Salma Hayek was told ‘you’ll never find a job here’ early in her career

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Salma Hayek is currently starring in two movies at the box office, The Eternals and House of Gucci. Not only that, Salma has now become the 2709th celebrity to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In her acceptance speech, Salma encouraged people to pursue their dreams and never give up despite the odds. Salma said that she almost gave up in the beginning of her American career. Executives told her she would never get a job in Hollywood and that she should go back to doing telenovelas. Here’s People’s writeup of that:

During her acceptance speech, Hayek encouraged others to “find something to love” as much as she has loved cinema over the years.

“If you think you aren’t good at it like I did, make yourself good at it,” the House of Gucci star told the crowd. “It doesn’t have to be the movies. Be your best at everything you do.”

“Try to be better. Try to find the joy in what you do,” she continued. “Work hard. Prepare. Don’t care what anybody says. But most importantly, don’t listen to yourself when you bring yourself down.”

The actress said a “poor man who was on the floor and was very messed up” attempted to attack her after she ignored his catcall while showing a friend around the area. Eventually, Hayek said, a pair of “gentlemen” from the Hells Angels stopped the man and escorted the women to their car.

“Every time I thought about Hollywood Boulevard, this is what I remember,” the star said at the ceremony. “The truth is that when I went home that night, I said ‘What am I doing here? Nobody wants me. I mean, I almost got killed today.’”

The Eternals actress also recalled facing racism both in both public and professional settings. Hayek recalled one studio telling her, “Why don’t you go back to the (Mexican) telenovelas? You’ll never find a job here,” which she claims happened “many times.”

[From People]

I really like Salma despite her saying some of the most facepalm things I’ve ever heard. I believe Salma when she said folks in Hollywood were racist towards her. I believe that was about her being Mexican. The fact that Hollywood executives were telling Salma to go back to where she came from during a period where Latinx women were popular aesthetically says a lot about anti-Mexican sentiment in America particularly. Remember when Catherine Zeta-Jones, a Welsh woman, played a Spanish character in The Mask of Zorro?

I also can’t believe that Salma was almost stabbed because she ignored a man’s catcalls (why are some men like this?). The beautiful thing about these anecdotes is that Salma never gave up on her dreams despite everything she’s been through. Salma comes from a very privileged background back in Mexico, but that does not mean that she did not have to work hard to get where she is now. Salma is now a household name and has done well for herself in her career. It must feel good for her to look back and see all she’s overcome.

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Photos credit: Avalon.red, Getty and Instar

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12 Responses to “Salma Hayek was told ‘you’ll never find a job here’ early in her career”

  1. Mmc says:

    I really like how South American actors are able now to play various characters while still keeping their accent. Salma and Diego Luna are prime exapmles.
    I wish something like that would finally happen with Eastern Europeans. We are still only portrayed as prostitutes and criminals, which is baffling to me in the climate we are currently in.

    • Barcelona says:

      Just a clarification, but Mexico is in North America, not South America. I think you probably mean Latin America. And I see your point about many Eastern European characters being portrayed as criminals and prostitutes in Hollywood, but Latinos and Hispanics are also still predominantly portrayed as criminals and prostitutes although the range of characters they’re allowed to portray is growing. Having said that Eastern European cinema is very interesting and compelling, and the many stories that come out of Eastern Europe are fascinating.

      • Mmc says:

        True, I meant Latin Americans, my apologies.
        I agree that the portrayal of Latinos is still largely problematic, but there is some improvement. For Eastern Europeans there is none. I don’t think I have ever seen an Eastern European woman in a Hollywood movie that wasn’t a prostitute, or if we’re very very lucky, a maid.
        And while our cinema is rich, the impact and reach Hollywood has in shaping real life perception and prejudice is huge

    • Sunny says:

      Try being a Sicilian!

      It’s impossible not to be associated with the mafia in cinema. Impossible.

  2. Fernanda says:

    This narrative of hers always rubs me the wrong way because she grew up rich in an affluent family. And this means that she lived the life similar to rich Americans given the huge economic inequality in Mexico, and other countries in Latin America for that matter. So, she while she is Mexican, she was never poor, which means that her options weren’t that terrible. So no way to compare herself to ordinary Mexicans who really have to come to the US to survive and have a better life. Other than that, I like Salma, she is a good actress, just a bit detached from reality.

    • livealot says:

      I get what you’re saying but there will always be racist obstacles for POC no matter how rich one is…especially in America and especially in this narrow field. Still don’t like Salma overall but I believe and agree with her on that point.

  3. ElleV says:

    salma hayak is in a cult so I side-eye everything coming out of her mouth now the same way i side-eye all things tom cruise – it’s too bad because she’s beautiful and cool, but i can’t take a cultist married to a billionaire seriously

  4. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    How many of us, at some point in our lives, had someone tell us we’d never………….? In my case, it wasn’t simply one aspiration either. It was several instances and regarding an alarming number of endeavors. I’m just saying. We have our stories.

  5. Lunasf17 says:

    Now I have to look up what cult she is in (I learn so much from CB comments!). She is gorgeous and seems like a decent person. Her husband always seems kind of gross but they’ve been together a long time so I guess it’s working out.

  6. Tangerinetree says:

    In an interview I read years ago, Roberto Rodriguez was scrolling tv channels and saw her in the novela “Teresa” and said – “Who is that?”, and he tracked her down and cast her in one of the leads in El Mariachi. Seriously, imo she was seriously stunningly beautiful before she altered her face/body (which everyone has the right to do).
    Another thing that must have kept her going was a time she went to a high profile LA restaurant full of A-list people in the industry, and all the latino staff flipped out – wait staff, chefs, valets, everyone. Her table was surrounded and she received the best service of the night. When she was ready to leave, valet brought her car out ahead of all others waiting. Apparently the customers were saying, “Who the hell Is she?” I have always loved that story.

  7. Skatrine says:

    I honestly thought Catherine Zeta-Jones was half Latina, maybe because Zeta means Z in Spanish

  8. Kay says:

    The issue with Salma is she comes across as incredibly arrogant. During the Eternals interviews she would always interrupt everyone else and come across as very rude and has no self awareness. No doubt she has a difficult time in Hollywood, but her behaviour seems to be putting undermining other actors.

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