There are women, and then there are women. And then there is The Woman, The One who reigns supreme over all. Café au lait skin, silken raven-black hair, deep mahogany eyes, a sexy voice with a lightly accented lilt and timbre, Aphrodite reborn on Earth. She is the only woman whose striking beauty and hyper-feminized physicality is so intimidating I would be rendered utterly speechless if I ever met her. I would gladly crawl ten miles over broken glass on my hands and knees just to drink this woman’s bath water. I would chew her ABC gum. She can cut me, a big strong he-man, down to a quivering glob of ick just at the thought of her. Her mere hypnotic presence on a screen (big or small) turns me into a drooling, incoherent idiot. It's why I am madly in love with Salma Hayek.Credit: Bill G. Chambers, 2011
Before we get rolling I need you to pick up what I’m layin’ down. ¡I love the Latinas! I think they are the most beautiful women in the world. As a kid, the 1940's Mexican actress Rita Hayworth caught my eye (I mean in photos and stuff, I’m not that old). I did not know she was a Latina then, but I found out later, and it intrigued me that somewhere, deep-down, I am drawn to these women, apparently by instinct.
My first heavy-duty infatuation for any Hispanic woman was a gorgeous little number named Elizabeth Peña. She featured in a crummy little sitcom called I Married Dora in which she played a maid (gee, that’s something you didn’t see in the late 1980s much, Latin women playing maids). But Elizabeth was something else entirely – she was both cute and sexy at the same time, and she was extremely “watchable” (I wish ultimately the rest of the world appreciated her as much as I do. She’s an excellent actress who never really blew up as big as she could have). Elizabeth did movies (two of the better known are La Bamba and Jacob’s Ladder – she was the lead's girlfriend in that one). She always turned in good work. She also did some TV, most recently some Law & Order. So Elizabeth was who made me perk up and take notice of our south-of-the border sweeties (although, in truth, Elizabeth was born in the US and is of Cuban extraction, but she still counts!)
The next stop on my Latina Love/Lust List came via The George Lopez Show. I like Lopez’ stand-up, and I liked his sitcom. But I loved his wife in the show, the totally gorgeous Constance Marie. Jeez, I couldn’t get to the TV fast enough. Constance is funny, smart, and an all around babe (that show also hooked me on Masiela Luscha, but she’s Albanian, so I’ll have to rhapsodize about her some other time). And, like Elizabeth Peña, Constance Marie has featured in several movies (one of the best is probably Mi Familia – this is an outstanding film with a stellar cast). And, also like Elizabeth Peña, Constance Marie’s star hasn’t blown up yet, but there’s still time (she's kind of out of things while raising her own familia right now).
So, the upshot is this: I defy you to put together a sexier, more enticing group of women at random than I just did here, all culled from the Latina lasses that make my blood pressure rise:Credit: Bill G. Chambers, 2011
In this group of eight hotties there are three Mexicans, two Puerto Ricans, two Colombians, and one Cuban. Three of the eight were born in the US. But, come on – "hot" doesn’t even begin to describe them. [A special shout-out has to go to the mouth-watering Eva Mendes. She was supposed to be in the picture I made, but Eva has her own Twin Towers, and Sofia Vergara took up so much real estate in the pic that if I'd put Eva in, too, between the four of them they would have pushed every other woman off the page. And before anyone gets too excited and wants to point out I made a mistake by not mentioning Paz Vega or Penelope Cruz, they are Spaniards not Latinas. Both are supremely gorgeous but are disqualified from this love letter].
Of the Latinas, though, none are sexier or more beautiful to me than Mexican women. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is their Queen:
I know for a fact the Cosmos held its breath for one gloriously shining second on September 2, 1966. How do I know this, you ask? Because that’s the day Salma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez was born – the Universe had to take a step back and collect itself after the awesomeness of her Creation (hey, for the Universe to come to a grinding halt for one second is a very big deal).
For those who don’t know much about Mexico it is a hodge-podge of class structure, political turmoil, and social differences. Sort of like us here in America. Salma, however, was born into privilege in her little corner of the United States of Mexico (yes, that is its official name). Salma’s mother was an opera singer and a talent scout. Her dad was an oil company exec who ran for the mayor of their town (Coatzacoalcos) once.
I’m kind of cheating when I call Salma “Mexican”. Her dad is of Lebanese extraction although her mother is the real deal. Her name isn’t really Spanish, either – “Salma” is the Arabic word for “safe” (thanks, Dad!). Salma’s family is devoutly Catholic, and because they were loaded they were able to ship her off to the US to a Catholic boarding school (in Louisiana) when she was 12. While she was there she learned she is dyslexic (I still love her, though). Once back in her native land she went to college in Mexico City. To prove she actually has a brain Salma focused her studies on the somewhat esoteric subject of International Relations.
Salma (drop-dead gorgeous) did some modeling, then segued into acting much as many model/actresses do (having a connected talent-scout mom can’t hurt). When she was 23 she got the lead in a Mexican soap (“telenovelas”, they call ’em and these things are huge in Mexico. They’re actually catching on here in the US, too). This was 1989, and the show, Teresa, made her star shine. She did some more Mexican television and a couple of movie parts before really hitting it big in 1994 with the Mexican film, El Callejón de los Milagros (Miracle Alley). For her performance, Salma was nominated for an Ariel Award.
Broadening her horizons she moved to Los Angeles in 1991. She studied acting, but had some difficulties in her earlier career as her English was limited and her dyslexia slowed her progress. [Hey, my Spanglish ain’t so good, either!] Salma drew the attention of movie director Robert Rodriguez; he and his then wife/producer were revamping a killer Mexican movie, El Mariachi, for an American audience. Salma was given the part of Carolina opposite Antonio Banderas in the endlessly exciting Desperado (1995).
This is when this sultry Mexican maiden first entered my line of sight. I was smitten from the start. She was sexy and earthy and funny (the scene where she’s walking down the street and causes a car wreck from a distracted driver – the smirk on her face is priceless). Desperado is one of those movies (and it continues the original El Mariachi story, it does not re-tell it) I never get tired of watching. I know I’ve seen this about 87 times. Salma just blows me away with how alternately tough, sensitive, vulnerable, and comedic (when required) she is – the woman displays quite a range in this one film. And that voice – I could only imagine her purring anything in my ear (it could even be a grocery list for all I’d care, I’d just want her to say it).
And then there’s "The Body". Antonio Banderas is the luckiest man in the world in that movie. I’m surprised his wife, Melanie Griffin, didn’t snag him by the hand and high-tail it home once she saw who he’d be playing opposite. Salma had a nude love scene in this flick with Banderas – all I could think (of Antonio) was, “You lucky %&^@#$!”
So, Desperado hooked me on this steaming hunk of woman. I’m not a Quentin Tarantino fan (at least of his acting), but I love most of the movies he makes. Dusk Till Dawn has nothing to interest me but Salma. Once her snake dance in the early club scene is over, and in effect she is no longer part of the movie, I quit. I’ve seen this movie all the way through only one time. And that was the first time because I was hoping for more Salma, which I didn’t get, Quentin, you jackhole. Even now, I’ll still watch it up to Salma’s part with her erotic snake dance. Her curves are undulating (that’s a word I like to use every now and again because it sounds dirty, especially when you say it slowly -- "unnnnn-dewwww-layyyy-tinggggg". See?)
Salma’s next major role was in 1997’s romantic-comedy Fools Rush In. I thought she was adorable (and sexy) in this movie as a regular chica who gets pregnant after a one-night stand with a goober. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with her and her family meeting this gringo who impregnated her. It was a pretty decent movie over all, a small movie in many ways, but well-worth checking out (because of Salma, not Matthew Perry, her male lead). Salma also had a part in that big-budget turd based on a cruddy 1960s TV show, Wild Wild West (I don’t blame Salma because this movie blew chunks. It was just a bad idea from the start).
Salma can do goofy stuff, too (she was in one of the Spy Kids movies). She finished up 2003 in the final Desperado movie, Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Just before this, though, Salma made what is probably her best movie to date. That is Frida, an exquisitely shot and staged biopic about the life of Mexican revolutionary artist Frida Kahlo. The subject of the film is muy serioso (I had to throw in a little Texican there to spice things up).
