee says:

        I don’t think she’s had a nose job. Maybe some fillers now that she’s older but I think she looks exactly the same as when she was young

      • minx says:

        It’s a well done procedure on her.

      • Stella Alpina says:

        Yup, she had a nose job. Her surgeon was good – nose #2 suits her face.

        I think she also a boob job before she worked in the U.S. She wasn’t so busty and didn’t show cleavage during her telenovela days:

        Man, I’m tired of these celebrities pretending that they are all-natural. So much fiction used to sell a facade. “Gosh, genetics, skin care, and good habits are the reason why I look this way.” Like Cindy and her “revolutionary” melon extract that supposedly keeps her youthful. Pffft!

        There’s a glaring lack of authenticity in Hollywood and it’s always been that way. It’s one thing to keep silent about cosmetic enhancements. It’s another to flat out lie when asked about it. Woman, we’ve got eyes. There are enough photos that contradict your claims.

        Salma at last year’s Oscars, without Photoshop:

  2. noway says:

    It’s weird. I don’t disagree with what she said, but it still comes across bad and entitled. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there is just something about the tone. Now as far as Weinstein, she’s right plus he’s trying anything to help even a tiny bit with his public image. Unfortunately, there is a portion of society who diminishes black and hispanic women’s story more than others, so aside from his racism, I think he also thinks it might work. Unfortunately he might be right, but I don’t think he is though. Hopefully he’s not.

    • Diplomanatee says:

      I’m Mexican and I agree. I do not doubt she’s encountered racism from a few people, and I’m sure that quote will make a lot of people reflect on their own racism and that’s great, buuut I also think she’s making the situation seem grander than it really is. If she identifies as a WOC now, more power to her, but… I also find it weird. Just saw a relative of hers recently, btw.

      • JustSayin' says:

        If she’s not a WOC, what is she? White??
        I thought she was mestizo or some sort of mix with asian and NA.
        There are more races in the world than black and white you know….I think sometimes people forget.
        In any case, people treat you by the way you look. Salma doesn’t look WASP or even germanic, nordic or anglo. So I can see why she has experienced racism. Where I am from she would be seen as ‘brown’.

      • Mumbles says:

        A few Sundances ago, she hosted some sort of “Women in Hollywood” lunch in which she proceeded to shut down Jessica Williams’s point that black women face not only the same issues as women in general, but even worse ones as black women in particular. Salma kept trying to dismiss her points and shut her up. The Hollywood Reporter didn’t great article on it worth reading. Since then I’ve always taken Salma with a huge grain of salt.

      • maxine ducamp says:

        deleted because it was incorrect and there is a more detailed post about her ethnicity below.

    • Theflint says:

      “there is just something about the tone.” – Maybe because she seems to be assuming marrying a rich guy and being rich is having “made it.” Pretty superficial take on life.

    • lboogi says:

      Doesn’t she come from a very wealthy family? I feel like I read that somewhere

      • Theflint says:

        lboogi, yes, from a relatively wealthy family (her dad was a business owner) in Mexico but it wouldn’t have been anything close to the scale of her husband’s empire, otherwise we’d have heard about that business long ago. 🙂

  3. Beach Dreams says:

    It’s also racism to discredit/speak over a black woman’s experiences on discrimination in the industry and to tell black men that them having nice things is harming people in Africa. But Salma never seemed like the type to have any self awareness anyway.

    • Wilma says:

      I’ll never forget the way she treated Jessica Williams. It was so awful.

    • topsy says:

      Salma Hayek is as Mexican as Lupita Nyong’o, who was also born in Mexico.

      Hayek uses the ‘Mexican’ card when she wants to play victim, but she has no problem in flinging her White privilege around when it comes to dealing with other people of colour, especially Black women.

      I have to admit that I was surprised when I heard that the head of LVMH had married her. Not because he married a Mexican, but because he married Salma Hayek. I thought that a man like that would have better taste. But I thought the same about Edward Norton.

      • SK says:


        Okay, so Salma’s father was of Christian Lebanese stock (Hayek is a Lebanese name) but both of her paternal grandparents were themselves born in Mexico as was her father and they were all Mexican citizens. Her maternal grandparents were Spanish apparently although sometimes they are listed as Spanish/Mexican so there could be some Mexican in there too. Salma’s mother is a Mexican citizen. Salma grew up and lived in Mexico and Spanish is her first language. Apart from two years of boarding school in Louisiana, she lived in Mexico until she left as an adult for career reasons.

        Lupita was born in Mexico to Kenyan parents while her father was working there. She stayed there less than a year – she was raised in Kenya. She then spent 7 months at age 16 in Mexico to learn Spanish. She does have dual citizenship.

        However, it is not quite the same thing – I was born overseas (ex-pat parents there for work) and am eligible for dual citizenship but that doesn’t make me equally the nationality of the country I was born in and left as a toddler with the one where my heritage is from and where I grew up. I doubt that Lupita thinks she’s as Mexican as Salma.

