Not that she’s let this stop her. At all. Today, at 51 (!!!) she is as drop-dead as she was 30 years ago, more outspoken and irreverent, and yes, still smart.
Let’s look at her resume – remember when she totally held her own opposite Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock (thanks to the brilliant Tina Fey)? By the way, that pairing was such a hit that the two are starring in a movie together called Drunk Parents.
Who remembers that she produced and starred in Frida, which won TWO OSCARS! And, that her production company Ventanarosa brought Ugly Betty to America.
She is regularly listed on Hollywood’s Power Women roster and one of Hollywoods biggest ball breakers, Harvey Weinstein called her a “ball breaker“.
Earlier this year, Rolling Stone called her performance in Beatriz At Dinner “the performance of her career”.
She’s a bonafide Boss Lady.
We could take a page from her stance on sexism and it’s evil twin ageism. “We are the generation that said, ‘We’re not going away at 30,’” she said to uproarious applause as she received an award for her charity work, and laid some harsh truth on Hollywood. “They cannot ignore us anymore.”
It might seem trivial, but, Salma’s (among other’s) popping up in #nomakeup selfies have a role. For one, hello??? um, I’m pretty excited to see a 51 year old woman look like this. Secondly, after 40, women tend to go either one of two ways – ‘what the hell, I give up’ and stop caring, or ‘botox and full make-up all the time’ to hide the effects of aging. We need to show more of our real faces, everyday faces. We don’t need to be perfect. We do need to be seen. (Trust me, I realize most of us don’t look like Salma Hayek, but still. And, PS a lot of you look amazing.)
And, for a bonus shot of over-forty natural beauty, here are Salma and Penelope Cruz.
But, there’s one area that’s hard to completely get a grasp on with Salma: feminism. First she said she isn’t one, (what??) then, thankfully, she turned it around and she now says she is, “I am a feminist because I love women and I am ready to fight for women. I am a feminist because I am proud to be a woman, and I am passionate about making the world a better place for women. I am a feminist because a lot of amazing women have made me the woman I am today. I am inspired by women every day, as friends and as colleagues.”
Salma Hayek receiving award for her foundation Chime for Change.
Yet, earlier this year she had some very uncomfortable challenges for former Daily Show bad-ass Jessica Williams’ point of view at a women in hollywood roundtable (read about it here), that comes across as naive and privileged. Salma comes from privilege. An affluent upbringing, a million dollar paycheque, a billionaire husband. She exists in the 1%.
In other words, despite the trappings of a perfect life, she’s not perfect.
The important lesson here is that it hasn’t stopped her, and it needn’t be a roadblock to gleaning inspiration. Too often women wait until some BS version of perfection has been attained before we are willing to use our voices. Our plan is that once we have it completely figured out, polished and practiced, then we’ll step out. It’s a losing game. It’s been shown time and again in the workplace and in life, we fear judgment, being ostracized, looking stupid.
This is a result of centuries of inequality and disenfranchisement, NOT, because women are weak or incapable. It’s a deeply ingrained habit. But, a habit that will only change as we exercise our willingness to choose using our voice over waiting on misguided perfection. And, its important we cheer each other on, and, chill out if a woman says or does something that isn’t perfect.
Happy Birthday, Salma. You make 51 look good, and not just because you’re hot.
Related: Sheryl Sandberg on how men can Lean In