Valentine’s Day is just a few days away and with it comes the steamy date night film  “Magic Mike’s Last Dance.”  The third installment of the “Magic Mike” film franchise stars Channing Tatum alongside Salma Hayek Pinault

Salma Hayek’s iconic roles

Since the early 90s seeing Salma Hayek on screen has meant a lot to her Latinx fans. Her impact on Latinx representation spans decades and is notable. She has made her way through a time in Hollywood that only cared to stereotype Latinx characters and has paved the way for Latinx representation. 

Hayek’s career dates back to the 90s and it’s been really interesting to see the range of characters she has played. I remember watching her on screen in the 1993 film Mi Vida Loca. It was one of the first times I had ever seen a film with an almost all-Latinx cast. And although that film was filled with unflattering stereotypes, it was always the first time I saw people who looked like me on the big screen. The impact of seeing yourself represented on screen can not be understated. And it paved the way for more representation in Hollywood.  

Salma Hayek in 1993’s “Mi Vida Loca”

Salma Hayek’s incredible film range

Her range is incredible, in 1996 Hayek starred in the cult classic From Dusk till Dawn which was directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. Hayek had a short and highly sexualized role portraying a dancing vampire in the film. And yes, Hayek may be a sex symbol. But that’s far from all that she is.  In contrast, she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for her iconic role as Frida Kahlo, in the 2002 biopic Frida, following the life of Frida. 

Salma Hayek as Frida Khalo in the 2002 film “Frida”

A personal favorite of mine is her role in Kevin Smith‘s 1999 comedy film Dogma where she plays the role of one of God’s Muses named Serendipity. Although she is highly sexualized in this film as well, she is also seen as smart and a vessel for good. She is hilarious and shines alongside some f Hollywood’s biggest names. Her confidence and energy are infectious. She is never reduced to just a sex symbol. It’s always clear that she is so much more. 

A Latinx Superhero

Another instance where Hayek and her star power were able to put Latinx representation at the forefront of Hollywood media. When she was cast as Ajak in Marvel’s Eternals it felt like a dream come true. To see a Latinx woman in a starring role as the leader of a superhero team, in one of the largest movie franchises in the world felt too good to be true. Thankfully it was absolutely real. Not only was she the leader of the Eternals. But she was a kind, compassionate, and all-knowing leader. 

Ajak (Salma Hayek) in Marvel Studios’ ETERNALS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

The fact that a then 55-year-old, Latinx woman was playing a Marvel superhero was so impactful. During an emotional interview on the Red Carpet Premiere for Marvel Studios’ Eternals spoke about how emotional she felt seeing a family, a mother, and her daughters, dressed as her character Ajak. The film pulled at your heartstrings and the onscreen relationships, whether romantic, hostile, friendship or family felt authentic and real. At the center of that was Salma Hayek’s “Ajack” as the matriarch of the group of heroes. 

Thanks to the long career of on-screen projects that Hayek has been a part of Latinx women of all ages can see themselves as everything from artists, to someone who stars in comedies and action films, as a sex symbol, and even as a superhero. 

You can check out Salma Hayek this weekend in Magic Mike’s Last Dance as it hits theaters on February 10, 2023. 

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