Salma Hayek is a force for change. The 53-year-old A-lister has been fighting for equality even before she earned international fame. For this reason it’s understandable that British Vogue would enlist her to headline their first ever “Forces for Change” event at the 2020 Women of the World Festival in London on Saturday, March 7. Salma opened her heart and soul on International Women’s Day eve, sharing the many trials and tribulations of her colorful career, and the inspiring lessons she’s taken away from them.
“We have to approach conflict with compassion and kindness,” Salma told Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful during their conversation. “There is a hole in the heart of humanity and only women can fill it. That’s how we make that change.” She’s always patched the hole, proving so by steering their chat into empowering waters.
“I once got offered a role opposite a big star,” the Oscar-nominee said, referencing an earlier point in her journey. “I soon learned that I had misunderstood – it wasn’t a lead role. I wasn’t considered for the lead role because I was told that the role could never be played by a Mexican.” Naturally, this did not sit well with Salma.
“I refused to take the other role. I then told them that if they didn’t see me for the other role that I would say that they’re racist,” she continued. “I was told that if I did so, I would never work again. But I was willing to take the risk.” What the trailblazer did next ran chills up our spine.
“I went and walked into a room with six men. The director asked me why I would want to humiliate myself in this way. I explained to him that I had to come and do this, not for me, but for the generations after me.” She went on to tell him that she was “just as capable of playing the role as anyone who is a different color to me.”
In the end, Salma not only did the right thing, but received full-circle satisfaction. “Years later, he apologized to me,” she added. “He admitted that the movie would have done well if I had played the lead. He told me I’d taught him a lesson.”
Salma has taught many lessons over the years on her path to greatness. The star, who was hand-picked by Meghan Markle to appear on British Vogue’s “Forces for Change” September issue, succinctly hit her point home at the event with this phrase: “The only way our country can change is through the power of women.”