Salma Hayek Lost Out on Movie Roles Because She Is Mexican

'The Eternals'Credit: Disney
So many careers have been affected or altered because of racism. 

Salma Hayek is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. After breaking into the mainstream in Desperado, she's enjoyed a long career, with movies like The Eternals coming out soon. 

But Hayek has had to fight for every role she's gotten, especially in the early days of Hollywood. In a new Variety cover story, Hayek talks about what it's been like as a Mexican American actress in Hollywood.

She began, “I remember there were two big comedies I auditioned for the lead. Afterwards, the directors told me that I was the best audition and that I was better than who they cast and that they regretted it. But at the time, they knew the studios wouldn’t have gone for a Mexican as the lead.”

While we didn't get the titles of the comedies discussed, Hayek said, “I got a lot of satisfaction with them coming to me and telling me because I thought it was very courageous of them. And I thought it changed something. It changed something in them. It made [me think that] maybe the next generation or the next girl that comes in was going to get a better shot because of it.”

She's also faced sexism, she said.

“If you are a woman and you are in a movie that is very successful and they say you are their favorite character, they will still give all credits of the box office to the guy," she said. "They don’t count who you’re bringing into the theaters. In my case, I was already a very big star in my country. I was bringing the Latino market into the theaters. I know some of the studios knew that. But they didn’t want to accept the value of the Latino market at the time.”

Hayek's story tells a tale too familiar in Hollywood lore. Actors not only have to be amazing at their jobs, but they have to overcome so much sexism and racism in Hollywood that it's a wonder anyone can attain longevity in their careers. 

Head over to Variety to read Hayek’s story in its entirety and let us know what you think in the comments.      

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4 Comments

She is a great actress that deserves to take part in more movies.

May 27, 2021 at 6:09AM

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Amanda Emerson
Digital marketing manager
147

She ain't the only latino actor facing that issue. The percentage of latinos working in the film industry is like 3%. That's the lowest demographic next to Native Americans or pretty much any brown demographic. Her being a light skinned attractive female is a double edged sword, she faces sexism for sure, but she probably also benefited from her looks. You go to Mexico or any other Latin country and you will find the same racism here is found over there towards the darker skinned demographic unfortunately. Meanwhile in the states, every latino actor or artist is "Mexican".

May 27, 2021 at 5:33PM, Edited May 27, 5:34PM

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That's very true unfortunately. There seems to be only one minority really benefitting from Hollywood's newfound thirst for diversity, and while it's great that black people are getting more roles in films, series, commercials, and more jobs in news networks (to name a few), Hispanics are being completely ghosted. So, in essence, what we have is a new form of lack of diversity whereby only one minority group is being invited into the party and the rest are being sidelined. And it is especially egregious with the Hispanic community because, officially, Hispanics are about 18% of the population, which is by far the biggest minority (and if we take into account undocumented Hispanics, studies estimate that the number is closer to a quarter of the nation's population). And yet, we're barely visible in the mainstream media.

May 27, 2021 at 7:06PM

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Joshua
209

It's shame that things like this are still happening!

June 1, 2021 at 5:20AM

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Pete Kane
Screenwriter
154