Salma Hayek was born on September 2, 1966, and was raised in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Her religious parents wanted to ensure that their daughter would be well-educated and sent Salma to a Louisiana boarding school when she was twelve. She earned a reputation as a prankster and eventually, the boarding school sent her home. Salma was sent to Houston to live with her aunt until the age of 17. Once a college student in Mexico City (majoring in international relations studies), Salma finally decided to dropout (much to her parents' chagrin) to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an actress.

Salma started out doing local theater, including a role as the female lead in Aladdin and His Marvelous Lamp. Theater work led to commercials, which led to a part on a popular daytime soap called Nuevo Amanecer. Salma was considered a goddess in Mexico for her role as Teresa, but this was not enough for this ambitious beauty who had set her sights on something more: Hollywood U.S.A. Salma moved to Los Angeles in 1991. She spent the next 18 months taking English lessons while perfecting her acting skills with a drama teacher. Although Hayek spent four months auditioning for a role that finally went to another actress, the director cast her in a smaller role in the film so that she could become a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Her big break had finally arrived, and it was mostly thanks to her appearance on a Spanish-language cable talk show (with host Paul Rodriguez). Director Robert Rodriguez (no relation) caught Hayek's appearance, and knew he had to cast her as Antonio Banderas' love interest in the sequel to his successful film El Mariachi, 1995's Desperado.

Roles in Fair Game and Fled did not do the actress justice, but with Salma Hayek web sites exploding all over cyberspace and roles pouring in, audiences north of the border were beginning to discover the talent and beauty of Salma Hayek. She was cast in From Dusk 'Til Dawn (directed by Robert Rodriguez) with George Clooney and in the 1997 comedy Fools Rush In, co-starring Matthew Perry, in her first lead role. That same year, Hayek charmed audiences with her role as Esmeralda in a TNT rendition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She was no stranger to the role, as she portrayed Esmeralda in Disney's Spanish version of the film. Hayek's film repertoire only continued to expand, with a role as a coke-sniffing dancer in 54, a tribute to the popular 70's nightclub of the same name. She also starred in the controversial Dogma, co-starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck; and in the biopic Frida in the title role (she also helped produce the movie). She will next be seen in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and the sequel to Desperado, Once Upon A Time in Mexico.