navigate @ newsstand
latest news & archive
articles & interviews
magazine rack
rewind 2001 2000
tv schedule

articles & interviews

Sinful Salma

Click here for exclusive pictures included in this magazine.

Interviewer: James Ryan
Magazine: GQ Vol. 66 No. 3 March 1996

Mexican actress Salma Hayek used to torment the nuns in Catholic School; now she tortures men in the movies.

GQ: Why did you leave a successful career in Mexico four years ago to come to Hollywood?

Salma: I didn't want to do soaps all my life. It's very sad-the best Mexican actors, brilliant people, they live in little tiny houses and have no money ever. So I gambled, came here and started all over again.

GQ: Who gave you your first break in America?

Salma: Allison Anders. I auditioned for the lead in MI VIDA LOCA for four months. At the end, she came up to me and said, "I'm going to give it to the other girl, but I really like you. I can give you some small parts so you can get your SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card." I said OK. The poster came out, and I was very big, and the other girls were really small. No one saw the movie, but they saw the poster.

GQ: What do you miss most about Mexico?

Salma: My family, the food, the sense of friendship and unity. I love the simplicity of the people. Here you always have to make an appointment with your friends to do something. Everything there is more spontaneous.

GQ: You convinced your parents to send you to a Louisiana boarding school at the age of 12, but you got thrown out.

Salma: I was a good Catholic girl. I loved singing in mass. But at the same time, I had this addiction for practical jokes, and the nuns were my main target.

GQ: What was the meanest prank you pulled?

Salma: One time during study hour, I asked to go to the bathroom and I sneaked into the dorms and set all their alarm clocks three hours earlier.

GQ: Were your parents strict?

Salma: They wouldn't let me wear a bikini. I would anyways.

GQ: And all the boys would follow you.

Salma: And all the boys' fathers.

GQ: You seemed to enjoy the scene in DESPERADO where you yank the bullet out of Antonio Banderas's shoulder. Do you like torturing men?

Salma: Not a lot...a little bit. I think men like to be teased, and that's one kind of torture.

GQ: As Queen of the Vampires in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, you eat Quentin Tarentino and decide to make George Clooney your slave. If you had George as a slave for a day, what would you make him do?

Salma: Rub my feet, to start with. Then make him go to all the places where I have a hard time getting my friends to go with me. And I'd make him cook for me and dress me.

GQ: You also had a tango with an eleven-and-a-half foot python. I take it you have no fear of snakes.

Salma: Fear? I had a phobia. I tried meditation, dream work, reading about the snake, what they meant in Egypt, for the Aztecs, the Toltecs, the Mayas. Then I started going to this pet shop. I would talk to this little snake, "Panchito, what a beautiful little tongue you have." I got kicked out because it would be a party every time I walked in. Then I met this producer, a Mexican-American. He told me, "You really want to get rid of your fear? Lay down. Take your shoes off." Then he went tap, tap, tap on my chakra points-I thought it was ridiculous-and then I started crying and crying. To my suprise the next time I saw a snake, I grabbed it and danced with it.

GQ: What's the origin of your name?

Salma: My father's parents are Lebanese. My mother's are Spanish.

GQ: What's the biggest misconception Americans have of Mexicans?

Salma: Mexicans or Mexican-Americans? Which are we talking about? I think Americans get confused. To them it's all brown people. People have a hard time believing I'm Mexican. I'm short, I'm brown, I have an accent-how come you're surprised?

GQ: How does a man earn your trust?

Salma: They have to show at all time that they care. I just made this movie called BREAKING UP with Russel Crowe that's about that, relationships in the '90's. Fear of commitment, abandonment.

GQ: What's wrong with relationships in the 90's?

Salma: We want to analyze absolutely everything the other person's doing, and we want to understand why he's doing it, right? You try to control everything, and it's terrible. You want to be so healthy that you're not.

GQ: And falling in love is always the unhealthiest thing you can do anyway.

Salma: Exactly. So stop analyzing.

GQ: How long has it been since you were in a relationship?

Salma: You ask me all the wrong questions. Four years.

GQ: What are you looking for in a man?

Salma: I'm a sucker for talent. I think it's the sexiest thing in the world. I'd like them to have a sense of adventure and fun. Loyalty, obviously. And some sense of humor. But I don't like the really funny ones. You always have to laugh at the jokes. It makes me nervous.

GQ: Who is the sexiest man alive?

Salma: Marlon Brando.

GQ: What's your favorite thing to do when no one else is around?

Salma: I like to smoke cigars.

GQ: Favorite part of a man's body?

Salma: The hipbone. I can die.

GQ: You mean the pelvis?

Salma: No, higher. "Pelvis" is going to sound like I'm saying the dick. Just say around the hipbone area and the neck...and the mouth...and the hands. Ask me somthing else quick or I'll keep going.

GQ: If your house were burning down, what would you save first?

Salma: Me.

GQ: What else?

Salma: I can't think of anything else. I'm a very detached person. That's why guys are afraid of me. Somebody told me I'm the biggest nightmare any man could have because it always looked and sounded like I could just walk away anytime...and I probably could.

GQ: What don't you have that you still want?

Salma: A man and a house and a baby...and a baby-sitter.