Cultural Rhythms 2006: Salma Hayek

Actress Salma Hayek has serious depth of appeal to Harvard students. Her film roles, ranging from the cult-classic comedy “Dogma” to the critically acclaimed biographical masterpiece “Frida”(2002) have made her a film icon. Apart from her acting chops, Hayek’s sensuous beauty, has twice netted her a spot on People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” list.

The Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations has noticed these fine qualities and has asked her to host the 21st annual Cultural Rhythms concert this Saturday, February 25.

“We believe she’ll really galvanize the student body to come out and support this event,” said HFIRR intern and event planner Teddy L. Styles ’07.

Although Hayek—who will star in several films this year, including the soon-to-be-released “Ask the Dust”—is undeniably beautiful, she was nominated for The Harvard Foundation’s “Artist of the Year” award to recognize her artistic and philanthropic achievements in the context of cultural celebration.

“We look to reward someone who has, throughout his or her career, been committed to improving the arts as well as aiding humanitarian efforts around the world,” said Styles.

Hayek is of Lebanese-Mexican decent and was raised in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico by her businessman father and opera-singer mother. She began her acting career as the title role in “Teresa” (1989), a hugely popular telenovela (Mexican soap opera), and later rose to Hollywood fame.

At the 2002 Academy Awards, she became the second Latina in history to be nominated as Best Actress in a Leading Role, for her portrayal of Frida Kahlo in “Frida,” a film that she also co-produced.

Hayek is also the spokesperson for “Speak Out Against Domestic Violence,” a program sponsored by the Avon Foundation. Last year she directly addressed the US Senate, asking for an extension to the Violence Against Women Act.

Artistically, altruistically and gorgeously, Hayek will contribute much to this year’s Cultural Rhythms’ celebration of international diversity at Harvard.