Salma Hayek, 37, was born in Veracruz, Mexico, and is half Lebanese. She dropped out of university for a career as an actress and became a Latin American soap star. Hayek enjoyed a low-keyHollywood career before last year's Frida - which won her an Oscar nomination - brought global fame. Her four-year relationship with actor Edward Norton ended this summer - she says she is looking for a man with "more balls" than her. Hayek lives in Los Angeles.
Has stardom made you difficult?
If it had, do you really think I'm going to say "Yes, I'm an asshole now?" But the answer is no. You can ask around. If anything, I'm a lot more relaxed.
Are you more guarded?
No, because I don't feel like I'm being attacked. The truth is that my life is not that exciting. I don't have a lot of scandals. I have discovered how nice it is to be able to have a life that is only yours. Not because there are secrets, but because it tastes better when it's more private.
Your relationship with Ed Norton was highly public...
Not really. I mean, how much do you really know about that relationship?
Judging from the photos, that you both liked basketball...
... and that was the only thing you saw. We did thousands of things and nobody knows. Most of what is written about me isn't true. I would get more angry if I picked up the paper and thought "Oh My God, how did they find out?" No, it's almost like I have a parallel life that no one knows about.
But that's not playing the game...
Let's face it ... you can become very popular by exploiting your personal life - it can really work for you. But you make a choice. This way it feels real because you don't constantly have the need to say: "Oh, I am so loved", or "in love" or "look how great, look how cute, look how happy I am." Instead you have something that's yours.
Unlike most celebrity couples...
I find that uninteresting as well. Sometimes I'll have to put up with my girlfriends' dramas that I've been listening too since we were teenagers - "And then he did this and then he did that". And I'm thinking, "My God, this is going to take an hour." Imagine wanting to read about the dramas of people that I don't even know! I don't get it.
What has fame changed about your life?
My priorities have changed. When you're younger, you're focused on the big role, the career. I felt like I had so much to prove to so many people. Now I feel like I don't have to prove anything to anyone. Life itself is more important. And I'm enjoying it.
I'm going on vacation soon and I'm in heaven. I've never had a vacation where you know where your next job is coming from and your rent is paid. Usually a "vacation" for an actor means you're unemployed and broke. You don't want to even get out of town because you're worried about what's going to happen to your career.
Was it the Oscar nomination for Frida that made the difference?
Frida changed my life but I'm not really sure if it was the Oscar nomination or the film itself. Just the fact that people were able to see me in a role like that. But it's still hard to find good parts.
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Is your accent still a problem?
Less so. When people start seeing that you represent money, they start to call you for all kinds of things.
No one has asked me to play a Norwegian blonde yet.
Do you find the Hollywood circuit superficial?
I don't know. I don't live in Hollywood-land. I live in a house with dogs and a garden. I have really good friends and family - that's my life. Every once in a while you get nominated for an Oscar and you go to a couple of parties for a month or two and then you go back to cleaning the dog shit. Because the dogs are pissed off because you went away to make a movie and now it's their time to punish you.
Would you like children?
Yes, but I don't feel a sense of desperation. Everything I've wanted to do in my life, I've done. I've pushed the limits on things that everybody said were impossible, always broken the rules. Maybe I'll break a rule of biology too. I'm confident that I'll have children some day, but not today.
FHM recently named you the 8th sexiest woman in the world...
What's FHM? And why am I number eight? Who's before me?
Do you celebrate your birthday?
Are you crazy? You get presents, you get drunk, it's fun. I will always celebrate life - that's the way that I discovered life.
Are Latin men more sexy?
It depends on the individual. Why would I look at the nationality? There are dogs all over the world who are not sexy because they're bastards to girls. Besides I don't really look at the physicality. I look at the mind and the soul.
Would you describe yourself as a typical Mexican woman?
I would never describe myself as a "typical" anything.
'Once Upon A Time In Mexico' is showing in cinemas nationwide.
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