Happy 51st Birthday Salma Hayek, Actress, Producer, Possible Feminist Salma Hayek, like many sexy, beautiful women, has not always been taken seriously.  I mean, how can you be sexy, show off your cleavage AND have something intelligent to say, or, make astute business decisions?

Salma Hayek Credit: FilmMagic

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.

Career Moves

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.

Feminist Blur

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





Boss Lady: Angie Koch, Organic Farmer Entrepreneurs are a complex bunch. Business is emotional because we are usually pursuing a dream, willingly, nervously pouring into it all of our resources. Staying levelheaded while maintaining passion is a balance that is tough, if not impossible to master. Add to that a physically daunting, weather dependent, male-dominated industry and you have to dig even deeper.

We need inspiration. We need role models who are getting up every day to do what needs to be done. There are some entrepreneurs we want to be like more than others, and that’s who will be profiled in this space. It’s fitting that a woman who is strong, determined, no-nonsense, and by all accounts “a rock star” is Fortyology’s inaugural Boss Lady.

Entrepreneur Stats

Age:  42
Boss Of:

Fertile Ground Farm, 100 acres of farmland in Waterloo County, Ontario Canada. She manages a farm that produces weekly vegetable boxes (aka Community Supported Agriculture) for 250 families, and operates the business as well as the tractor.

Number of chickens: 100

Angie Koch, Fertile Ground Farm Credit:Catherine Anne Miller

Career path:

I spent seven years in the Community Development field, and while I loved it, I was burning out fast. But, I was scared to quit my job. I was 32 and felt like I’d already invested 7 years. What the hell is 32 for if not starting something else?

That grip of expectation and feeling like you need to set yourself up, or,  you need to do  what others expect of you. I felt guilty having a good life. I was crying a lot, I saw the futility of my work. And, I was sick, I couldn’t digest food, was anxious. Doctors couldn’t diagnose me. The only thing making me feel awesome wass this work out in the garden. I did an internship at a farm, and jumped in with both feet. It was a major, major choice. Taking the risk and freeing myself from those expectations was what stopped me from being sick.

Passion Point:

My sense of integrity is affronted by the falseness of large-scale farming that passes itself off as people who have empathetic relationships with their animals. It makes me work harder. The responsibility is on me to take on education. I won’t be able to justify my prices if people don’t understand why what they’re buying is a different product than what’s at the market. Sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes I resent it that I have to explain.

Biggest ongoing challenge:

Maintaining energy is one of the hardest things for sure. There’s the exhaustion from physical labour. There is a multitude of small decisions.

Toughest Lesson:

Five years ago I  hit a crisis point and was burning out. I’d been farming for 6-7 yrs, 16 hours a day in the field and then admin work at night, I was surviving on cream cheese bagels and summer sausage. I had this little advisory committee made up of friends, CSA members and community members who I’d meet with for feedback and bounce ideas off them. I gathered them and said how exhausted I was. I said, I need to make 50% more money and work 75% as much. If we can’t put a plan in place, I’m done. We raised the price of CSA shares, dropped the farmers market (4am-3pm every Saturday), and it totally changed things. I don’t feel burnt out any more. There’s more money going into savings. They suggested that I hire more staff so there was more bodies carrying the work.

Handy-woman skill:

Can frame a wall in a pinch, and fix a tractor

Talent Show Skill:

Plays a mean banjo

Self-care go-to:

It’s important for me to take time to eat well. Not just healthy, but, pleasurable food. The last thing at the end of the day I want to do is make food, to make a proper meal, but, I try to take time to enjoy it at the table, not in front of the computer.  And, sleep – I need to be in bed by 9:30.  Those two things take care of 80% of the crises.

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