"I'm not the new Penelope Cruz. I'm Paz Vega. There's only one Penelope and she's marvelous." Paz Vega
Spanish actress Paz Vega initially gained wide recognition in her home country while portraying the title role of Lucia in Julio Medem's romantic drama Sex and Lucia (2001). More recent, the actress who was first noticed for playing Laura in the Spanish series 7 vidas, also appeared in the Spanish films Nobody Knows Anybody (1999) and the award winning Talk to Her (2002). Recently, she stepped into Hollywood playing Mexican housekeeper Flor Moreno in James L. Brooks' romantic comedy/drama Spanglish (2004, alongside Adam Sandler and Tea Leoni).
As for her upcoming film projects, the 5' 8" inches tall actress is scheduled to star in two European films: Ángel en la oscuridad, Un and Teresa.
Childhood and Family:
Paz Campos Trigo was born on January 2, 1976, in Sevilla, Spain. She considered becoming a politician and studied journalism for two years. Later, she opted for a future career in acting and signed up with the high-status Centro Andaluz de Teatro acting school. She also changed her name to Paz Vega, after her grandmother's surname, which means "peace meadow" in English.
While spending her vacation on a Spanish island, Paz met a Venezuelan man named Orson Salazar. The two became a couple and exchanged wedding vows in 2002. They happily live in Madrid, Spain.
"I am only an actress when they say, 'action' and I stop being an actress when they say 'cut.' I am a normal person outside of acting." Paz Vega
Originally dreaming of becoming a sports star and politician, 15-year-old Paz Vega changed her mind and opted for an acting career after watching a performance of Federico García Lorca's La Casa de Bernarda Alba. Vega dropped out of school at age 16 and subsequently signed up with the prestigious Centro Andaluz de Teatro acting school, which she attended for two years. She later chased fame in Madrid and worked in bars while going to auditions.
Vega's first public appearance was in three episodes of the Spanish series Menudo es mi padre and as a guest in an episode of the series Crónicas marcianas in November of 1997. She followed it up with regular roles in the series Mas que amigos (1997) and Companeros (1998) as well as starring in the 17-minute comedy, Manuel Ríos San Martín's Perdón, perdón (1998, alongside Alberto San Juan).
Juan Manuel Chumilla's dramatic comedy Zapping (1999, costarring Natalia Dicenta) was Vega's debut acting work in a motion picture. In the film, she played the lead role of Elvira, a sexy and seductive vixen that steals another woman's husband. Also in 1999, she played the supporting role of Azafata in Alfonso Albacete and David Menkes' romantic comedy Sobreviviré (a.k.a. I Will Survive, starring Emma Suarez).
The portrayal of Laura, a lively Andalucian girl who became David's roommate (played by Toni Cantó) in the long-lived comedy series 7 vidas (1999-present), was Vega's breakout role. She portrayed the part for one season (1999-2000, reportedly reprised her role in 2005) and attracted director Mateo Gil's attention. Gil later handed her the role of Eduardo Noriega's girlfriend, Ariadna, in his adaptation of Juan Bonilla's novel, Nadie conoce a nadie ( a.k.a. Nobody Knows Anybody, also with Natalia Verbeke).
Entering the new millennium, Vega starred in the 15-minute drama Chico en la puerta, El (2000, a.k.a. Wrinkle Movie) and won the acclaimed role of lonely waitress Lucia in Julio Medem's romantic drama Lucía y el sexo (2001, a.k.a. Sex and Lucia, opposite Tristán Ulloa). Vega's performance received rave reviews from critics and nabbed her several awards, including the Goya, Sant Jordi and Ondas Awards.
"What I liked the most about Lucia was how pretty, positive and courageous she was. I would like to have some of that." Paz Vega
Following the triumph of her previous film, Vega scored the significant role of Sergi Lopez's abused wife Angela in Javier Balaguer's Solo Mia (2001, a.k.a. Mine Alone, costarring Elvira Minguez). In the next year, she was cast in Pedro Almodóvar's highly praised movie, the drama Hable con ella ( a.k.a. Talk to Her, starring Javier Cámara and Darío Grandinetti) and in Emilio Martínez Lázaro's musical romantic comedy Otro lado de la cama, El (a.k.a. The Other Side of the Bed), playing Ernesto Alterio's spouse Sonia. Vega also costarred with Eduardo Noriega, Anna Mouglalis and Nathalie Richard in Jean-Pierre Limosin's romantic comedy Novo (as Isabelle).
Vega added to her acting resume the title role of Carmen in Vicente Aranda's drama Carmen (2003) and the starring role of Estrella Cuevas in Juan Calvo's comedy Di que sí (2004). She also knocked on Hollywood's door with her debut work as Flor Moreno, a sincere, loving single mother who becomes Adam Sandler and Téa Leoni's beautiful Mexican maid, in James L. Brooks' romantic comedy Spanglish (2004).
As for her upcoming film projects, Vega will star in two Spanish films. Fans can catch her as Adriana in Raúl García's thriller Ángel en la oscuridad, Un and she will join Victoria Abril and Viggo Mortensen in Ray Lorigas' drama Teresa.
"I don't want to play only Latin women. I want to have roles in English." Paz Vega
- Goya Awards: Best New Actress, Lucía Y El Sexo, 2002
- Sant Jordi Awards: Best Spanish Actress, Lucía Y El Sexo, 2002
- Ondas Awards: Best Actress, Lucía Y El Sexo, 2001