Beautiful PenÃ©lope Cruz has been our favorite Spanish import since she got us to open our eyes and see her for the talented actress she is. PenÃ©lope Cruz Sanchez was born on April 28, 1974 in Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain. As a child, she had dreams of being a dancer and studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain's National Conservatory. She was also trained in ballet and jazz by some of Spain's most prominent dancers. At 15, she decided to focus her career on acting and after getting a talent agent, got roles in Spanish TV shows and music videos. Her first film role was in 1992's JamÃ³n, jamÃ³n with Javier Bardem. She then appeared in the Academy Award-winning film Belle Ã‰poque. Her star continued to rise in Spain and in 1997 she starred in the acclaimed Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) and worked in her first film with legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, Live Flesh. She won her first Goya award (the Spanish equivalent of the Oscar) for her performance in the 1998 film The Girl of Your Dreams. The next year, she re-teamed with Almodovar to play an angelic but troubled nun in the international hit All About My Mother. The success of the film in the US led PenÃ©lope to her American film debut in 2000's Woman on Top. She went on to star in All The Pretty Horses with Matt Damon and Blow with Johnny Depp. In 2001, she starred in the American remake of Open Your Eyes, Vanilla Sky. The film got mixed reviews, but PenÃ©lope landed the leading man, Tom Cruise, whom she dated for three years. She also was romantically involved with her Sahara co-star Matthew McConaughey. In 2006, she was nominated for an Oscar and won her second Goya for Volver, her third collaboration with Almodovar. She is currently seeing fellow Spanish actor Javier Bardem. Her upcoming film Vicky Christina Barcelona, directed by Woody Allen is already getting buzz because of a steamy make-out scene with co-star Scarlett Johansson. With a number of projects, including another film with Almodovar, who considers her his muse, you can be sure that you'll be seeing mÃ¡s PenÃ©lope.
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