News

Is Salma Hayek Mexican enough?

Oops!

That might have been Salma Hayek's reaction after reading in multiple media outlets how her comments in the German edition of Vogue magazine landed her in hot water with more than just a few.

The 45-year-old Mexican actress and Hollywood starlet was discussing her role of a ruthless Mexican drug cartel in Oliver Stone's film 'Savages' when she told the magazine, "I am proud to have been involved in this film with all these great actors."

Later in the interview she said, "Honestly, I hardly had any memories of what it is to be Mexican. My life is completely different now."

Oops! is right.

Her comments brought uproar with many who share her Mexican heritage.

The Huffington Post reported that the remark brought a strong response from the Hispanic blog Guanabee, which posted: "What did Salma mean by basically saying that she's too French and rich for our blood?"

Hayek is married to the French fashion executive and billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, who is the father of her 5-year-old daughter Paloma.

After the media frenzy, Hayek's reps immediately stepped into action sending out a press release in her behalf.

"I have never denied my background or my culture," Hayek said. "I have taught my child to embrace her Mexican heritage, to love my first language, Spanish, to learn about Mexican history, music, folk art, food, and even the Mexican candy I grew up with. I have always been an active part of my community. I have tried my whole life to represent my Mexican roots with honor and pride. It saddens me when my words are lost in translation and taken out of context to hurt the people of México, whom I love."

This is not the first time Hayek has made public comments about her Mexican background that have drawn attention.

Last year, she remarked to a reporter in Spanish, "If it wasn't because of my high heels, I would still be in Coatzacoalcos with 10 children."

In the San Joaquín Valley -- where Latinos of Mexican descent dominate -- fans shared their thoughts on Hayek's recent remarks.

Joel Reyna Jr., director of the Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery in Stockton, said Hayek's remark does not bother him.

"No, it doesn't," he said. "I think every human being has his or her unique experience and perspective of their place on the planet. If she goes back to México, she may see things she recognizes instantly. ... I haven't been back to México for 20 years. But I can't imagine not recognizing things when I do. I'm in no place to begrudge anyone their own unique experience."

Reyna said he has seen some of Hayek's earlier work, such as the award-winning 1994 film 'El Callejón de los Milagros.' He said he is less interested in her most recent role in 'Savages.'

Still, Reyna said he admires Hayek's work. "I think Salma is intelligent. I think she is beautiful."

In Fresno, Christina Robeldo, a 32 year-old mother of 4 children, believes that a person can lose their Mexican identity depending on the people and environment they surround themselves with.

"If you're not around your gente, you can lose it," she said. "To me, I haven't had that chance. I surround myself with my gente, my familia. I love my culture, I'm trying not to lose it."

Robeldo's mother is from Sinaloa while her father is from Jalisco.

"If you think about it, our culture is wherever we are. Our culture is preciosa. We can't keep out traditions and not educate others about where we come from. We can educate others."

As a fan of Hayek's, Modesto housewife Manuela Tovar says that the actress's comments are no big deal.

"The media always tends to sensationalize things -- big or small -- in order to sell. There are bigger and better things to worry about than what celebrities are saying these days," she said.

Tovar adds that everyone should focus on the positive work Hayek has done in Hollywood as the Mexican national that she is.

"I really think that her work should make all of us mexicanos very proud. And I know that her words were pulled out of context, she has always been proud of her heritage," Tovar said.

Robeldo seems to differ. "Probecita Salma, hope she comes back to earth... it wasn't too long when she became a star from telenovelas. Yeah, she's talented and has a beautiful family, but if she didn't have that initial support in México she wouldn't be where she is today."

Yet, Robeldo has not lost any hope for the actress.

"I hope that Salma Hayek, being the woman that she is and the power she is, can educate. Can come down to earth and educate others about where she is from. So that she can show that to her children.

"It would be a disgrace if her children don't know where she came from," she said.

  Comments