The 48-year-old star opens up about aging and the secret to staying sexy.

By Catherine DiBenedetto
Updated June 10, 2015
Credit: Getty Images

When Salma Hayek was launching her career, “hot” was not a descriptor she welcomed. The actress wanted to be recognized for her work, not her looks, she told reporters at the Spike Guys Choice Awards last weekend, according to People. “When you start you’re like, ‘No, I want them to see me for my talent, and know me as an actress.”

Now—at age 48 and with a seven-year-old daughter—Hayek feels a little differently about the word: “I’m like, ‘Bring it on!’” she said, referring to the Decade of Hotness trophy she received at the celeb-studded event (which airs on Spike TV on June 18 at 9 p.m. ET). “You really like to be ‘hot’ after you’re 40.”

Hayek recalled the first time she was described as a “bombshell” 20 years ago, after co-starring with Antonio Banderas in the 1995 film Desperado. “My English was worse than now, and I read the reviews that, ‘Salma Hayek was a bombshell,’ and to me this means that I was terrible, that I had bombed!” she said. “Everyone told me, ‘No, no, it means that you’re great, that you’re sexy!’ And [I was like], ‘That’s it? They didn’t talk about my acting?’”

But the sizzling star, who recently spoke out about gender inequality in Hollywood, admitted at the awards ceremony that “as the years go by, the ‘hotness’ acknowledgment becomes more and more precious to a woman,” EW reported.

Looking sexy, she explained, is really about how you feel: “You know what makes you ‘hot’? When you have the hots for someone," Hayek said. "I have the hots for my husband [French businessman François-Henri Pinault]. ... When you like somebody it comes out of you, almost naturally, and you’re motivated. Love motivates you. It's the right chemistry.”

In the past, Hayek has also credited a little help from above. On The Late Show with David Letterman, she's confessed that as a late blooming adolescent, she and her mom traveled to the church of a saint who performs miracles to pray for boobs: “I put my hands in holy water—this is the recipe, girls out there—and I said, ‘Please God, give me some breasts!’ And he gave me them!”