During a recent visit to The Drew Barrymore Show in promoting her latest film, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, actress Salma Hayek (Frida) detailed some of the racist discrimination she has encountered during her years working in Hollywood.
The Oscar-nominated actress spoke candidly on her experience maneuvering through the industry as a Mexican actress. “I have been told over and over and over: ‘You’ll never make it in this town. You will only play a prostitute, drug dealer, wife or girlfriend, and housekeeper because there’s no other roles for you.’”
Hayek credited director Robert Rodriguez for giving her an opportunity in the 1995 action film Desperado, which launched her career.
The actress also shared more on one discussion she had with a studio executive, where they told her that she was “born on the wrong side of the border.” She says that this executive told her: “Had you been born, you know, on the right side of the border, probably you would be the biggest star in the world. But no matter how beautiful anybody thinks you are, no matter how good of an actress you are, the minute you open your mouth, the audience are just going to be reminded of their maids.”
Besides the producer’s comments being overtly racist, Hayek says she never understood why executives missed the mark on Latinos given their population in the U.S. “It’s really surprising that people that are in such high positions are so stupid,” she stated. “I was thinking, ‘There’s 40 million Latinos in this country. They really care about the money. There’s an untapped huge potential market here, and they were not seeing it.’”
It was announced this week that Hayek would receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022. Later this year, Hayek will also star in Marvel’s Eternals, directed by Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), and in House of Gucci, directed by Oscar-nominee Ridley Scott (Gladiator).
Watch the entire interview below: