So here’s the thing about racism: Becoming rich and famous doesn’t it make suddenly go away. In fact, even Salma Hayek still deals with it on the regular. In a recent interview with Town and Country Magazine, the Mexican actress gets real about everything from the few roles written for Latinas, to the skepticism people have around her marriage to French businessman, François-Henri Pinault.
Hayek has reached a point in her career where the roles are practically chasing her and not the other way around. She’s played every kind of character in every type of film you could think of. But Hayek knows that even today not enough film roles are written for women of color. Take her latest film for instance: The Hummingbird Project. Hayek plays a trading tycoon in the thriller that was originally written for a man. She’s the first to admit that these kinds of roles don’t come around every day.
“They’re rare,” she tells Town and Country. “And if you’re Mexican they’re practically nonexistent.” While we’ve seen a lot of progress with more and more films and series coming out with Black and Latinx protagonist —we’re still not there yet.
In the interview, Hayek even opened up about her sexual harassment experience with movie producer Harvey Weinstein and why she chose to publicly share her story in a New York Times personal essay published in 2017. She has a whole theory around why Weinstein immediately tried to discredit her and actress Lupita Nyong’o, who also shared her experience with the producer harassing her.
“There is a theory that [women] of color are easier to discredit,” Hayek said. In fact, when asked if she still experiences racism in the industry being a woman of color, Hayek responds saying “Millions.” It’s, unfortunately, something she still deals with regularly. But what’s just as upsetting is the skepticism Hayek often receives being married to White billionaire man.
“A lot of people are very shocked that I married who I married. And some people are even intimidated now by me,” she says. “But it’s another way of showing racism. They can’t believe this Mexican ended up in the life that she has, and they’re uncomfortable around me.”
Despite all the success Hayek has had, it’s mind-boggling to know that there are people out there who believe this Mexican actress should be lucky to have married a powerful and rich White man. The reality is that Hayek is a powerful and successful person herself and the lengths she’s had to take to get where she is today, is a powerful story in and of itself. Despite the barriers and the discrimination she often faces, Hayek still perseveres. Not only does she wield influence but her name has become a staple. Racist haters can hate all they want but Hayek didn’t need to marry the son of one of France’s richest men — she was already a star all on her own.