The Sunday Telegraph - Stella

9 to 5 with actor and producer Salma Hayek

The Academy Award-nominated actor and activist, 54, lives in London with her husband François-Henri Pinault, 58, and their daughter Valentina, 12

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I DON’T KNOW how I manage it all – it’s a challenge every day. But I do know how I keep the energy levels up: meditation. I do it in the morning or in the car, but I have to do it. It keeps me fluid and present and when you’re fluid and present, you’re objective. It’s like a magical power. But generally I’m not a woman of routines. I do yoga and sudoku, but not every day. I wish I had more routines – I crave feeling organised.

During lockdown, my biggest challenge was the fear and uncertaint­y: it was a very strange sensation not having structure or a set schedule, knowing there were many things up in the air, and not knowing what awaited us in the future. But there were also some perks. I really enjoyed having my husband, François, work from home and we got to use the time he previously spent commuting having breakfast in our garden. I also really enjoyed spring – I would wake up every morning excited to discover the evolution of the plants. And I’ve never heard so many birds sing in London.

I have 30 animals, including dogs, parrots and alpacas. My dogs and my owl were in heaven during quarantine because I was able to really dedicate time to them, but it also was a kind of therapy for me. They kept my spirits up.

Lockdown was very difficult for teenagers. My daughter

It was strange not having structure during lockdown, but there were some perks

Valentina was very independen­t and did her online schoolwork on her own, but she didn’t enjoy it. She also really missed her friends.

I’m glad I didn’t have her earlier [Salma was 41 years old when Valentina was born]. I’m a better person because I got to do a lot of things that were important to me first. Most crucially, I had her with the right

person at a time when I could really focus on [motherhood].

These days I live in London, although Mexico still lives in my heart and I integrate my heritage [into Valentina’s upbringing]. But I don’t feel as if I miss it because it’s inside me. My biggest nostalgia is not for the place, but the essence of what it once was because there’s a lot of violence now.

When I’m not working, my favourite thing is to go diving. I’ve been diving since I was 10. If you really want to see the deteriorat­ion of planet Earth, become a diver. If you visit the same places you were diving years ago, you see dead coral and half the [number of ] fish. It’s really scary.

I’ve never been interested in fashion. Through François [who’s chairman and CEO of luxury group Kering] I have a better appreciati­on of the entire world around it. I have a good closet, but I do suffer the, ‘ Oh my God, what am I going to wear?’ moments, and ask myself, ‘Does it still fit? I used to love this, how am I not excited about it any more?’ But I’m not the kind of woman who thinks, ‘I’m depressed, therefore I need to go and get a dress.’ It doesn’t do it for me.

I’m a feminist, but above all

I’m a humanist, and I think that women are the most oppressed. [Breaking into the US film industry] taught me that a place I really looked up to was very ignorant and it also taught me not to take their ignorance personally, but to take it as an education of misconcept­ions and missed opportunit­ies.

For example, when I did Ugly Betty the networks didn’t want the show, so I went to the advertiser­s and showed them a study I had done on the Hispanic consumer. I said, ‘ Would you be interested in this show?’ Not only were they interested in buying advertisin­g time, they actually wanted to pay for the entire thing! Then I brought that business plan to the network and they said, ‘OK, we’re going to do it on our own.’ You have to look for those opportunit­ies.

Salma stars in new film

‘The Eternals’, in UK cinemas from February 2021

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 ??  ?? Clockwise from main Salma Hayek photograph­ed in New York earlier this year; with America Ferrera in Ugly Betty; with one of her 30 beloved pets
Clockwise from main Salma Hayek photograph­ed in New York earlier this year; with America Ferrera in Ugly Betty; with one of her 30 beloved pets

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