Born on the 28th April of 1974, in Madrid , Spain , Penelope Cruz was Eduardo's and Encarna's first child followed with another son and daughter.
Young Penelope attended High School, but didn't finish it since she chose to concentrate more on ballet and jazz. She has ten years of classic ballet and three years of Spanish ballet training. She also concentrated four years in Theatre at Cristina Rota's school in New York .
In the year 1992, Penelope Cruz starred in Jamón Jamón and Belle Epoque. Jamón Jamón (Ham Ham is the English title) cast her as the desperate poor daughter of a village prostitute, while Belle Epoque featured her as one of four lusty daughters of a wealthy man in pre-Franco Spain .
Belle Epoque was a hit, winning nine Goya Awards, which is the Spanish equivelant to the Oscars and it also won an Oscar for the Best Foreign Film. The success of this film put Cruz into the International spotlight thus proving to be a huge boost for her career.
In 1998, Cruz first stared in an English language film. She played the Mexican-American love interest in Stephen Frears' The Hi-Lo Country. At the end of 1998 fans saw her again starring in another English film, a romantic comedy 'Twice Upon a Yesterday'.
She returned to Spain in 1999 to work with Almodovar in Todo 'Sobre Mi Madre' (All About My Mother), a critically acclaimed film that landed in Cannes that year. She also began work in 'All the Pretty Horses', with costar Matt Damon. The movie debuted in the year 2000.
In early 2001, she starred both in the film 'Abre los ojos' and its Hollywood remake Vanilla Sky. In 2006 Cruz co-starred with best friend, Salma Hayek in 'Bandidas'. She received raving reviews for her performance in Pedro Almodóvar's Volver in 2006.
She won a Best Actress ensemble award at the Cannes Film Festival and has been nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and BAFTA Award. She is the first Spanish Actress to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.