Salma Hayek Pinault may be best known as an actor, but she’s also a passionate activist helping women affected by abuse. For the past 15 years, she has worked with her husband, François-Henri Pinault, the chairman and CEO of the luxury group Kering, which owns Gucci, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, and other brands, on multiple initiatives to end gender-based violence through their Kering Foundation.
On Tuesday night at the Pool in New York, Hayek Pinault helmed the Kering Foundation’s second annual Caring for Women Dinner, an ultraglamorous, black-tie affair with Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCaprio, Zoë Kravitz, and Channing Tatum all in attendance. The high-wattage guests aided Hayek Pinault in raising funds for nongovernmental organizations that work to support abused women.
“I have been fighting for women’s rights and domestic violence for over 30 years because it’s about dignity. It is so important to speak out when a woman is being abused because in fighting for women, we are fighting for humanity,” Hayek Pinault told Vanity Fair. “Why domestic violence? Do I come from domestic violence? No. I never experienced domestic violence at home. I want to help because I want to help empower women and make a contribution in a world where I want to be a part of. I did it when you couldn’t get any support. So it means a lot even though we are still fighting, and sometimes it goes up and down, but now I don’t feel as alone as I did that many years ago. So it’s important to keep that fight going.”
Hayek Pinault’s advocacy, which has taken her around the world, has had a positive impact on the lives of others as well as on her own outlook. “I’ve done a lot of fieldwork so when you see and experience some of the different challenges that are truly only imaginable, you come back and see your problems, then you go, ‘Okay. What are you going to do about it?’” she said. “Go travel the world. See other people. Be with other people who are in worse situations and things fall into perspective.”