Salma Hayek, whose real name is Salma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez de Pinault, was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico and raised there and in Grand Coteau, Louisiana.
Hayek was raised in a very devout Catholic home. She admits to being very devoted to her faith as a young girl, but has since given up on Catholicism–and pretty much religion altogether. She said of her break with the church:
The minute I started thinking it through, I realized all religions are a form of manipulation. And I started having problems with certain beliefs-like in Africa, where people are dying of AIDS and overpopulation, the Catholic Church is going over to convert them and take away the condoms! And I said, wait a minute.
Don’t call her an atheist, though. She just isn’t into organized religion. She said:
I don’t believe in the institution. I still believe in Jesus Christ. I believe in God.
This isn’t the only time Hayek has offended Catholics. Her role in the satirical Catholic film, Dogma, wasn’t a hit among the faithful either, with its portrayal of petty deities, drunken angels, and Alanis Morrissette as God.
She is politically active in other areas, particularly when it comes to battered women. She addressed U.S. Congress in 2005, urging them to pass the Violence Against Women Act–which they did. Additionally, Hayek has donated tens of thousands of dollars to battered women charities. She said:
No woman has to be a victim of physical abuse. Women have to feel like they are not alone. Every woman who thinks she is the only victim of violence has to know that there are many more. It’s not worse here or there, it’s a worldwide problem.
It makes you wonder what Hayek has gone through. Maybe the nuns beat her at Catholic school. But hey, at least she wasn’t an alter boy.