Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek was born Sept. 2, 1966, in Veracruz, Mexico, to a Mexican mother and a Lebanese father. She was a superstar of Latin American soap operas but dreamed of American stardom. In Hollywood, she found roles for Latino actresses scarce, but she persevered, making her U.S. debut in Mi Vida Loca (1994).

Her combination of beauty and brains caught the eye of director Robert Rodriguez, who cast her opposite Antonio Banderas in Desperado and gave her a memorable dancing cameo in From Dusk Till Dawn. Fools Rush In, 54, Breaking Up and Wild Wild West did little to advance Hayek's career.

But she earned everyone's respect, and a Best Actress Oscar nomination, when she co-produced and starred in 2002's Frida as legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. In 2003, Hayek made her directing debut with Showtime's The Maldonado Miracle and appeared in the Desperado sequel, Once Upon a Time in Mexico.