Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek first hit stateside cineplexes as the border town bookseller who romances Antonio Banderas' vengeful "mariachi" in "Desperado" (1995). A favorite of the film's renegade writer-director Robert Rodriguez, the former telenovela star from Mexico gained a foothold in the American movie business in independent film and as a favorite on men's magazines "Sexiest" lists. Spokesmodel work for cosmetics companies further banked on her hourglass figure and smoldering on-screen charisma, but Hayek proved to have far bigger ambitions than to be another piece of Hollywood eye candy. Among her biggest box office hits was a leading role in the Will Smith summer blockbuster "Wild Wild West" (1999), though her most acclaimed performance was her Academy Award-nominated starring role as Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in "Frida" (2002), which Hayek, as producer, worked for years to bring to the big screen. She went on to earn significant respect for executive producing the ABC comedy "Ugly Betty" (2006-10), which she helped adapt from its original format as a daily Columbian soap, and earned a Daytime Emmy for directing the family film "The Maldonado Miracle" (2003) for Showtime. Hayek valiantly tried to translate both her looks and intelligence into worthy film roles with varying degrees of success. However, it was her instincts as producer and director which earned consistent accolades. As her career matured into the 2010s, Hayek worked consistently, moving easily between voice work in animated features, acclaimed indies like "Beatriz at Dinner" (2017), comedies like "Grown Ups" (2010), and popcorn thrillers like "The Hitman's Bodyguard" (2017).