A bona fide celebrity goddess in her native Mexico, Hayek emigrated in 1991 to Los Angeles, where she willingly plunged to the bottom of the heap in order to take a shot at conquering Hollywood. Intensive lessons, both in English and acting, paid handsome dividends in 1995, when the diminutive dynamo lit a fire under Antonio Banderas in wunderkind director Robert Rodriguez's balletic bullet ballad Desperado. Continuing to collect hunky co-stars, Hayek struck sparks with a Baldwin brother in both Fair Game and Fled, and made an undead love slave out of George Clooney in From Dusk 'Til Dawn. Salma Hayek Internet shrines cropped up like weeds, and in 1997 the sultry spitfire landed her first lead role in the States, playing opposite Friends fave Matthew Perry in the cross-cultural romantic comedy Fools Rush In.

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