        I do think that Salma plays up the Mexican stereotypes when it suits her despite her mixed ethnicity. I’m sure she suffered from stereotypes throughout her life; but she hasn’t been great at recognising that she is still a pretty pale-skinned woman. I guess technically she is Semitic-Caucasian mostly with possibly some other elements (due to Spain’s history there are plenty of Spaniards who have Arabic and moorish heritage). She certainly wouldn’t have suffered the same issues as indigenous Mexican women or true WOC from Mexico.

  4. murderlica says:

    Wait, isn’t her Mexican family quite wealthy? Like oil-rich?

    • Mia4s says:

      Her family was very well off, but I suppose that goes to her point too. There does still seem to still be a fair number of people that are surprised that Mexicans are not all drug dealers, housekeepers, or struggling migrant workers. And yeah, that’s prejudice. And ignorance. Hell, I mean for starters just google Carlos Slim, he’s richer than Bloomberg and Zuckerberg.

      • thaliasghost says:

        I never understand that reasoning. Part of the problem of Mexico is the unequality and the rich having no interest in changing that. They prefer poor people risking their life trying to make a better life for themselves instead of building a more equal socitey.

    • Desolee says:

      Yes and her dad is arab not Mexican also, right?
      People were mildly surprised becuase she’s a lot cuter than her husband. And he looked a lot older than her then. Now that she’s 50 (though looks amazing) there’s nothing especially surprising about them as a couple

      • Diplomanatee says:

        Half lebanese half mexican. And yes they’re still super wealthy and often seen in society events/magazines. And yes, Mexicans can also be super-racist agains black people because what we have is colorism, more than racism.

        Her niece is an olympic athlete, btw… just wanted to give her a shout-out 🙂

      • SK says:

        His heritage (from both parents) is Lebanese Christian – Hayek is a Lebanese name. He and his parents were all born in Mexico and are/were Mexican citizens. So they are Mexican just like people of Lebanese heritage in the USA who were born there are American. Just be careful with wording – immigrants and their children and grandchildren still count as citizens.

    • SK says:

      Her father was an oil executive but I it’s not like they own an oil company. Wealthy but not mega bucks I would guess.

  5. thaliasghost says:

    Hayek is from a very wealthy oil-rich family. Her family doesn’t have a history of working towards equality in Mexico. I’m tired of her presenting herself as such. She is from wealth, marrying into even more wealth.

    • Svea says:

      Hayak’s father is Mexican of Christian Lebanese descent. The Lebanese don’t have oil. (Lebanon has always been a trading nation and the main industry is financial services and agriculture/trees because it is not a desert.)
      In Mexico, Hayek’s father was more of an entrepreneur/businessman type with a heavy equipment company who also worked as an exexutive at an oil company as well as once ran for mayor of his town. Her mother is Mexican, an opera singer as well as talent scout.
      So they were mid to upper middle class. Well off by Mexican standards but hardly Uber Wealthy.

      • Diplomanatee says:

        Mexican here. Just saw a relative of hers at a society event. They are not upper-middle class and it’s offensive that you call them that. They’re by all means wealthy and super well connected in society circles.

  6. Flying fish says:

    Sorry, but Salma is still full of herself.

    • maisie says:

      Ah, I’ll always love her for playing the Muse in Kevin Smith’s Dogma, and for uttering this immortal line to the demon Azrael (played with his usual smirking charm by Jason Lee): “When the time came Elvis served his country. That’s why *he’s* the King, and you’re just a schmuck.” (Hey, that would be pretty good directed at Tr**p)

  7. Miss M says:

    I understand what she is saying here and unfortunately I can see it happening.
    The only thing that I can shade her husband for is that he fathered a child with Linda Evangelista and she sued him for child support.

  8. Mia says:

    This woman is so gorgeous but I haven’t liked her fashion style since the married. Unfortunately some people think woc shouldn’t have sh**.

  9. She’s a Mexican with a Lebanese father and we are very proud of her. She has the right to marry whoever she wants and she worked hard to be where she is now.

  10. Call_me_al says:

    No work done????!!!! My arse!!!!

  11. Chingona says:

    As a Mexican women who is now wealthy people are very very racist. I have had satellite installers tell me to call the owners of where I wanted the satellite placed even though I told him already, my nieghbors ask for my info as I do such a nice job on the landscaping, sod installers afraid to talk to me because the only way I could be so rich is by being with the cartel they thought. We are not seen as good enough or people just assume that we must have had to do something illegal to get to where we are. The level of racism that Mexican’s and other Central Americans face in this country is astounding and criminal.

