Salma Hayek: Beauty, Brains & Business

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No matter the field, bosses are always boxed into a specific category when it comes to their management style. The styles run the gamut, but, over the course of time, one constant has remained—those who report to them do the most accurate job at identifying which category they fall under.

This is not the case with Salma Hayek. “I’m a micromanager!” the 47-year-old beauty proudly admits. She may have made her name in Hollywood as the sizzling actress-director-producer triple threat, but, when it comes to her career as creator of Nuance, an all-encompassing beauty line of hair care, skin care, body care, nails and cosmetics sold at CVS, this businesswoman doesn’t need anyone else’s two cents to help critique her management style—she knows what category she falls under and sees no reason to sugarcoat it.

Related Video:
Salma Hayek Behind The Scenes

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“I approve everything in the line. I know every ingredient and I know every product,” she says, a statement that clearly isn’t just a line of marketing hype the company has spun to sell to consumers, as she stops to tell me exactly what I should—and should not—be using on my skin.

“Have you used this?” she asks, pointing to her line’s under-eye serum, a tiny vitamin-packed tube that she quickly pulls from her makeup bag. “You need to. It will make you look like you don’t have any wrinkles and it works instantaneously. You can’t have mine, but I’ll let you try it. In one minute you will see the difference.”

Seconds later, Salma is applying the serum to my left under-eye as we look in the mirror and she directs me to “look up” so  she doesn’t get it in my eye. “You don’t have a lot of wrinkles, but I see some things that this will help.” Coming from anyone else, this may come across as a moment of skin-care self-reflection that could go either way. But, coming from Salma it’s undoubtedly endearing.
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Skin-Care Smarts
“This stuff works!” she says. “I kept thinking someone else was going to find out about this and research it and make a line—but they never did, so I did.” That “this” is her star ingredient of tepezcohuite, a sort of miracle-worker that Salma says is the “most important thing” about her products, as it has been used in Mexican hospitals for many years to help burn victims, and the cornerstone of what the line is based on. “And then, of course, I have my grandmother to thank. She is my inspiration and she taught me many things. She was both an alchemist and a magician and someone with a great imagination—and that’s who I get a lot of my beauty secrets from.”

“Everything I feel that I’ve needed in my life to look good or stay young, everything I’ve wished for, I’ve done in this line.”

“I could have made my brand a lot more expensive, and it would have been a lot more successful. But then it wouldn’t have been accessible to all women who need it. Every woman is entitled to her youth and her beauty. I wanted to make a brand that cared about those problems and offered a real solution that was accessible. It’s important to me.”

It’s hard to believe that someone as beautiful and put-together as Salma would ever need to rely on outside sources to look good—she’s been such a huge force on both the big screen and TV for so long that it’s almost impossible to think of a time when “Latina” didn’t refer to her and all of her attributes; and, it’s almost even more difficult to grasp the mathematics that add up to the fact that she is, indeed, 47. But, she reminds me that even the most steadfast of beauties—even those who have successfully conquered the test of time—are not without their battles, especially in relation to one particular skin condition that she’s been vocal about in the past: acne, a condition that was so severe she was prescribed Accutane to treat it. “There were days I used to wake up, look in the mirror and go straight back to bed because my acne was so bad, so I get it. I think adult acne is something that, while it affects a lot of people, most brands still don’t want to give a solution because they think it’s not chic—it’s actually shocking. I think that’s terrible.”
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Family First
Valentina is, of course, her six-year-old daughter with her husband, French businessman François-Henri Pinault—a family unit that, worldwide, gets accolades for the way they dress, the places they go and the things they do. But, to Salma, they are simply a tight-knit group tackling life together. “My husband helps me a lot; I am lucky that I have a good team,” she says. Today, the trio calls Paris home (Salma has lived in the city for six years)—but Hollywood can’t seem to stop calling.

“My rule is that I won’t be away from Valentina for more than a week. And sometimes I won’t do a project because of that. We do everything like that and we manage. Sometimes I read a really good one but I can’t take it because of the timing.”

Three Words: Don’t Overdo It.
“It’s a new discipline. I have a child and a husband who always need me, and the one thing I can’t do is let myself relax and take time for myself—and I need to fix that,” she says. “This is my weakness: I feel guilty for taking time for myself. It feels strange because it makes you feel lazy,” she says. “The only place I feel I can do this is when I take a bath or I am in the shower, because no one can find me there. Sometimes, in the morning, I lay down flat in the shower and let the water rush over me. Even if you do it for five minutes, it’s really lovely.”

It’s sincere advice, but don’t forget her skin-care expertise. Before we say good-bye she stops me once more to see her products working their magic. “Look in the mirror again—the one side of your face looks 10 years younger,” she says, smiling. “I told you it would work.”
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The Multitasker
Besides being a self-described micromanager, Salma is also, clearly, a multitasker. When we speak, it’s still just the beginning of the year and already, she’s signed on for three very talked-about projects (the much-anticipated book-turned-film, A Three Dog Life with John Travolta, the politically-charged The Septembers of Shiraz and Everly, an action-thriller that’s set to come out later in the year) and the debut of her next movie, Muppets Most Wanted, is days away.

“Every single project draws me in for a different reason. It’s different things. Sometimes I love the other people I’m working with, sometimes I love the character, sometimes I love the director,” she says. “Right now, I am doing a project that I am very excited about because I am playing a European queen. And when you are Mexican, the closest thing you usually get to playing a queen 
is queen of the drug cartel,” she says, laughing. “So for me, this is big. It has the best costumes in the world and it is an incredible script.”

“But, The Muppets was for Valentina. I did it for her,” she says, although she adds it was particularly “fabulous” to work with Tina Fey again after their days together on 30 Rock. “The same with Puss in Boots—thank you, Valentina, for that one! It did 
so well and now we’re going to do a second.”

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