— Salma Hayek Mexican-American actress and producer 1966
O interview (2003)
Kontext: Because there was no industry or parts for Latin women when I came here, there was really no competitiveness. Jennifer Lopez and I were the first, and I think Jennifer was my partner at the beginning. I think it was important for others to see two of us, because maybe then we could be thought of as a social phenomenon. Because she doesn't have a foreign accent, Jennifer tried out for parts I couldn't get. There are now others with accents — Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas — but mind you, Antonio and Penelope are from Europe, not Mexico. It's only now that the taboo on Mexicans is lifting as Americans realize we're a little bit more than migrant workers. I hear some Latinos say, "Oh, no, no, no, the cliché that we are gang members, that's so bad — we have to show everyone that we're family people." Hello? That's another cliché! It's getting yourself out of one box to put yourself in another. The way to fight a cliché is not by creating another one. What breaks the cliché is the emergence of strong individuals. That's the way to say, "You don't really know us — so when you look at me, or when you look at my sister, just be completely open for whatever. You have no clue who we are!"
Here people don't know what box to put me into. I'm not from the Bronx, I'm not from East L. A., so they don't know how to take me or what to call me!