Salma Hayek on Valentina, values, and her nontraditional relationship

Salma Hayek wears many hats — actress, producer, activist, and most recently, mother. With the September arrival of Valentina Paloma, her daughter with PPR CEO François-Henri Pinault, the 41-year-old multitasker has more on her plate than ever before.

Sitting down for a Glamour interview in her kitchen with V-Day founder Eve Ensler, Salma nurses her now 5-month-old baby girl and chats about her pregnancy (yes, she did have gestational diabetes), her hopes for Valentina, and just how it is you keep a relationship going when your fiancé lives on the other side of the world.

Click below for the interview highlights.

On the transition to motherhood:

I believe that change keeps you young. I’m alate bloomer; I always have been. I’m 41, and I know a lot of womenthink that this is the time when you start getting depressed. To that Isay, “No, no, no, no, no!” I’m having the best time of my life.

The best thing that’s ever happened to me isthis thing that has happened to so many women, which is having a baby.Every second is magical, every smile.

I cannot get enough of it,because I am not sitting here thinking, "What am I going to do with mylife?" I’ve already established my career. I think it’s very good tohave a child at this age. I’m in a great place.

On her pregnancy:

I really embraced pregnancy. I enjoyed it. Itcame to me and I said, “OK, this is where I go now.” I had diabeteswhile I was pregnant. I became huge. And I said, “This is what it takesfor me to have this baby, and I really want it.”    

Then you don’t know ifit’s going to be healthy; you are completely out of control. So theexperience really makes you humble.

On what has surprised her most:

Well, I have to confess something — I wanted a boy. At the beginning I did. Probably because I wasafraid. I think women suffer a bit more than boys, and there is alwaysconflict between mothers and daughters.  

But now that she’s here, I’m sohappy she’s a girl. And I can’t imagine there ever being conflictbetween us, because I’m in a state of innocence where I love everythingshe does. If she does a poop and I have to change the diaper, I lovethat moment!

On how Valentina has changed her personally:

I don’t remember very well who I was before.Part of me feels like it’s so new and so strange to have a baby, andpart of me feels like I’ve known [her] face forever. Somehow I amreally relaxed within the chaos of having a baby — and anyone who’s amother knows it’s very hard to relax, because there is so much to doand worry about!

I just feel so fortunate to be her mother, and itmakes me excited about the rest of my life, because I will get towitness her transformation every day. I feel I was born to have thisgirl.

On how François is with Valentina:

He warned me from the beginning that he getsvery nervous when babies are so little — he thinks he’s going to breakthem! But he plays with her, sleeps with her, loves her, kisses her.He’s not obsessed like me. But he’s had two [babies] before!

How their relationship works — François lives in Paris, Salma in LA.

To most women it’s crazy. But everyrelationship is unique, and in order to make it work you have to bewilling to listen — not only to your partner, but to the relationshipitself. You have to be brave enough to say, “This is who we are: Wemight not look like the perfect couple, or like our parents did, butthis is our love story.”

On if she wishes they could be together more often:

Wishing is a good thing. But wishing you couldbe together more is so much better than wishing you could get the hellaway from someone. [laughs]

François is very generous in hisrespect for me: He not only gets out of my way, but he’s completelysupportive. He pushes me in the right direction. He challenges me witha sense of humor.

I feel lucky to have found a man who is so smart andsuccessful in his own right, so there is no competition between us. Heunderstands I was happy and had a great life before I met him.

On if marriage is something she cares about — she and François are currently engaged:

Right now I am just enjoying my baby. Do Ithink we are going to get married? Probably. Will it make a difference?I hope not.

I don’t have a need for marriage. You want to grow old withsomeone, you want to have a partner and to have children — we have allthose things. Some people need the commitment. Maybe we’ll just makethe party!

On her hopes for Valentina:

Life will always be a struggle, and we willalways have to work on making the world a better place. But then,working at it is what brings people together.

I hope Valentina will bemuch more involved than I have been, and smarter about it than I was,because she will grow up in the middle of our conversation and it willbe a part of her everyday life. I will make sure she has activists andartists to talk to, and she is very lucky in that respect, because I’vesurrounded myself with extraordinary human beings in many differentareas. She will grow up listening to conversations that she’ll beprivileged to hear.

Perfection is the end of evolution. Sothere will always be something to work on. And what’s great is that Iknow she’ll be part of it.

Source: Glamour, April issue

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