Actress. Born Penélope Cruz Sanchez on April 28, 1974 in San Sebastain de los Reyes, Madrid, Spain. Her father, Eduardo, worked as a car mechanic and her mother, Encarna, was a hairdresser. Cruz was born as the eldest of three and a natural performer; Penélope amused her family as a child by re-enacting TV commercials for their entertainment. Although a natural actress, she took up dance for her choice of performance arts. She studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain’s National Conservatory and moved to New York to dance under a series of prominent performers.
When she was 15 years old, Cruz found her true vocation after beating out 300 other girls at a talent agency competition. Following this early success, she landed several roles as a dancer for music videos and on Spanish TV as the host of La Quinta Marcha. Cruz also explored her more sensual side in the French erotic TV series, Serie Rose.
In 1992, she made her film debut in the dark film, Jamón Jamón. The film’s director, who had been unable to cast Cruz as the lead in another film because of her young age, waited until she was old enough for his next film. Her performance earned Cruz a nomination for Best Newcomer by the Spanish Actors’ Union, Best Lead Actress from the Goya awards (Spain’s Academy Awards), and Fotogramas de Plata’s Best Movie Actress. A year later, Cruz played Luz in The Age of Beauty (1992). The film won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, virtually swept the Goya Awards, and earned Cruz the Spanish Actors’ Union Award for Best Supporting Performance.
With an impressive apprenticeship to the craft, Cruz earned her place in Spanish cinema as a leading lady. Her resume continued to grow over the following few years, clocking up three or four films each year. In 1997, Cruz took the role of Isabel Plaza Caballero in Carne Tremula, for which she garnered more critical recognition. This was the first time she worked with internationally renowned director Pedro Almodóvar, who in turn became a life-long friend—and her vehicle for global fame. Two years later, Cruz landed a role in another film directed by Almodóvar, Todo Sobre Mi Madre. The Spanish film won an Oscar and a BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film. With a series of well-respected movies under her belt, Cruz was in demand on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
At the age of 25, Cruz made the bold decision to move to Hollywood, California. Fully in command and on top of her career, she took on the role of a control freak and successful chef in Woman on Top (2000) and as the romantic lead in Billy Bob Thornton’s western, All the Pretty Horses (2000), both of which received critical success. Her next film, Abre Los Ojos, caught the attention of director Cameron Crowe and film icon Tom Cruise. Impressed by the script and the actress, the duo created an American remake of the film, called Vanilla Sky (2001). The movie helped make Cruz a crossover success. During this time she also began dating her co-star, Tom Cruise, putting her firmly in American headlines.İngilizce Performans Ödevi