August 12, 2015 08:00 PM

Audiences may adore Salma Hayek‘s work, but the superstar had a difficult time winning over her youngest fan, her daughter Valentina Paloma, as she worked on her latest project.

“She was very resentful of the film because it took her mom away for so long,” Hayek, a producer and voice artist in Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, told PEOPLE after Mamarazzi’s New York City screening of the movie on Thursday.

But Valentina’s charming reaction to the film made up for her initial skepticism. “When she saw it, she said, ‘I’m so proud of you. I love the film.’ And she wrote a poem, and she made a drawing when she went home,” explains Hayek.


Hayek hopes that the film — a visually dynamic and emotionally expressive animated feature that costars Liam Neeson and Quvenzhané Wallis — will inspire children like her daughter to dream creatively.

“I always tell [Valentina] that she can only go be the best person that she can be if she comes outside of [her] comfort [zone]. When you are just doing the things that you like and that you’re comfortable with, you are not evolving, which means your spirit and your mind is not growing,” Hayek said to the audience during a question-and-answer session after the film.

“There are so many places inside of you that you can discover that maybe we didn’t get to discover yet, but you can show us the way, and this is why it’s important to think outside the box.”

Last month, Hayek brought her mini-me to the Los Angeles premiere of The Prophet, where Hayek told PEOPLE that the film had a profound effect on her daughter. “For her, after seeing this movie, she doesn’t see death in the same way. She did a drawing of my grandmother’s tomb. She never met my grandmother. She was sad she was dead,” Hayek recalled.

“Now after seeing the movie, in the drawing, my grandmother was released from the ground and she’s a spirit among us. That’s pretty awesome.”

Though Valentina is Hayek’s only child with her billionaire husband François-Henri Pinault, Hayek feels like she has another baby: The Prophet!

“I always say that for me it was like being pregnant for four and a half years,” she says of the production process. “And now I gave birth to my child!”

— Emily Zauzmer

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