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By Candice Marie Litchfield
Everyone knows that Salma Hayek is the Mexican beauty who first launched to fame with her role in the kitchy Vampire flick, from Dusk til Dawn, but not many people are aware that this buxom beauty is also a dedicated eco-activist.
Salma Valgarma Hayek Jimenez de Pinault was born on September 2, 1966 in Mexico, the daughter of a Spanish mother and Lebanese father. She attended a convent school in Louisiana at the age of 12 and during her teens, she lived with an aunt in Houston, Texas. She dropped out of university to pursue a career in acting, eventually becoming a huge soap opera star in her native Mexico.
Married to the chief executive officer of PPR, Francois-Henri Pinault, Hayek gave birth to their daughter, Valentina Paloma Pinault, on September 21, 2007, in Los Angeles. Romantics at heart, the couple married on Valentine’s Day in 2009 in Paris and held a second ceremony soon after in Venice.
Along with her roles as a mother, wife, star and producer (she produced and starred in the film Frida, about her hero, the artist Frida Kahlo, as well as the TV series Ugly Betty, a fave with the Eluxe staff), Salma has consistently been an eco-role model. Amongst her many green achievements, the socially conscious star co-hosted the Bid to Save the Earth to help provide cleaner drinking water for those in need. Not only that, but she is a board member of Global Green USA, a national leader in advocating for smart solutions to global warming. This includes green building for affordable housing, schools, cities and communities, improvements in health care, and the creation of green jobs. Salma has been directly involved in Global Green USA’s initiatives, including Red Carpet, Green Cars where hybrid cars are used to arrive at Red Carpet events- an program created to bring awareness to transportation pollution.
Salma is a longtime supporter of the Global Green organisation, and she says her involvement in the charity is largely based on worrying about her daughter Valentina’s future. She said in 2008, “I get a bigger fear of what kind of world she’s going to live in. Is she going to run out of water? What kind of water is she going to drink? It’s really scary and it’s not that far away if we don’t do something about it.”
Her concerns are so strong, they even seem to have influenced her powerful husband. As Head of the Gucci Group, PPR, Francois-Henri Pinault has made enormous strides in making the company one of the most sustainable luxury fashion brands around; you can see Pinault himself speaking about that commitment here. The couple has also ensured that their home in California is fully fitted with solar panels, and they drive hybrid cars.
It’s not just the environment Salma is anxious about–she also cares deeply about the plight of women and children, and has started her own charity, the Salma Hayek Foundation, to give aid to raising awareness for victims of domestic violence. The Foundation has recently branched out to work with disadvantaged children on the streets of Mexico, helping them to overcome problems such as drugs, violence or lack of education.
Once again, it seems Salma has influenced her spouse: over the past seven years, just about as long as the couple has been together, Gucci has become well known for its ties with women’s charities, enjoying a seven-year partnership with UNICEF in support of girls’ education. Interestingly enough, the label also founded two female film awards – the Spotlighting Women Documentary Award and the Gucci Award for Women in Cinema with the Venice Film Festival.
Because she has seemed to make an enormous impact on the ethical practices of one of the largest fashion companies in the world, and as she manages to juggle various roles, including mother, wife, actress, producer, eco-activist, and feminist, Salma Hayek is one of our favourite green goddesses.