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"But people would come to see me and they would bring big cardboards saying, 'I Love You, Teresa'." Wanting more than celebrity, Salma left the theatre run in the middle of her contract to study with famed acting coach Stella Adler in Los Angeles.
She struggled with her English, however a task compounded by her dyslexia and when she went on auditions, she says, "Everybody thought I was so out of my league," adding: "The people in Hollywood were the first ones to try and discourage me. 'You have no future here." After an appearance in the 1993 indie flick a part that led co-star David Arquette to comment: "She moves like a Spanish Marilyn Monroe." Convinced of her screen presence, the director cast her in the 1995 breakthrough role alongside Antonio Banderas, where the 5ft 2in beauty's sex appeal got her noticed in Tinseltown.
The pair parted company, however, in 2003 and Salma later found love with French businessman, François-Henri Pinault.
Their daughter Valentina Paloma was born on September 20, 2007.
The 25th Hour actor was attending the awards ceremony for Britain's Q magazine in London on Tuesday night, and spent the whole night by sexy Helena's side.
I don't want anyone to imitate me, but it can be done.
Despite the Academy Award buzz around 2002's , Salma still confronts discrimination.
But after nearly a decade in the business, she's stood her ground to achieve success."A lot of people become what they have been told they are, but I don't and I never will," she says.
"When I would tell them my grandfather is Lebanese, they would say, 'Pretend you're Lebanese'.
Not that it's okay to be Lebanese, but it's a little better than to be a Mexican."Born on September 2, 1966, and raised in a conservative Catholic family by a Mexican opera singer mum and a Lebanese dad in the oil business, Salma was a self-proclaimed "spoiled brat" who dreamed of Hollywood fame while growing up in the town of Coatzacoalcos.