“We all lie a little bit.”
The last place you would expect to find support for someone who co-opted a Spanish heritage that wasn’t theirs to claim would be from someone of Spanish heritage. But that’s just what happened when Andy Cohen asked Salma Hayek about Hilaria Baldwin’s Spanish-gate scandal.
The topic came up during her appearance on his radio show while they were talking about Salma’s recurring role on “30 Rock,” where she played Alec Baldwin’s boyfriend. Obviously, Andy couldn’t resist getting Salma’s opinion on the controversy.
But based on his surprised his silence through much of her response, we suspect Andy was a little gobsmacked by her reaction. It’s not easy to leave Andy Cohen speechless, but Salma pulled it off.
“We all lie a little bit,” Salma said at first, admitting that Hilaria had even “fooled” her. But mostly she emphasized that Hilaria “makes my friend happy,” referring to Alec. She also praised Hilaria as a good mother to five children and a good person.
But perhaps her most surprising response was to be “honored” and “proud” that Hilaria wants to claim Spanish heritage.
Hilariously, Salma seemed to know that this might not be the answer Andy or his listeners expected from her, or perhaps even wanted. “You know, I don’t care,” she admitted. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to betray or hurt anybody’s feelings and I don’t know if it’s right or if it’s wrong.”
“It makes me feel proud that people are inspired,” she said. “I think she’s smart to want to be Spanish. We’re cool, you know?”
The whole twisted saga took off unexpectedly after Hilaria posted an emotional video about being body-shamed. But it wasn’t the photo that people latched onto, it was her lack of any discernible accent.
Hilaria had claimed to be from Spain and had been known to have a Spanish accent from time to time in public and televised appearances, and even struggled to remember the English word for “cucumber” once.
Hilaria’s truth is that she was born Hilary in Boston. She did spend time growing up in Spain, where she went by Hilaria, and said in one of her several responses to the controversy that she and Alec are raising her family bilingual and fully embracing both parts of her heritage.
Alec publicly defended his wife in a video shared to his Instagram. Although he never mentioned her by name, he said, “There are things that have been said lately about people that I love, that I care about deeply, which are just ridiculous. I would say the majority of what’s been said… is false.”
Hilaria went on to set the record straight in an interview with the New York Times, in which she denied hiding anything, blamed others on misrepresenting her, detailed why her accent comes and goes, and even explained why she couldn’t remember the English word for “cucumber.”
Ultimately, Salma said she’s not going to judge Hilaria based on this one thing. “She’s not a bad person,” explained Salma, saying Hilaria is “a good person, a good mother and a good wife. She makes my friend happy, she’s very kind to me and that’s all I care about.”
Further, she went so far as to say she felt “honored that somebody wants their alter ego to be something that is similar to my roots.” As she explained, her maternal grandparents are Spanish, so it is her true heritage.
She did at least concede one agreed-upon point, telling Andy, ” It is a bizarre story, but don’t we all create our own character in life?”
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