Though she still loves dance, Penélope Cruz became fascinated by film when she was about 11. Her father supported her interests by buying her a Betamax machine – a luxury item in their working-class neighborhood.
Cruz realized that while she loved dancing, she wanted to try acting. In between dancing, she was going from audition to audition to try to break into the Spanish film industry. She finally got her big break when she beat out 300 other young girls at an audition for a local talent agency. The beautiful brunette was soon on her way to Hollywood!
Putting That Energy to Good Use
Penélope Cruz admits that as a child she was brimming with seemingly boundless amounts of energy, so much so that her parents would often drop her off at her grandparents’ home to get a bit of a break!
She also admitted that because she was and was so “strong and opinionated”, she would often fight with the other children around her, causing some issues at school. While difficult for her parents to handle, all of that energy would propel her to do well in her other love - dance.
A natural performer with tons of energy, young Penélope Cruz was accepted into Spain’s prestigious National Conservatory. There, she studied classical ballet and jazz dance for close to a decade.
It was during this time that she decided to follow her dreams of becoming a dancer and moved to New York City to study dance and theater. She even told “60 Minutes” correspondent Charlie Rose about how her feet would be so damaged from dancing that her toenails would fall off and she wouldn’t notice! We’re sure she doesn’t have this problem as an actress.
The Director of Her Future
Described by her former agent as “absolutely magic,” Penélope Cruz simply blew casting agents away with her effortless presence and talent.
Though she had been rejected many times due to her age and lack of experience, she finally found an agency that would help launch her show biz dreams. One of those dreams was being able to work with Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar who had directed the 1990 film, “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down” - a film that Penélope says inspired her to begin acting! Little did she know, she would become Almodóvar’s muse!
Start of Something
Fueled by her newfound desire to become an actress, Penélope Cruz found herself locked away at home watching movie after movie in order to study film legends. Her dedication soon resulted in a role in a music video for Spanish pop band Mecano’s song, “La Fuerza del Destino”.
She could now say that she had experience in front of the camera. She also appeared as Sleeping Beauty in the Spanish children's television show 'Los Mundos de Yupi'. Though she was a young teen, audiences and talent agents knew that young Penélope possessed a huge amount of talent!