It’s hard to believe that Salma Hayek, the vivacious Mexican bombshell, is turning 54 today, September 2. Opinionated, motivated, and unwilling to let stereotypes about her gender or looks stand in her way, she has defied expectations. A well-known telenovela star in her homeland by the age of 23, she packed her bags and headed to Los Angeles in 1991 and soon began training with famed acting coach Stella Adler. It was Robert Rodriguez’s action movie Desperado that put her on the map in the U.S., and, as you might expect, that starring role lead to an endless list of offers for blockbuster films. She eventually sought out her passion project several years later, teaming up with director Julie Taymor for a biopic of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. She has been a champion for female-led filmmaking ever since, executive producing the Peabody Award-winning hit Ugly Betty.
Hayek’s fashion choices have often been a celebration of femininity, too, and she tends toward classic, glamorous silhouettes to flatter her petite hourglass proportions. Regularly joining her husband François-Henri Pinault in the front row during fashion month, Hayek is often seen out in the latest runway pieces. Arriving at LACMA’s 2015 Art+Film Gala in a petal-pink Gucci gown, for example, she proved you don’t need to be a sylphlike teen to pull off Alessandro Michele’s quirky look. Hayek wore pink Slimane-era Saint Laurent to the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, stepped out in understated Stella McCartney during Fashion Week in Paris a couple of years ago, and flaunted dramatic Sarah Burton–designed Alexander McQueen at the Oscars in 2013. Sure, plunging necklines and vampy award-show gowns have their place in her wardrobe, but so do buttoned-up Balenciaga wrap dresses, like the one she wore to the label’s Spring 2016 show.
Originally published on Vogue.com