Salma Hayek has been charming audiences since her 1983 TV debut in Mexico. Her first American film was Mi vida loca, followed by Robert Rodriguez's Roadracers. The Rodriguez-Hayek partnership continued for years, working together on Desperado, Four Rooms, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Faculty and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. After years of acting and proving to be not only one of the most successful and talented Latina actresses working in film and TV, her passion and talent led her to a develop a very personal project that took seven years to get made. She produced and starred in the biopic Frida which was nominated for six Oscars, including a Best Actress nomination for her portrayal of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. When the production finally came together, Hayek turned all of her attention on playing the title character, which was in and of itself, an epic challenge. She spoke about the experience in an interview with IGN.

Honestly, it is definitely by far the most complex character I have ever played and maybe the most complex character I will ever play. But it was not the most challenging one. When you are so passionate about something and when you love someone so much, it's easy to feel their pain. But I played a part before that was the most challenging part for me because it confronted me with my biggest phobia and that was From Dusk Till Dawn.

That's right. Her most challenging role was playing the vampire-snake-goddess, Santanico Pandemonium.

Do you know what it was like to dance with that snake in a bikini? That's probably the biggest challenge I have ever encountered. Frida was a joy, this was delicious, I couldn't wait everyday to get to the set, although I was exhausted, and have my leg get cut off or lose the baby or be in her shoes and get to play my hero and be able to go places emotionally. You know we live for parts like this. This is a dream for an actor. But to have to put on a bikini and dance with a snake that's 11 feet long and make it organic? I went to the extent that I created a relationship with this snake. I mean in my mind it had to have a meaning so that I could go into a trance. I had to go to hypnosis. It was months of preparation for that one dance. And to me it wasn't a dance, it was a ritual. I investigated snakes and I found that in some cultures it means your inner power. So that was a dance with my inner powers. I was not just dancing, it had a meaning to it. So that was really, really challenging.

Watch Salma's very sexy snake dance and her Oscar-nominated performance in Frida, tell us your favorite Salma character in the poll below and don't forget to wish her a very happy birthday!