Oprah: You would've just been an old bombshell. People would say, "She used to be Salma Hayek!"
Salma: Just because your boobs are saggy doesn't mean you get great roles. You're disposable.
Oprah: But you knew that all along, right?
Salma: I didn't. I was naive enough to believe that there'd always be a lot of work for me. That's why, as important as it is for the producers to pay more attention to female roles, it's more important for us to take control over this situation and define who we are. Because if they just give us the parts, it's their point of view of who we are. What's important is that we define who we are and don't wait for the men to give us the roles.
Oprah: That's so powerful.
Salma: I'm very lucky I didn't have it easy, because I've learned so much from having to figure out everything on my own and create things for myself. Now I can teach what I've learned to the next generation. I'm not just going to be the pretty face that disappears. I've learned how to produce, to direct, to write. I'm not disposable so easily anymore. When I am 60, I can keep directing. I have the potential to really, truly have a voice that makes a difference.
Oprah: You used your voice to bring the world Frida. What did it feel like to be recognized with an Oscar nomination?
Salma: It was great to be nominated, but I was happy when the whole thing was over. Very tiring! The parties, the makeup, the hair. I just wanted to stay home and read or watch TV.
Oprah: Did you think you'd win?
Salma: I didn't know. I said to myself, "Why not?" It could be me just as well as it could be anyone else. Except for an award in Germany [the Golden Camera award for best international actress], I hadn't yet won any of the awards for which I was nominated [British Academy Film and Television Award, Chicago Film Critics Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award], so I thought, "Maybe this is the one I'll get." I wanted to win it for one specific reason—to send the Oscar to the Frida Kahlo House in Mexico, where Frida herself once lived. It's going to bring a tear to my eye now. I wanted every Mexican who walked into that museum to remember that what motivated me to make this movie, to dream this dream, had everything to do with where I came from—and I didn't stop dreaming until I finished the film. But the dream was the movie, not the Oscar. But I figured the Oscar would be a good reminder, for Mexico, you know?
Oprah: I so understand. What are you excited about now?
Salma: I'm remodeling my bathroom—and I can't begin to tell you how much joy that brings me.
We Hear You!