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Salma Hayek was 'illegal immigrant', endured racial discrimination

Get more: Salma Hayek
12/09/2010 by Corinne Heller

Salma Hayek says she once lived as an illegal immigrant in the United States and endured racial discrimination in Hollywood due to her Mexican heritage.

The 44-year-old actress, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 2002 film "Frida", made her comments to V Magazine Spain in an interview published in its winter 2010-2011 print issue. Hayek, who was born in Mexico, has since become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

"I was an illegal immigrant in the United States," E! News quoted Hayek as telling the magazine. "It was for a small period of time but I still did it."

She said her visa expired in 1991 after she moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Her spokesperson told E! News that Hayek renewed her visa in Mexico quickly and that the matter was "cleaned up immediately". It was unclear how long the actress remained in the United States illegally at the time.

Aside from "Frida", Hayek has starred in movies such as "Desperado" and "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" with Spanish actor Antonio Banderas. She also appeared on television shows "Ugly Betty" and "30 Rock". But the road to fame was not easy.

"I had to endure the worst time of all in terms of racial discrimination in Hollywood when I first started out," Hayek said. "It was inconceivable to American directors and producers that a Mexican woman could have a lead role. Hollywood has definitely grown, in embracing the inclusion of Latinos in the world, because, for some time, we didn't exist."

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