Born in the capital of Spain, Madrid Penélope Cruz was originally a dancer and a star of Spanish television.
She made her acting debut at 16 on television, and her feature film debut the following year in Jamón, jamón (1992). In the 1990s and 2000s she starred in Open Your Eyes (1997), The Hi-Lo Country (1999), The Girl of Your Dreams (2000) and Woman on Top (2000). The year 2001 was the most successful to Cruz as she achieved worldwide recognition after the leading roles in “Blow” and “Vanilla Sky”.
In 2006, she became spokesmodel for L’Oréal promoting such products as the L’Oréal Paris hair dye Natural Match and L’Oreal mascara products. Cruz appears in television commercials and print ads for the company. She receives $2 million a year for her work in L’Oréal. Cruz has appeared in print ads for Mango and had a contract with Ralph Lauren in 2001.
Cruz was ranked as No. 58 in Maxim’s Hot 100 of 2007 list, and was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Movie Stars in the world. She was also ranked on Askmen.com’s Most Desirable Women of 2008 at No. 26, in 2009 at No. 25, and in 2010 at No. 7. In April 2010, she replaced Kate Winslet as the new face and ambassador of Lancôme’s Trésor fragrance. Lancôme has signed Cruz as the brand’s third superstar spokesmodel, along with Julia Roberts and Kate Winslet.
On the cover of Spanish Vogue’s December 2010 issue, she agreed to be photographed by fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh only if her pregnancy not be shown. In 2011, The Telegraph reported the most sought after body parts of the rich and famous revealed by two Hollywood plastic surgeons who carried out a survey among their patients to build up the picture of the perfect woman. Under the category of the most sought after body shape Penelope Cruz, known for her voluptuous figure, was voted as having the top body with Gisele Bundchen and Jennifer Aniston finishing the top three. Men’s Health named her one of the “100 Hottest Women of All-Time”, ranking her at No. 32.
She also donates money to charity. She volunteered in Uganda and India. In 2000, she spent time in Nepal photographing Tibetan children for an exhibition attended by the Dalai Lama. She also photographed residents at the Pacific Lodge Boys’ Home, most of whom are former gang members and recovering substance abusers. Being pregnant she took part in the battle against AIDS lightning up the Empire State Building with red lights on December 1, 2010 on International AIDS Day.