Salma Hayek, a Star in Mexico, Starts Over With American ‘Dream’


HBO’s adult sitcom “Dream On” has had numerous female guest stars to play opposite lead Brian Benben during its three-year run, but Salma Hayek is the prettiest and sexiest, so says Benben and his executive producer.

Salma who? Salma Hayek, best known as the star of the enormously successful Mexican TV novela “Teresa” (seen on KMEX-TV Channel 34 at 2 p.m., Monday-Friday). She’ll appear on Paul Rodriguez’s Channel 34 late-night talk show tonight at 12:15 a.m.

Appreciative of the compliment, the actress says, “Beauty’s not the flesh, but what you project. It has a lot to do with sensuality--the capacity to motivate dreams and fantasies.”


In the most recent “Dream On,” Hayek played a maid who--not surprisingly--instantaneously motivates Martin’s (Benben) fantasies into overdrive. “I had to capture the American humor and timing, but I did it,” she says with a sense of pride.

Becoming bilingual and learning to drive are two of her bigger accomplishments since her move to Los Angeles last year. “I had fame once and gave it all up. I left the dogs, two houses, two maids, chauffeur, masseuse.”

Hayek made her American TV debut as a gang member’s wife in a “Street Justice” episode for which she will film a follow-up in December. Next month she guest stars on NBC’s “Nurses” as Gina’s sister, Ada Maris. She has signed a series development deal with NBC and will make her film debut early next year as a gang member’s girlfriend in “Mi Vida Loca.”

The transition from Mexican sensation to a struggling starlet in Hollywood is worth it, she believes. “I was always a spoiled brat; I never committed to anything until acting . . . In Mexico an acting career is frowned upon, especially if you are a girl. I come from a conservative, Catholic family.”

Her father is in the oil business in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, and owns a chain of hardware stores. Her mother is an opera singer.

Next to leaving her native country, Hayek says the second most difficult thing she’s done is breaking off her relationship with ex-fiance Richard Crenna Jr. Learning to drive presented a less emotional challenge. Sounding like an Angelina already, she says, “Once I got a car phone I got very relaxed.”