Salma Hayek was introduced to American audiences last year simmering opposite Antonio Banderas in Robert Rodriguez' Desperado. The Mexican actress, who turned down the role of Selena, is currently appearing in Fled, with Stephen Baldwin and Laurence Fishburne. She was interviewed over coffee and dessert by Thomas Mournian.
What was your initial reaction when you heard that Los Angeles Magazine wanted to cover you in whipped cream?
I was very excited. I thought I was going to be naked, so I asked the photographer if I could wear a cake for a hat.
Was this the first time you'd been slathered in whipped cream?
No, but it's the first time I got pictures.
What's your second-favorite way to use whipped cream?
I really like it on hot chocolate.
What's your favorite American food?
Favorite Mexican dish?
Chiles en hogada. It's like a chile relleno but with no cheese. Instead of a poblano chile, you use bell peppers. They can be stuffed with things like beef, nuts, apples, olives, raisins just about anything and then dipped in egg batter, fried and doused with tomato sauce.
Do you have a favorite eating scene in a film?
Yes. It's from that old kids' movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I love the scene where the dirt-poor kid gets a bar of chocolate for his birthday and he shares it with his mother and grandparents, who are all really hungry. After eating the chocolate, they are all very happy.
Have you got the L.A. obsession for working out?
No! That's the one part of American culture I hate. The concept of going into a room full of people who are sweating and inhaling their sweat while I'm painfully driving myself into exhaustion . . . I don't understand it. I walk on the beach or ride a bicycle or jump around my house, but I will not participate in that collective hysteria.
How long have you been in L.A.?
About five years.
What was the toughest adjustment?
Driving! What a nightmare! I didn't drive in Mexico. I was so brave in the beginning, saying, "I'm going to be a self-sufficient woman now." First I bought a stick shift that lasted two days. Then I got an automatic but I didn't ever know where I was going, so I got a car phone. My bill on that phone was so outrageous! And I was afraid to go anywhere because I was totally paranoid about cops my friends had told me about Beverly Hills cops. I was always so lost . . . I would get on the phone and drive my friends crazy. I would stay on the line the whole time because I'd get so lost and always at the wrong places. I'd be on the phone, crying for hours in East L.A., crying for hours in South-Central. I was so afraid to open my window and ask, "How do you get to Beverly Hills?" One time, I was going to Santa Monica, and I drove for hours. They told me to get on the freeway, and of course, I stayed on the freeway. I called my friend and said, "I see a sign on the hill that says MONTEREY . . ." I had to stop the car and ask someone, "How do I get to Burbank from San Francisco?"