9 Things You Didn't Know About Paz Vega (PHOTOS)

01/02/2014 12:56 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Paz Vega!

The Spanish actress -- best known in the U.S. for her role in "Spanglish" -- is turning 38 today! Her debut in Hollywood may have come after more than a dozen roles on television and film in her native Spain, but Vega has left her mark on the silver screen. Whether it's as a Maxim hottie or a group of Andalusian horses (more on this below), Paz Vega and her career seem only to be growing stronger with time.

To celebrate the Spanish beauty's birthday, we compiled a list of 9 things you didn't know about the star.

  • 1 She Studied Journalism But...
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    She dropped out and moved to Madrid to pursue acting. We're sure Paz would have been a great journalist but we're glad she followed her passion. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Cedars-Sinai Women's Cancer Program)
  • 2 Her Father Was A Bullfighter
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    ¡Olé! Not to mention her sister is a Flamenco dancer. Talk about some strong Spanish roots. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
  • 3 She Was In "Friends" -- Sort Of
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    Vega's big break came in the form the long-running and beloved Spanish sitcom "7 Vidas." ("7 Lives) The series was billed as the Spanish version of the American hit sitcom "Friends." (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts)
  • 4 She Is NOT the "New Penelope Cruz"
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    The actress is often compared to fellow Spanish bombshell Penelope Cruz, but Vega has said that while she feels "honored" to be compared to Cruz she is her own person. "I'm not the new Penélope Cruz. I'm Paz Vega. There's only one Penélope and she's marvelous" (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Vogue)
  • 5 Her Husband Is Venezuelan
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    Vega may have strong roots in Spain, but it doesn't mean she doesn't have a lot of love for Latin America. The star married Venezuelan Orson Salazar in 2002 and they currently have 3 kids. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
  • 6 Is A Maxim Hottie
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    Vega made the "Maxim Hot 100" list in 2008. The star was #85. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Bulgari)
  • 7 Paz Vega Is Not Her Real Name
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    Though it's not far from the real deal. Paz's stage name is comprised of her first name and her grandmother's surname. The actress, however, was born Paz Campos Trigo.
  • 8 She Played A Horse(s)
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    Vega lent her voice to the Andalusian horses in the animated film Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • 9 She's Antonio Bandera's "Golden Secret"
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    It's no secret that Antonio Banderas is the King of Spanish sensuality, but when the actor released his fragrance for women he needed to call in some sexy reinforcement. Banderas enlisted the help of Vega to promote and launch "Her Golden Secret" and even made this sensual promotional teaser.
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