Salma Hayek: Women in their 50s have consumer power way more than before, and the means to buy

Bafta-winning actress Salma Hayek spoke of the power of women in their fifties, and called for brands to take notice, at today's Advertising Week Europe event. Lucy Handley reports

Director, actress and activist Salma Hayek has called on brands and businesses to realise that women in their fifties are one of the most powerful groups of consumers to reach.

Speaking at an event at Bafta in London this morning she said: “Advertisers are making an effort [to portray powerful women].” 

“First, women in their 50s have a lot more of the means to buy things. It is not like before [when advertising] people said ‘If you are 50 you are finished’.

“You are supposed to be ugly, not work and stay at home; you are done. You sort of surrendered to what they told you you were supposed to be. No, that isn’t happening any more. I am hot and I am smart.”

Hayek, who says her role as producer and star in 2002 film Frida was one of her proudest moments, also wants the media to represent women in a more realistic way. “I don’t want to be a stick. I want curves, I want to be healthy,” she said.

Women in advertising

“I think that advertising is beginning to discover who we are and what we want, [rather than] before when they were saying ‘this is what you are supposed to be’. We are empowering ourselves more and more and the consumer is changing the advertising.”

Hayek, 48, has worked with cosmetics company Avon on a campaign to end domestic violence against women, and cited it as the brand partnership she is most proud of.

Speaking at the Advertising Week Europe event she said: “Avon just wanted a face… [but] I went to them to ask if they would work with me on domestic violence. I convinced them, and we raised $90 million.” 

She was aware of Avon in her native Mexico because it had ’empowered women financially’, by allowing them to set up their own small businesses selling cosmetics. 

Salma Hayek: charity work

The star also spoke about her work as co-founder of Chime for Change, a charity set up by Gucci to help to educate, provide healthcare and raise human rights issues for women around the world.

“You do not have to be famous or rich to reach out and extend a hand. If you donate just $5 you can’t begin to imagine the ripple effect,” she said. 

She also announced that she is using social media for the first time, including Facebook and Instagram, to communicate with fans and to raise awareness of the issues she campaigns for.

Weekly newsletter