In an exclusive interview with, the actress talks about motherhood and how she's helping kids in developing countries

Por Isis Sauceda / Chicago
Updated Abril 08, 2008
Salma Hayek
Credit: cortesía Pampers

Yesterday, actress and producer Salma Hayek joined Pampers to launch “One Package = One Vaccine,” a campaign part of a global UNICEF initiative working to provide tetanus vaccinations for children in developing countries. With tears in her eyes and her voice on the verge of cracking, the new mom talked about her concern for the well-being of children around the world.

The 42-year-old Mexican actress – who is the mother of 7-month-old Valentina Paloma – explained that despite all of her professional accomplishments, the best thing that she's ever done is become a mom, a role that has undoubtedly led her to help children in need.

“I am inspired by the ‘One Pack = One Vaccine' program. Tetanus is a terrible disease that is completely avoidable when women of child-bearing age are vaccinated,” Hayek said at the launch of the campaign. “Through this program, parents have the power to help supply much-needed vaccines through UNICEF simply by purchasing a pack of Pampers. I'm honored to join Pampers and UNICEF in this life-saving campaign.”

What lesson has your daughter, Valentina Paloma, taught you?
Every day I learn from her. I can't think of just one thing to tell you.

Any particular lesson you can share with us?
I can't remember one. There are so many that my head is full of them – she's very charming. She makes me laugh all the time. I'll tell you what lesson she has taught me: my daughter laughs all day and all night, even when she's sleeping, she's laughing. She's always in a good mood. She has two little teeth and she shows them to you. She's always laughing, and since she laughs so beautifully, it's contagious. That's why I now laugh more than I used to.

How has being a mom changed your life?
It has changed my life a lot. But [aside from being a mom], if you knew what it's like for kids who die from tetanus, anyone's heart would break. It's a terrible illness for these babies, because when their umbilical cords are cut, they're sealed with dirt that's completely infected with tetanus. And the worst part is that the moms don't know it. Obviously, being a mom, if I had to make one wish, it would be to have a healthy baby. Anyone can relate to that. Thinking of those poor women and kids, who have no idea how they got it and that they are infected with tetanus, makes me sad because it's unnecessary and can be solved with five cents.

Why did you decide to become part of this campaign?
I love this campaign because it gives us the opportunity to help these kids who are dying in vain, and all of us can help in a very simple way: by buying pampers that we would have bought anyway. For each pack of Pampers you buy that has the UNICEF “One Pack=One Vaccine” stamp on it, a tetanus vaccination is given in a country where the bacteria is killing many babies. When you buy that pack of Pampers, immediately a vaccine is given to save the life of one of those kids who is in danger.

What is the campaign's message?
The satisfaction of feeling united with other mothers, to save their lives and the lives of their children. It could be a baby in the Congo, in Madagascar, in different parts of Africa, because, despite the problems we have in our countries, we don't have the problem of this enormous quantity of tetanus-related deaths every three minutes, something that's easy to prevent and resolve.