Salma Hayek has long been one of the top actresses in Hollywood, as her many nominations at awards show can attest, but her stardom didn't come easily.
In a new interview with Total Film magazine, Salma, 53, recalled being dismissed by directors in her early acting days and was even once told to "sound dumber."
"Unfortunately, I never had a lot of chances to do parts where I could use a lot of the things I learned," she said while speaking about the acting training she had in Mexico. "I've had directors say to me, 'Dumber and faster. Sound dumber and speak faster!'"
Despite being a star in her native Mexico, it was an uphill battle for Salma when she first pursued a career in Hollywood. Not only was she far from fluent in English and dyslexic, she couldn't find roles.
Those days are long gone now, but Salma hasn't forgotten about the impressionable early acting classes she partook in.
"One time, one of the people in the class didn't come and showed up after three days with a paper from the doctor," she recalled. "He came over to him and said, 'Is that your death certificate?' He said, 'No.' And he said, 'You can walk out and never come back. If you're doing theatre will you go to the audience and say you were sick? You were not sick enough. If you were in the hospital, I'd understand, but two days in bed… don't show up with that paper to my class. This is not a joke. You are either committed to this class or you don't belong here.'"
Salma recalled that same teacher lecturing her about a scene in which she swept the floor with a broom.
"I started sweeping and he stopped and said, 'Sit down — you're not coming up here for two weeks because you don't sweep correctly. You have to do the research about every single detail. You have to love every single prop,'" she remembered.
Whatever lessons she was taught worked. In 2002, Salma received an Academy Award nomination for "Frida."