Mexican actress and producer Salma Hayek opens up to People en Español about playing her first superhero role in Marvel’s new movie Eternals and her magic powers as a wife and mother. 
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Salma Hayek
Credit: AUGUST

Landing her first superhero role at age 55 in Marvel Studio's new film Eternals was a complete surprise for Salma Hayek. "It's a weird sensation because at my age it was kind of a shock," she tells People en Español. The role of Ajak —the majestic leader of the Eternals, an ancient race with superpowers who came to Earth from another planet—fits the Mexican actress perfectly.  

"Salma is always so full of life. Her excitement lights up the set when she walks onto it," says Eternals' Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao. "Her character Ajak is the leader— wise, full of wisdom and very perceptive— a mother figure to all the Eternals. We felt Salma embodies these beautiful characteristics. She is perfect to bring Ajak to life."

The actress, producer, activist and philanthropist graces People en Español's new cover and reflects about her magical powers in real life. Connecting with animals has always been one of her special gifts, says the actress, who spent part of quarantine in a heavenly farm surrounded by alpacas, bunnies, horses and dogs. "My superpower is also my sense of humor and irony," she says. "Meditation also gives me the superpowers of getting very little sleep and finding peace in the middle of the storms, a great power. I have many superpowers that balance out my thousands of flaws." 

Salma Hayek
Credit: AUGUST

Radiating a natural and timeless beauty is one of Hayek's many strengths. The superstar joined this exclusive Zoom interview dressed casually and without any makeup, feeling relaxed, from her luxurious home in London. Although she lives in Europe with her husband, billionaire French mogul François-Henri Pinault, 59, and their daughter Valentina Paloma, 14, the actress who hails from Veracruz stays true to her roots. "I cannot live without water. I love it. I have to go to the sea. I am from Coatzacoalcos; I was born in the beach. I need it," she says. "I live in London, and I tolerate it all well —the cold weather, no problem. Let it rain, it's great for the planet!— but I have to go recharge in the sea," she adds. "I must have been a mermaid in another life."

Renovation and rebirth are nothing new for the star of films like Frida, Savages, From Dusk Till Dawn, Like a Boss and Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard. Hayek —whose career spans over 30 years and joins Lady Gaga and Al Pacino in the film House of Gucci— made her acting debut in the 1989 Mexican telenovela Teresa. She has also shined as a producer and director and founded her own production company Ventanarosa. 

Salma Hayek
Credit: AUGUST

Working with Angelina Jolie in Eternals was a true pleasure, she says, as both developed a friendship outside the set. "Angelina and I had a date with destiny," Hayek laughs. "We hadn't really met. We even have a friend in common, Marianne Pearl, who is an activist, and she would always tell us: 'I can't believe you two don't know each other. You are going to love each other! But we hadn't met and Marianne was right, we have a lot of things in common. I can't like her more!"

Hayek invited Jolie to celebrate her birthday in September with a group of friends who cut her a cake and chanted "Mordida, mordida" until she bit into it and got frosting all over her face. "When we worked together I was amazed because she is so beautiful sometimes you forget what a great actress she is," she adds about Jolie. 

Salma Hayek Eternals
Credit: Marvel Studios

Hayek also gave her all to her role of Ajak in this interplanetary story, which celebrates diversity. Seeing Hayek dressed as a galactic warrior fighting evil forces in the big screen when Eternals hits movie theaters on November 5th is something her husband —the president and CEO of Kering and president of Groupe Artemis—is really looking forward to. "The one that's the most excited is my husband. He is so excited. He can't wait to see the movie," she says about Pinault, her number one fan, whom she married in 2009 in an storybook ceremony in Venice. 

Her daughter Valentina Paloma, however, is not starstruck or impressed by Hollywood glamour. "She is not very aware of my fame," Hayek jokes about the teenager, whose privacy the actress respects and protects. "That's why there aren't many recent photos of her," she adds about her Instagram, where Hayek has over 18 million followers. "She is wonderful and the adventure of discovering her evolution and how her mind works —and how she is transforming and growing and evolving— has been fascinating," she says about her daughter. "I try to be respectful, not only about her privacy but who she is and who she is turning into. I'm not a person who is always telling her: 'You have to be this way," I give her the space to discover who she is without my prejudices, without my expectations."

Salma Hayek Eternals
Credit: Marvel Studios

Family and health are blessings that the star —who battled coronavirus in 2020— doesn't take for granted. "I am very grateful to be alive," Hayek says. She celebrates life daily, finding serenity away from the cameras, movie sets and red carpets in her own kitchen and garden. The fashionista gladly changes from a fancy dress into her apron to cook a gourmet meal at home. Meditation and connecting with herself is also sacred to her. "You have to know how to recharge with nature, going to a park, seeing the trees, feeling them, becoming part of them," she adds. 

Read more of the star's family life and upcoming projects in November's issue of People en Español, on sale now.