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Salma Hayek

I’m a hormonal action heroine

Hayek with her husband, François-Henri Pinault. Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

In the early stages of lockdown, Salma Hayek contracted Covid-19, says Marc Malkin in Variety. The 54-year-old actress spent seven weeks isolating in a room at her London house. Eventually, she was put on oxygen. “My doctor begged me to go to the hospital because it was so bad,” says Hayek. “I said, ‘No, thank you. I’d rather die at home.’”

Luckily she recovered, and last month started work on Ridley Scott’s new Italian drama House of Gucci. She plays a clairvoyant who helps Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) assassinate her ex-husband, Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver). “It was easy,” she says. “It was the perfect job to just get back into it.” Perhaps it helped that her husband, François-Henri Pinault, owns Gucci (and several other fashion brands). His family is worth an estimated $56bn.

While drama might come easily, Hayek prefers action films. She moved to LA in the late 1980s in the hope of becoming an action heroine. Already a soap-opera star in Mexico, where she was born, she loved the idea of stunts. Hollywood felt differently. “They wouldn’t even give me the auditions,” she recalls. She was turned down for two big comedy films because she was Mexican before getting her big break in 1995’s Desperado – set in a Mexican border town.

With dozens of films and an Oscar nomination under her belt, Hayek has made up for lost time. In 2017 she had a cameo role in the action film The Hitman’s Bodyguard. She was on screen for just two minutes, but made such an impression that the directors asked her to front the sequel. You don’t get many 54-year-old women in action films, says Hayek, but that should change. After all, menopause is the perfect plot device: “Imagine if you have a character that’s already crazy and then add those hormones.”