    • Rise above says:

      @chingona I’ve had those things happen to me as well. I used to laugh it off in my early 20s. Now I just ask them why do you think like that Mr cable guy, neighbor lady etc. I let them know it’s not okay and they give me the don’t tell us to be politically correct and just relax lecture. So I tell them your idea of not being politically correct sounds like you’re ok with racism and devaluing me as a human being. Thanks for showing me your true colors. I stare them down till they awkwardly leave. And BTW when they insinuate that you must have done something illegal to get ahead just feed into their fears by smiling and winking at them and say that’s capitalism baby! There is no reasoning with absurd people.

      • Call_me_al says:

        I love your responses, especially, “Sounds like you’re ok with racism and devaluing me as a human being. Thanks for showing me your true colors. ” Sometimes the plain truth is the best way to stop a racist, narcissist, or otherwise denigrating person in his or her tracks or at least handle the situation directly and in a way that feels empowering.

    • Diplomanatee says:

      First of all, congrats on your success!!! Súper chingona!!!

      Also Mexican, and yes!!! I find it super weird that many towns in the US are still segregated, and I was given the weirdest looks for not being in “my part of town”. First time I felt it was at a convenience store in Texas and it was super uncomfortable. In Texas!!!

      Worst part is, certain South Americans who believe themselves to be “white” in the US sense of white (bless their hearts) want to copy this behavior from the US, so yeah, I’ve felt the same discrimination in South America and I’m still super baffled by it. Part of my brain wants to find it hilarious, but it’s not funny at all. I’m hyper-aware now when I travel. Really anxious sometimes.

      And in Mexico I’m considered white so I haven’t yet found the space to talk about this and being believed, heard, without someone rolling their eyes at me :s

      • Cee says:

        As someone who is white and South American, trust me, some of us are white. Latin America is a geographic region, not an ethnicity. We descend from different nations, cultures, religions and ethnicities. We do not have racism but colourism, which are two different things.

        I don’t know what the definition for white means in the US, but where I live it means someone who is descended, on all sides or at least half, from European immigrants. You can be descended from colonial times and still be white. Colourism takes root with the conquest of lands by killing native tribes, their forceful conversion to Christianity and their marginalized assimilation into mainstream society.

      • Mami says:

        You are Mexican but refer to ”South America”? I hope you aren’t taking geography lessons from Fox News. 😉
        edit: oh, I get it. SAans treat Mexicans poorly. Yup. Apologies.

  12. Rise above says:

    I know exactly what she’s talking about. Having spent a decade with a wealthy caucasian male and still getting shocked responses from strangers refusing to believe we are married. Having to produce a marriage license just to get vehicle registration renewed after getting denied twice! Getting mistaken for domestic help more times than I can remember. Having caucasian women literally shoving me out of their way insisting he must be joking that I’m his wife. His family always forgetting to mention he’s married to me as his mother wistfully remembered ex gf’s at social gatherings, out in public. It is a form of racism. People who can’t understand that haven’t been subjected to it. The strangers, family and even passing acquaintances that acted so uncomfortable after it was made crystal clear that I wasn’t the help, indeed the wife and not a joke, felt really uncomfortable and expected me to be gracious and forgiving because it was my job to put them at ease! Smh

    • Diplomanatee says:

      WOW!!! These people!

    • Theflint says:

      Shocking! Reminds me of that South Korean professor on BBC with his kids hijacking the interview – hilariously – and some people assuming his wife was the nanny. Don’t let it get you down.

  13. DS9 says:

    I have no doubt she’d experienced and continues to experience a ton of racism.

    But personally, my surprise over her marriage had nothing to do with racism and everything to do with his involvement with Linda Evangelista. I hadn’t taken Salma for a look the other way type of girl.

    I think her perspective here explains why she stayed with him through that, so she could prove she belongs.

  14. WHAT FRESH HELL says:

    Are painfully obvious breast implants no longer considered plastic surgery in her world?

    The tip of her nose looks tweaked as well, but if so, it’s good work.

    • Theflint says:

      I think her nose looks way narrower but she had that done earlier to the implants, which there’s more photographic evidence on.

  15. Karen2 says:

    She speaks up for herself but she should also have spoken against those who were so rude about Yalitza. Then her words might have traction.

  16. Theflint says:

    She had implants though, for sure. You can easily look up the before and after pics. On her face, I have no clue. She’s from a wealthy small-biz company and was wearing Chanel suits when she arrived in HW. She said she had to sell them to get by after a while though!

  17. Rebecca says:

    I was surprised by it because she is gorgeous and he – well, not so much. Also, doesn’t he have a child he has nothing to do with by his choice? I thought, “She can have anyone she wants. Why this dude?”

  18. Ctgirl says:

    I’m not shocked that she is so successful. However, what Salma never recognizes is that she comes from a very privileged background. Privilege is privilege, no matter where you’re from, and she no doubt reaped the benefits.

  19. VintageS says:

    All I ever thought when she married that guy was why? He just seemed too old and stuffy for her.