Is of Spanish and Lebanese descent, and fluent in Arabic, Spanish, Portugese and English.
Studied international relations & drama at college in Mexico City.
Father was born in Lebanon and came to Mexico to start a small business where he met her mother.
Her Lebanese-Mexican father was a rich businessman and her mother was an opera singer. At a very young age, Salma already knew she wanted to be an actress and, after finishing high school, she felt more than ready to pursue her ambition. In the late 80s, she won the role of “Teresa” in the self-titled soap opera, and quickly became the “it” girl everyone was talking about. The shallow and superficial acting required for the role was, however, not satisfying, as she wanted to get ahead in acting rather than being stuck in it.
She soon left her native Mexico and her popularity to make her way to Los Angeles. There, her career took off. Having arrived in Hollywood, she was anonymous and had to start from scratch. She soon realized she had been slightly naïve about continuing her acting career in a foreign country, with a very thick accent and no experience, whatsoever. She was told over and over again by the big suits she would have no chance of becoming a leading lady in Hollywood as there just weren’t any parts for Latinas with accents, let alone one who doesn’t speak English.
Salma is an Arabic name that means “peace” or “calm”.
She was sent to a boarding school in Louisiana at age 12, but was soon sent back home after getting in trouble for frequently terrorizing the nuns.
Has her own production company, Ventanarosa.
Married to Billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of the luxury goods company PPR SA. On Sept. 21, she and Pinault gave birth to their first child, daughter Valentina Paloma Pinault. Pinault has a son Francois (b. 1998) and a daughter Mathide (2001) from his first marriage.
Is the second Latin American actress to be nominated for the Best Actress in a Leading Role Academy Award, for her performance in Frida(2002). Brazilian veteran Fernanda Montenegro was the first, for Central Station (1998).