Salma Hayek’s Struggles With Dyslexia


Salma_Hayek and Antonio Banderas

Salma Hayek Pinault is a Mexican actress who was born on September 2, 1966 with dyslexia. Ms. Hayek was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico. Her mother was an opera singer and her father was a an oil man executive. Many people know Hayek as Betty Suarez’s older sister and mother of teenage Justin in the The TV series Ugly Betty. She won an Emmy in 2006 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Sofia in that his show.

Salma Hayek also acts in films, directs, and has done some modeling. She is the wife of French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault who is CEO at Kering. The couple has a 6-year-old daughter named Valentina. All has not been great for Ms.Hayek because she has been battling a lifetime struggle with dyslexia.

Diagnosed With Dyslexia

Salma Hayek was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was only a teenager. Her ability to learn fast, delayed her teachers realizing Hayek had a reading problem. In fact, the Mexican born actress skipped a couple of grades because of her quick learning ability. Hayek went to a private school in New Orleans when she was 12-years-old. She discovered she had a learning disability when she tried to learn English and found it hard to read. Salma Hayek had taken a class to learn how to deal with her dyslexia. She claims that the worst thing about dyslexia is that it is hard to read the traffic signs.

Salma Hayek went to college in Mexico for only a short time. Hayek dropped out of school to become an actress. She started out by auditioning for Mexican Soap Operas and was cast in a few. It was at that time that she first struggled to learn her lines. She takes her time and reads her script slowly. She had a little bit of fame, at 23, in Mexico for her portrayal in Teresa in the title part.

After finding some success as an actress in Mexico, Hayek decided to move to California and work on becoming a nationally known actress. She recalls how brave she was when she left Mexico and first came to California. The actress could not speak English except for a few words, didn’t have a green card, could not drive, and did not know she needed an agent to to get any work as an actress.

Hayek found reading traffic signs was a big blur to her. For the first time in her life she was on her own. She always had help with her dyslexia and reading problems when she lived in Mexico. After living in California for a year, Salma Hayek appeared in Mi Vida Loca, which was her very first film. Her big break was in 2002 when she was cast in the role of Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter in the film, Frida that was based on the real-life painter who died in 1954 at age 47. The role won Hayek the nomination for the 2003 Golden Satellite Awards and an Academy Award nomination.

Salma Hayek Doesn’t Let Dyslexia Get In Her Way

Salma Hayek doesn’t let her dyslexia keep her from pursing her goals. When she first became an actress, Ms. Hayek learned that there were very few roles for Mexican women. She had a desire and realized her goal to create a production company that produces Mexican based shows, opening up more roles for Hispanic people.

In 1999, Hayek created her first production company and called it Ventanarosa. It means rose colored window. In 2006, Hayek was not only a cast member of Ugly Betty, she also produced the show that made a major television star out of America Ferrara who appeared in the film and sequel of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Salma Hayek has not only worked hard in films and television, she is also an activist. She is a board member of Violence Against Women, Chime For a Change, and V-Day.

Salma Hayek is an inspiration to many people, those who have dyslexia, and those who do not have the disability. Hayek boasts that she is able to direct films and not have to bring the script to the set. She is able to read the script once and then she knows exactly how to conduct the directing.

According to Oprah, Salma Hayek could not be contained in a stereotypical and limiting box because she would only remove the lid from the inside and jump out. Salma Hayek has proven that she will not let a disability stand in the way of being all that she can be. She does not let her dyslexia become an excuse for not expecting the best from herself. Ms. Hayek learned a lot from having to work for what she wanted in life and not have things given to her. The actress-producer-director speaks English almost as though she were a native.


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