Hayek Pinault in a Saint Laurent jacket and necklace, an Anne Fontaine blouse, Victoria Beckham trousers, and a Yestadt Millinery hat. Photo by Robbie Fimmano/Walter Schupfer Management

Salma Hayek Pinault on Like a Boss, Beauty, and Being "Too Passionate"

An erstwhile skincare CEO in real life, she opens up about playing one onscreen.
Dec 10, 2019 @ 8:00 am

When you hear the word “boss,” who comes to mind?

“Bruce Springsteen!” says Salma Hayek Pinault with extreme enthusiasm. “My daughters are crazy about him. I love him, but they’re really fans. And my husband [François-Henri Pinault] is too.”

To play the ultimate beauty entrepreneur in Like a Boss, Hayek Pinault wanted to go all out. “At first, the part was a very straightforward, ambitious businesswoman,” she says. “It was fun to work with Miguel and the writers to create an actually crazy character.”

Hayek Pinault was determined to bring her outsize role to life with an outsize look: “First, I wanted to do Botox and inject my lips, which I’ve never done,” she says. But her back-to-back shooting schedule prohibited Botox because it can’t be reversed. Fillers, however, she could experiment with.

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There was only one issue: She hates needles. “My friend [dermatologist] Dr. [Maurice] Dray said, ‘I don’t know if you’re going to be happy because it’s going to hurt super bad.’ I said, ‘Well, let’s give it a try.’ He put the first needle in my mouth, and I immediately said, ‘No! Forget it! I’m done!’ So instead it became, ‘How do I make it look like I have lip injections?’ And we got these huge teeth. When you saw the film, did you notice I had fake teeth?” (I had most definitely noticed.)

To cap off Claire Luna’s look, Hayek Pinault went with red hair, “attention-seeking” clothes, and gray contacts. “I thought it would be kind of interesting to have some gray eyes because I wanted her to be fake-looking,” she says.

Hayek Pinault in a Gucci dress and a Roberto Coin ring. Photo by Robbie Fimmano/Walter Schupfer Management.

The internal part, the work of portraying a beauty-industry CEO, came a little more easily simply because Hayek Pinault has actually been a beauty-industry CEO. She created her own line, Nuance Beauty, in partnership with CVS in 2011. “My goal and my dream with Nuance was to make the very best skin care for the least amount of money,” she says. “They were magnificent products. I just wanted everyone to be able to have the best — my socialist idea of beauty.” The line shuttered, but don’t think that all the passion she put into it didn’t have an impact on her. Not only is Hayek Pinault still ready to enthusiastically reveal her favorite skin-care and makeup products, but she also shared what she’d gleaned about the beauty industry with the Like a Boss cast. “There were so many things about human psychology I learned,” she says. “Our obsession with beauty and our image has so much to do with where our heads are at emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically.”

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In terms of her own self-image, the 53-year-old says she is not looking to turn back the clock. In fact, she embraces it. “My mother always demonstrated the importance of aging gracefully,” she says. “I never saw her or my grandmother being afraid of getting old. And so I don’t have that fear.” Her grandmother, a cosmetologist, also passed on some key beauty secrets. Here’s one for skin care: “She used to say 50 percent is the product, 50 percent is the way you apply it — so massage, massage, massage.”

Haddish in a Gucci gown, Roberto Coin earrings, a Dior Fine Jewelry ring, and a Reinstein Ross ring. Hayek Pinault in a Gucci dress and a Roberto Coin ring. Byrne in a Gucci dress. Photo by Robbie Fimmano/Walter Schupfer Management.

What just might be fueling Hayek Pinault’s energies? Work. In 2019 alone she filmed five movies. When talking about them, she realizes that they are all drastically different. After she wrapped Like a Boss, she began filming Molly, a movie with Javier Bardem and Sally Potter. “My character is a woman going through the worst time in her life. So I had to look older, worn down. It was an extreme change from one film to the other.” She also has The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, Bliss, and Eternals coming out. “Not one of the many characters you’re going to see this year looks like the others,” she says. “Isn’t that fun?”

Channeling so many different women is a challenge that excites Hayek Pinault. “As an activist, I get to hear a lot of women’s stories. Thousands and thousands and thousands. That’s sometimes what gives me extra inspiration. When they share with you, you keep that in your heart, and part of them stays with you.”

She pauses a moment to reflect. “I’m creative and imaginative and passionate — too passionate probably to be the perfect boss. I’m more of an artist — a bossy artist.”

Photos: Robbie Fimmano/Walter Schupfer. Styling: Julia Von Boehm. Hair: Ursula Stephen for Starworks Artists (Haddish), David von Cannon for Starworks Artists (Hayek Pinault), and Harry Josh for Statement Artists (Byrne). Makeup: Keita Moore for The Only Agency (Haddish), Genevieve Herr for Sally Harlor (Hayek Pinault), and Hung Vanngo for The Wall Group (Byrne). Manicures: Deborah Lippman for Starworks Artists. Set design: Todd Wiggins for The Magnet Agency. Production: Bo Zhang for Creative Production Group.

For more stories like this, pick up the January issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Dec. 20.