You probably know her as one of Hollywood’s most exquisite lead actresses, but Salma Hayek is more than just an on-screen talent. She’s an entrepreneur, philanthropist, feminist, and role model. She’s a modern-day Renaissance woman, if you will. And over the past decade, she’s turned beauty into a business.
From Actress to Mogul
Born in 1966 to a wealthy businessman in the oil boomtown of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, Hayek had the sort of childhood few have the opportunity to experience. She’s the first to admit that she and her brother were “spoiled rotten” by her father and mother, who was an opera singer.
At age 12, Hayek went to a screening of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory at a local movie theater and decided that she wanted to be an actress. Her parents sent her to an acting academy in New Orleans, where she was quickly expelled for pulling pranks on the nuns. Thankfully, her parents gave her another chance and enrolled her at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. And it was there that her career propagated.
In 1989, Hayek landed the lead role in Teresa, one of the top soap operas in Mexico. From there, she starred in a handful of smaller flicks – often relegated to the role of mistress, prostitute, or love interest. But she eventually got connected with the right people – people who saw her potential – and landed roles alongside stars like Antonio Banderas, George Clooney, and Matthew Perry. And before long, she became the star – a role she’s never taken for granted.
Despite an impressive credit list, 17 Oscar nominations, an Oscar trophy, and a slew of other awards, Hayek has never been satisfied with just being a beautiful actress. In fact, she’s on a mission to empower other women to become even more beautiful versions of themselves. And it’s all part of her second act as a business mogul.
Empowering Lessons From Salma Hayek
While she has her hands in several business ventures, her partnership with Juice Generation founder Eric Helms is one of her most notable endeavors. The two recently connected to create Blend it Yourself, a subscription service that gives customers all of the fresh ingredients they need to make organic smoothies. But there’s a twist! They can also be used to make beauty-generating face masks.
“I’ve been using these recipes myself for years,” Hayek said when the service first launched. Her decision to do so was rooted in the discovery that “beauty is born when we nourish our bodies with ingredients found in nature.”
This is the second project that Hayek and Helms have worked on together. In 2008, they partnered on a business known as Cooler Cleanse, a home-delivery juicing program designed to make health and wellness accessible to more people.
But that’s just the start of Hayek’s health and wellness journey. She’s a living, breathing example of what it looks like to empower women through words and actions. Here are just a few of the empowering lessons and movements she’s committed to:
1. Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin
Hayek sells skincare products, but she’s not on board with all of the fillers, cosmetic procedures, and Botox that her peers in Hollywood rely on. She’s much more focused on embracing your natural self and being kind to your skin. Hayek is even known to post makeup-less pictures to her Instagram from time to time.
“Normally, when you don’t wear makeup, it’s because you’re in a situation where you don’t feel the pressure to look your best,” she says. “There’s a sense of just being present without needing to impress anyone.”
Hayek isn’t afraid to go against the grain and, as a result, has developed a loyal following of independent women who are embracing who they are.
2. Age is Only a Number
Hayek once told The New York Times that she doesn’t color her hair – something that caused a lot of people to raise their eyebrows and ask, why?
“It’s my natural color, and it’s my natural white hairs,” Hayek told the newspaper. “One of the reasons I don’t dye my hair is because I don’t have the patience to sit through it. I don’t want to spend what’s left of my youth pretending I’m younger and then not enjoying life.”
Speaking of enjoying life, Hayek is redefining what it looks like for women to embrace who they are – even when it means running contrary to the American image of what women are supposed to look like.
“When I was a little girl, kids used to pick on me because I was short, skinny, and really dark from always being in the sun. Later, when I got my curves, I was self-conscious,”Hayek wrote in an op-ed for Marie Claire. “But on a trip to Europe one summer, I became aware of the power of the color and the curves. I still didn’t think I was beautiful, but when I went to college, the guys liked my personality, which started giving me confidence.”
3. “Feminism” Isn’t a Bad Word
Hayek doesn’t shy away from calling herself a feminist, even when it rubs many people the wrong way. She believes that feminism is about elevating the status of women – not necessarily suppressing any other gender or cause.
”I am a feminist because I love women and I am ready to fight for women. I am a feminist because I am proud to be a woman, and I am passionate about making the world a better place for women,” Hayek explains. “I am a feminist because a lot of amazing women have made me the woman I am today. I am inspired by women every day, as friends and as colleagues.”
Beauty and Empowerment Collide
There may never be a better example of beauty and empowerment in a single Hollywood celebrity. But perhaps that’s because Hayek rejects the idea of being a celebrity. Instead, she sees herself as a beautiful and empowered individual whose mission it is to empower others to live their best lives today. And no matter who you are, that’s an important and relevant message that resonates now more than ever.