Here’s why I never believed Salma Hayek said she doesn’t remember being Mexican in Vogue Germany
At least her hotness wasn’t lost in translation.
By ANGIE ROMERO
UPDATE: A rep for Salma released a statement, which says the whole thing was lost in translation. “I have never denied my background or my culture…It saddens me when my words are lost in translation and taken out of context to hurt the people of Mexico, whom I love,” it reads.
According to Huffington Post, Salma Hayek made some controversial comments in Vogue Germany’s September issue, when looking back on her experience filming Savages. ”I hardly had any memories of what it is to be Mexican,” she’s quoted as saying. “My life is completely different now.” I’m almost 100 percent sure her words were misconstrued. Here’s why.
I interviewed Salma late last year for Latina Magazine, and pretty much all we talked about were her memories of Mexico, especially her grandmother, how she would make soaps and shampoos out of the plants in her ranch in Oaxaca for Salma as a little girl. It was her abuela, Maria Luisa, that inspired her new beauty line, Nuance (which I actually use).
Granted, she was promoting Nuance, but when I asked about her life back home, she seemed genuinely fond of those memories. And there was a lot I couldn’t fit in the story.
Check it out (from the November 2011 issue of Latina):
So no, I don’t think Salma doesn’t remember what it feels like to be Mexican, for one, because I think that would be impossible to forget, and also, she’s just too savvy to say something like that. She’s been doing this long enough to know what she’s doing.
This reminds me of when Para Todos magazine “quoted” Jessica Alba in 2007 as saying all these crazy things like, “as a third-generation American, I feel as if I’ve finally cut loose,” which, in turn, led to Perez Hilton nicknaming her Jessica ‘Don’t Call Me Latina’ Alba. The interview had taken place in English, and was then translated into Spanish.
Well, we at Latina were intrigued, to say the least. The editor-in-chief at the time, Mimi Valdes, wanted me to get her to agree to a cover so we could get to the bottom of this and give Jessica a platform to set the record straight. I thought we had a slim chance, but I wrote her and her publicist a letter anyway where I argued that it was better for her to address the whole thing and really open up about her experience growing up biracial in this country (Alba’s father is Mexican-American, though both of his parents were born in California. Her mother is of Dutch and French descent.) I told them how it wasn’t about judging those experiences, because all of those experiences are valid, and as we all know, being biracial in America has never been a black and white issue –- it’s complex. I argued that this was her chance to reintroduce herself to the Latino community, and basically, they could take it or leave it.
They took it.
Everyone was shocked when they read the cover story, at 3,000-something words, where Valdes goes deep into Alba’s history and talks to many members of her family, spent time at her home (where Alba lived with her now-husband, Cash Warren, who is biracial himself), looking at old photo albums, and was able to offer the most in-depth look at what Alba’s experience was like growing up and entering Hollywood as someone who is racially ambiguous. Alba described an incident where she was at the Latin Grammys one year and she went into the press room, and when she said she couldn’t speak Spanish, one of the reporters yelled at her, “Then why the hell are you here?” that experience, she said, scarred her, and made her want to pull back from doing Latin press.
“I always took pride in being Latina, it’s something I always embraced,” she told Valdes. “But when I got shunned, it made me feel really bad, like maybe I’m not.”
Alba said she was entirely misquoted in Para Todos, and, having interviewed her myself, I believe that was the case, too. “I never said that,” she told Valdes. “Cut loose from what? What the hell are they talking about? Why would I want to cut loose from the only family I know?”
So yeah, I believe that when it comes to translation, there’s a lot of freedom to misinterpret and misinform. I don’t know that this is what happened here for a fact, but it’s a gut feeling.