Salma Hayek has been a star since the age of 23, when she was picked up for auditions in a telenovela called Teresa. There have been many highlights to her career since then, starting from when she moved to Hollywood in 1991. She has appeared in films such as Desperado, Dogma, and Wild Wild West. Her breakthrough role in western cinema, however, was when she took the lead role in 2002’s Frida.
In 2002, however, she was already 36. So that leaves a large part of her youth when she was famous only in her native Mexico. She was a former model alongside her early acting career, this means we missed out on a lot. She was raised in a wealthy Roman Catholic family in Veracruz, and ended up being sent to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Louisiana at the age of 12. From there, her talent was not fully discovered before she had completed her academic career, studying International Relations at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. Soon after she became an actress, she starred in El Callejon de los Milagros, which has won more awards than any other Mexican film.
But aside from what she was actually doing, what about what she looked like? She is obviously a gorgeous woman on every level, and has topped many "hottest..." lists. It’s clear that we missed out on some great moments in her time as a young woman. Here are her hottest photographs from her earlier years!
16 In Desperado
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This shot is a classic example of why Salma Hayek ended up being such a big star. She is a young actress in this screencap, which is one of her earliest roles. She has a mane of dark hair cascading over her shoulder, as she stares boldly towards the other actor in the scene. Her natural beauty shines through without any kind of extravagant makeup or costume. She wears a simple yellow slip, the shape of which accentuates her Latina curves perfectly. She sits on the bed, surrounded by candles, looking totally enticing. It’s easy to see how Hollywood fell in love with her after this moment. She is captured perfectly, and even without seeing the image come to life, you can see there is a lot of fire and spirit inside of her. Who could fail to fall for such an alluring young woman in the prime of her early career?
15 In El Callejón de los Milagros
Now, we hinted about this film before, as it’s perhaps the most successful she has ever appeared in. This movie was released in 1995, and of course Salma looks absolutely stunning in it. Despite being an awards darling, this film isn’t often seen by those who do not speak Spanish, so you have probably missed out on it so far. If you get the chance, you should surely give it a watch. If not, here’s a shot from the movie to give you something to think about. Salma is pictured here as a young actress who does not yet know just how famous she is about to get. She stares wistfully off into the distance as she dries her hair with a towel, and here you can see that she really has not lost her natural beauty with age, nor has she needed to augment it. She looks more or less the same here as she does today, over 20 years later.
14 A Young Gymnast
Now we’re going much further back into her history! This image shows Salma as a very young girl, when she was training in gymnastics. She shared it as a throwback photo on her Instagram page, clearly pleased to have found photographic evidence of this time in her life. She notes that she’s not able to reproduce the same achievement these days. Still, this is a very cute look into what her early life was like. It’s easy to imagine this young girl running around, full of life, and practicing her gymnastics moves. Who could have predicted that she would go from this young gymnast and later become one of the biggest Latina actresses of all time? There’s no mention of exactly how old she was when this photograph was taken, but it must have been at some point in the 1970s, given that she was born in 1966.
13 Sheer Beauty
This photo is such a great blast from the past. It shows off a fashion which has now gone out of style, yet still looks very flattering on Salma herself. The almost sheer polka-dot dress is clinging to her figure in all of the right places, revealing a very full bust which is perfectly paired with the open neckline. She definitely knows how to work it, too– placing one hand on her hip draws the eye and accentuates the curves of her body. This is one old modelling look that, even though it certainly appears dated, still makes her look gorgeous and ethereal. It stands the test of time.
12 Dogma premiere
When this photograph was taken in 1999, Salma had a bit of a different look which we haven’t really seen since. This shot of her with straight hair cropped to the shoulder is a bit of a rarity in that sense! She has a very sultry, moody look in this picture, which isn’t hurt by the fact that the photographer chose to put it into black and white. She really seems to reach out to you through the lens, but it’s not clear that she’s happy at all to see you! Images like this really make it clear how her facial structure has remained the same even as she ages, with very little difference between then and now. Perhaps the only difference is that her skin is a little clearer, with fewer lines. We’re also fairly glad the shot was put into monochrome, as without it we might see some awful 90s lipstick choices, judging by the appearance of her lips!
11 What A View
This is so subtly sexy that it could not be left out. Although we only see her back, the beauty that this woman exudes is just unmistakable. Now, what if we told you that she isn't only stunning and sexy, but also a good samaritan? She has participated in Revlon's walk to support women’s cancer research. Actually, this event with the Entertainment Industry Foundation has been a very popular and successful one, and has even funded research into a breakthrough breast cancer drug. It also funded support programs for those who had already been diagnosed with breast cancer. You can see that Salma is keen to support good causes, and to stand up for other women in need.
10 90s Red Carpet
You can tell how old this shot is just by looking at it! Not only is the quality a little lower than what we are used to with modern DSLRs, but the whole style she is wearing is outdated. Not that we’re complaining in this particular case. The lilac toned dress she has on is very 90s, and also VERY revealing. It clings very tightly to her youthful body, which is probably a good thing– if it was a little looser she would be at risk of revealing an awful lot more. This shot is great because it’s a bit more informal than the other red carpet shots that would have been taken around the same time. She is looking back over her shoulder and waving at someone, perhaps a member of the press who has called her name to get her attention. She is mid-stride, with dainty heels serving to accentuate her toned legs.
9 Beach Babe
Here’s Salma once again, looking absolutely smoking in a beach shot which any young actress might use in her portfolio. There's nothing to a beach photo, the model is already half-dressed so it's easy to draw in the eyes, and yet she makes it look effortless. She has perfected her pose and knows just how to accentuate her curves. This is probably one of the images that casting directors in the early part of her career would look at when deciding whether or not she was suitable for a role. There is a lot of potential that's easy to see in her expression and the character that she portrays even here.
