Ahead of Mother’s Day, InStyle explores how women are navigating motherhood in 2018, from the role of the pregnancy selfie to new legislation empowering the working mom.
Weaving through the throngs of couture-clad stars, Hayek, dressed in custom Altuzarra, eventually found herself standing right next to the model of the moment on the red carpet and she knew what she had to do.
“I pulled out my phone and asked her to record a video for my girls,” Hayek told InStyle, laughing, when we caught up with her earlier this week. “Before I left, Valentina and Mathilde [Hayek’s step-daughter with François-Henri Pinault] were begging me to find Gigi and do it. At first I said, ‘No. That’s ridiculous. I don’t even know her.’ But then when I saw Gigi in person, I knew I had to go for it. She’s one of Valentina’s favorites.”
Hayek later posted the video message to Instagram, and it’s racked up over 600,000 views. “It’s amazing what a mom will do for her kids,” says Hayek.
Even though Hayek’s daughter Valentina is only 10 years-old, we have a feeling that she might be hitting the red carpet alongside her famous mama sometime soon. “She has a better eye for style than I do,” says Hayek. “She likes to go in my closet, but what’s worse is the makeup. She’s not allowed to wear it outside of the house yet, but she loves watching all of the tutorials on social media. Her friends come over for sleepovers and she does everyone’s makeup. If you need to know what lipstick to buy, ask her. She knows all the different kinds.”
Hayek says she see a lot of herself in Valentina these days. “When she comes up with an idea she gets lost in it just like I do,” she says, describing her little girl as passionate and creative. “I see it when she writes and especially when she dances—she loves jazz, lyrical, and musical theater. But she’s also independent like her father, where she still needs her time alone to work on things. I’m Mexican, so we don’t really know what quiet time is.”
The other important way that Valentina takes after her mom? Her passion for giving back.
Late last year, Hayek took Valentina to South Africa with mothers2mothers, an organization that employs HIV-positive women as “Mentor Mothers” who help prevent the mother to child transmission of HIV in their community.
“Even though Valentina is young, it was important to me that she understands the challenges that people face in other parts of the world,” says Hayek, who has been a patron of mothers2mothers for one year, since learning about the initiative through singer Annie Lennox and her husband, the organization’s founder, Dr. Mitch Besser. “She got to work, like I did. She was playing games with the children who have been affected by this disease—singing and dancing with them too.”
As a mother herself, Hayek says the trip took on a very special meaning to her. “mothers2mothers is different than other organizations because not only is it working to improve the health of women and families, but it’s also empowering women to help other women through their treatment journey.”
The “Mentor Mothers” spend their time ensuring that other moms living with the virus get the medication, clinical services, and support they need, so that they will not pass the HIV virus onto their children during pregnancy and childhood.
VIDEO: Inside Salma Hayek's Touching Trip To South Africa with mothers2Mothers
“On the trip, I asked one of the mentors, ‘Have you ever considered how many children you’ve saved from AIDS with your work?’ She said ‘no’, but it ended up being in the thousands,” says Hayek. “It takes an army to beat this disease and in South Africa I saw a really big army in action.”
Proud that she was able to share the experience with her daughter, Hayek says she hopes the trip will be one that will continue to inspire her little one to help others. “I want it to become second nature to her,” she says. “But I also can’t have expectations for her to be exactly like I am. I want her to do it in her own way too.”
One of the biggest lessons that Hayek says she’s learned as a mom is to accept your children for who they are rather than who you want them to be, something that she tries to do every day with Valentina.
“There’s a poem that I love by Kahlil Gibran called, 'On Children' and it reads, ‘Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.’ It’s an amazing reminder as a parent to honor your child and their individuality.”
For more information on mothers2mothers, visit m2m.org.