Salma Hayek is the Oscar-nominee, bold, straight forward Mexican actress in her 50s, who has been fighting for equality since she was 27 – long before she became an international celebrity. British Vogue enlisted her as a headline at “Force for Change” panel at Women of The World London on March 7. We were there and here is our chance to share with you some of the inspiring stories and lessons that she learned on her path to greatness.
“I did listen to them. And there is something important here: I learned to listen to them but not with my skin because that was very painful. I listened with my ears and with my heart. Because when you listen with your heart you don’t get hurt. Actually, your empathy shows off. And you respond with love.”
When you don’t take the status of the victim, your brain can be very creative
A very famous producer told her: You could have been the biggest star in the world if had you not been born in the wrong place. Even if you are the best and the most beautiful, when you open your mouth, you will remind them of their maids.
And then she asked: Do you know what’s the difference between a winner and a loser? How long does it get you to wake up and charging in.
“So. How many maids are in the United States? How do you take what’s getting in your way or the things that other people can see as your limitations? Some of them you have to overcome and get better. And the things that you cannot… make you who you are. How do you make it work for you?
“And then I started investigating some data. I realized that are more than 40 million Latino people in the United States. When you don’t take the status of the victim, your brain can be very creative. And so I said: I don’t want anybody’s charity. What do I have to offer that they don`t have? The truth is that 40 million Latinos represent a lot of money. We are good consumers.”
People stop being racist when they see their favorite color: green (dollars).
At an earlier point in her career, she got offered a role opposite a big star. She soon learned that she had misunderstood – it wasn’t a lead role. She wasn’t considered for the lead role because she was told that the role could never be played by a Mexican.
“I refused to take the other role (the bimbo’s role). I then told them that if they didn’t see me for the other role that I would say that they’re racist,” she said. “I was told that if I did so, I would never work again. But I was willing to take the risk.
I went and walked into a room with six men. The director asked me why I would want to humiliate myself in this way. I explained to him that I had to come and do this, not for me, but for the following generations. I am more than capable of playing the role as anyone who is a different color to me.”
“Many years later, he apologized to me,” she mentioned. “ He admitted that the movie would have done well if I had played the lead. He told me I’d taught him a lesson.”
Also, I`d like to thank him because he also thought me something. That sometimes you have to gotta go on the road, do the things with conviction, do your best. Find what it is that you have to offer instead of complaining about what they are not giving you. And that`s how you survive Hollywood when you are Mexican.
There is a hole in the heart of humanity and only women can fill it. That’s how we make that change
“I’m telling you the things that worked. You don’t wanna know how many things didn`t work. 30 years. It didn`t work if you think about the result that was expected. Today we talk about change. So, when you think of change, you don’t have to think about a destination or a result. Because change is a road: you just have to be a part of that road or shine the light on a road. Change continues to move, to transform. For me, change should always be linked to another word: evolution. “
WOW — Women of the World is a global movement celebrating women and girls, taking a frank look at the obstacles they face.
Photo credits ©GettyImages/ Salma Hayek joined Jude Kelly and Edward Enninful during Women of the World Festival at Southbank Centre.
Signed by Iulia Pascal