8 Black And White Crop
Here’s another treat from around the time that she was filming Desperado. It shows her as a fierce and beautiful young Latina, with all of the trademarks that we also recognize today. Her dark mane of hair cascades in perfect waves and curls, effortlessly styled to look like a wild beauty. Her strong facial features stand out here in black and white, making her truly alluring even if she does not have a smiling expression on her face. Then there’s the little black crop top she is wearing, which is almost straining at the buttons due to how tight it is around her bust. It’s a classic Salma Hayek look, and definitely one that she should be proud to look back on when she is in her old age. It’s easy to imagine falling in love with a woman as beautiful and strong as this, and indeed many men have.
7 Pretty In Pink
It’s great to look at some of Salma’s earlier promotional images, as she was more inclined to show off her curves at that time. She had to grab a lot of attention in the media so that she would be better placed to get the best roles, and it obviously worked well enough that she doesn’t have to do it anymore! In this cute pink look, she relaxes on a white background, with a very 90s style. Her hair is done in that cropped style which she wore so briefly, and she looks utterly comfortable in her own skin. Her hand rests playfully on her hip as if to draw your attention there, while her facial expression is a little more inscrutable. This photograph shows a young woman who has worked hard to perfect her body, and it was certainly worth it. We’re pretty glad that someone documented it for us to admire long after the fact!
6 In From Dusk Til Dawn
It was the role in From Dusk Til Dawn which really brought Salma screaming into our attention, full blast. The famous dance scene in the club was one of the defining moments of her career. She was instructed simply to create the most alluring dance that she could, and so the moves you see on screen came from her heart. Combine that with the incredible outfit she wears– which is basically a glorified bikini– and you have an absolutely show-stopping moment. It doesn’t hurt that her character is soon after revealed to be a vampire, which somehow makes her even hotter. Either way, in this image you can see exactly why her career was taking off at that moment. Who wouldn’t want to have this hot young starlet in their next film, captivating the audience totally? Again, all she needs is simple hair and a dash of dark red lipstick, and she’s already out-doing most other actresses you could name.
Alright, yes, this is another press shot from Desperado. It’s not our fault that she was so incredibly hot during the filming and publicity of this movie! This outfit is definitely a real winner. She has the black crop top paired with the side-slit skirt, which is fanned out daintily behind her. Just peeping out, you can catch a glimpse of her open-toe, lace-up, heeled shoes. It’s a very Latina look and definitely suits the shape of her body. She clutches a rose in one hand, and stares out directly at the camera. It’s almost as if she is challenging us to admire her, and admire her we do. How can you avoid it? This is probably one of the best shots of a young Salma Hayek out there– definitely one that would have happily adorned many teenage boys’ bedroom walls for a long few years.
4 Wild Wild West
Who doesn’t love a saloon girl? When that particular saloon girl is played by Salma Hayek, the answer is quite rightly no one. She really came to the forefront of our collective consciousness with this movie, which was a big mainstream hit. She has a lot of the characteristics which you can remember from her earlier movies here too. There’s the big curly hair, which in this particular look is swept back to reveal the fine structure of her face more clearly. Then, of course, there’s the bust, highlighted with a very tight white corset. The fringing of black beads and lace only serves to draw more attention to that area. In fact, it’s a little hard to notice her face at first, though once you do you can’t look away. She played Rita Escobar in this film, which turned out to be forgettable– though this outfit definitely wasn’t.
3 In Fools Rush In
This is another of Salma’s early movie roles, much before she became really famous in the west. She played the character of Isabel, and had a look that was delightfully 90s. There are those belted, high-waisted, tight jeans paired with a barely-there camisole. There’s the shiny leather jacket topped off with a backpack. There’s the pulled back hair which goes into a mass of curls as it tumbles down her back. And finally, there’s the ultimate 90s addition– the black payphone. You wouldn’t ever mistake this shot as coming from any other decade! She really won the audience over in this film with her quirky demeanour, and of course that tell-tale Spanish accent. It wasn’t known at the time what a big star she would go on to be, though you could probably have predicted it. Even just by her looks alone, you could see that she wasn’t going to be disappearing into the shadows any time soon.
2 In Teresa
This shot is pretty special! This is Salma back when she starred as Teresa in the show of the same name. It was her first starring role back in 1989, and the telenovela proved popular enough to really launch her career. Her hair was wildly different to how we recognize it now– in true 80s style, it was cropped short and kept in large curls around her head. It seems as though she started plucking her eyebrows a little more at some point in the 90s, and while she looks pretty, she doesn’t quite yet have the full fire in her eyes that we normally expect. She’s also wearing a pretty conservative outfit, which is not the norm for her nowadays! This is a great look at the actress when she was really just starting out, at the age of 23. How things have changed since then– and how they haven’t!
1 In Her First Audition
This is probably the most exciting shot of everything we’ve discovered, because it shows Salma before she became famous. This is actually taken directly from footage of her first ever appearance, in an audition tape which recently resurfaced. She was just 20 years old when it was filmed, and you can see some clear similarities to the last entry which aren’t around today– such as those thicker eyebrows and the bushy 80s hair. The footage was discovered by ¡Despierta América!, who ran it on their morning show. She also looks pretty nervous, which we would not associate with her today. It’s a good reminder that even someone in their 20s may not totally have it together yet– and they can go on from that point to be hugely famous as one of the most beautiful women in the world.