Penelope Cruz is an award-winning actress who is known for her beauty and acting talent. She was born April 28th, 1974 in Alcobendas, Community of Madrid, Spain. Her full name is actually Penelope Cruz Sandchez but she shortened her name for her career. From an early age, Cruz loved to be in the spotlight and her family encouraged her performing talents. She studied ballet at Spain's National Conservatory for nine years and trained under many prominent dancers.
When Cruz was 15 years old, she auditioned for an acting talent agency and beat over 300 different applicants. Penelope Cruz was 16 when she appeared in her first film and got several major roles in films including "Jamon, jamon" and "Belle Epoque". In 1999, Cruz was in the film "All About My Mother" which was directed by Pedro Almodovar. She would work closely with the director in later roles.
While Cruz was in many films through the first half of 2000, she did not gain significant attention until 2006. In this year, she starred in "Bandidas" and "Volver". She was nominated for several awards for her performances, including the Golden Globe and Academy Award. The 2008 film "Elegy" showed Penelope Cruz's ability to perform in English-speaking roles and she began to appear in more Hollywood productions. She had appeared in many other English language films before this but the roles usually required an accent or typecast Cruz. The 2008 film "Vicky Christina Barcelona" got Cruz her first Academy Award.
Penelope Cruz is very active in charitable work and went to Uganda for two months in 1997 as a volunteer. Cruz has been a vegetarian since 2000. She has been in relationships with actors Tom Cruise, Mathew McConaughey, and Javier Bardeem.