WILD AND WILLING; She May Be One of Hollywood's Most Beautiful Women, but Wild Wild West Star Salma Hayek Tells IVAN WATERMAN Why She Rates Talent Higher Than Sexuality
Waterman, Ivan, The Mirror (London, England)
Latino beauty Salma Hayek is gorgeous. Not just beautiful, but absolutely breathtaking. The Mexican-born actress is 32, just 5ft 2ins tall and one of Hollywood's most promising new stars, but mention her sex symbol status and her eyes flash with anger.
"This sexuality thing is so narrow-minded," she says defiantly. "It is as if there is nothing else. Well, I am here to tell you there is."
Confirmation that there is indeed a lot more to Salma than her sensational, smouldering looks comes with the opening this week of her latest film role in Barry Sonnenfeld's comedy Wild Wild West.
"I don't sit around staring into mirrors worrying if a spot comes on my nose," she continues. "So what? OK, it is very flattering if somebody says you are one of the most beautiful women around but it is dangerous to take this stuff too seriously.
"There are thousands of us in Los Angeles. There are plenty of women much more glamorous than me, sexier than me. But are there plenty more talented than me? That is the big question. I hope not!
"What I do know is that back home they give me roles where it isn't just about my figure or my boobs. At least there, they have some imagination."
Salma has previously been making jaws drop in movies such as Desperado, Fools Rush In, the disco flick 54 and the teen horror yarn The Faculty. Fans still sweat over her snake dance with a python in the erotic drama From Dusk Till Dawn.
She says, "I was making this movie in Las Vegas and went to this strip joint with some guys and the whole place suddenly came to a standstill when I walked in.
"The strippers stopped work and asked me whether I'd do the snake dance for them. People were cheering everywhere. I told them, `No snake, no dance'. That was my only way out."
Salma is deadly proud of her work as a reluctant hooker in director Arturo Ripstein's Mexican drama No One Writes To The Colonel which was shown to critical approval at the Cannes Film Festival, and in another home- grown product Frida, a moving biography of the renowned Latin artist Frida Kahlo.
But Hollywood producers are keeping a much closer eye on how the two big celebrity-packed adventures coming your way. In Wild Wild West, she plays lip-glossed schemer Rita Escobar who has both Will Smith and Kevin Kline eating out of her dainty hand.
Our own Shakespearean icon Kenneth Branagh portrays the snarling bad guy - a mad inventor out to assassinate President Ulysses Grant in post- Civil War America - with a grand touch of British lunacy.
The special effects driven story, loosely based on the successful Sixties TV series and costing pounds 60million, is the biggest test yet of Salma's screen presence and she admits, "If this works, then I think things change for me, big! …