For those not familiar with Mexico’s history it has been ravaged internally with insurrection and political upheaval for centuries. Frida Kahlo lived in a time of excruciating political and cultural changes in Mexico during the early 20th century. Her character’s struggles with her health, her relationships with her family and her mentor/lover are played very subtly by Salma. In this movie Salma is trolled up completely (rocking a uni-brow that Brooke Shields probably demanded residuals for using) but she still comes off as beautiful, not Salma Hayek beautiful, but Frida Kahlo beautiful. It was an amazing transformation and an engaging performance on her part, and I highly recommend this film (I’m not in the habit of recommending anything to anybody, but it’s Salma, and I’m not sure this would have been done as well without her). Oh, and Salma created a production company of her own in 1999, and she produced this movie herself. Chances are it would never have gotten made otherwise. It won a few awards and was nominated for a boatload more (Salma was nominated for a “Best Actress” Academy Award).
Salma can do small stuff, too. I think her most recent drool-inducing TV foray was as a home nurse on NBC's 30 Rock (as Alec Baldwin’s love interest, spread out over several episodes). Again, Salma was funny and sexy (without being over the top, I think that’s another reason I’m madly in love with her). She also brought the Colombian television series Yo Soy Betty La Fea to America as the executive producer (renamed Ugly Betty).
Salma sings, didja know that? Yup – that’s actually her voice you hear singing to Antonio Banderas in the scene with her and the guitar in Desperado (before the bad guys start blowing everything to hell). She sang a Mexican folk song in Frida, and it is her voice you hear singing over the end credits in Once Upon a time in Mexico.
In between her movies, TV, producing, singing, and directing, Salma’s been a spokesperson for Avon cosmetics, and has been the international face of many other big name fashion houses, including Cartier. She’s into international humanitarian causes. One of her biggest is for violence against women. She routinely crusades for legal changes and gave $25,000 to a battered women’s shelter in her hometown in Mexico and another $50,000 to one in Monterey, Mexico. She works with UNICEF to help fund child-care globally, and as a breast-feeding advocate (in the wake of her own daughter’s birth in 2007) in 2009 the still-lactating Salma actually breast-fed another woman’s child (the child survived the experience without drowning). This happened when she was on an African charity junket in Sierra Leone; the starving baby’s mother was likewise starving and couldn’t produce enough milk to feed her own baby (boy, I wish I were that kid!) Seriously, Salma Credit: Bill G. Chambers, 2011is obviously committed to her causes – how many lactating women do you know who would voluntarily wet-nurse a strange child? Salma gets much respect from me for that act alone.
More recently, Salma featured in a comedy, Grown Ups, playing Adam Sandler's snuggle bunny. Her best scene in this movie is when she shows up looking like...well...uh...Salma Hayek in a cut-out swimsuit, and the other wives in the movie all look like misshapen lumps. I actually like Adam Sandler, but I have to admit I was insanely jealous of his getting that close to Salma!
Speaking of insanely jealous, I still can’t get over Salma’s marriage to that dorky old-fart French billionaire industrialist who’s fabulously wealthy and has so much money and is rich and is rolling in dough, and did I mention he's wealthy? I was disappointed – I would rather have seen her married to Adam Sandler than that French guy. And, to boot, during the course of their relationship (which began in 2007) this troglodyte (have you seen this guy?) actually cheated on Salma Hayek with another model/actress and impregnated her!!!
I swear if I ever got the chance I’d punch him in the kidneys – he has the most desirable woman on the planet in his bed and he feels some compulsion to seek funsies elsewhere? François, old sock, it’s your money chicks dig – don’t kid yourself about being a stud. Salma should have left him, but they do have a daughter together, and I guess they’ll get through it. I think she deserves better than this aged, snail-eating, bidet-straddling hobgoblin who strangles on his tongue every time he speaks his hairball-coughing native language (French). [Salma's Spanish-inflected English, however, is soothing and mellifluous].
I think Salma has a very long and rich career ahead of her, especially if she commits to doing more projects of Frida's caliber. Salma’s made dozens Credit: Matt Groening/Vic Dillingerof movies, much television, and she is also hotter now than ever. ¡Muy bonito! ¡Muy caliente! She is the epitome of spicy, sexy, sultry, sensitive womanhood. That’s why I am madly in love with Salma Hayek.