Introducing…. Penélope Cruz
Penélope Cruz was born in Alcobendas, Community of Madrid, on 28 April 1974.
She studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain’s National Conservatory, then received three years of Spanish Ballet training and four years of theater at Cristina Rota’s New York school. In 1989 Cruz won an audition at a talent agency. She went on to appear on tv and in music videos.
Cruz’s first major films were Jamón, jamón and Belle Époque, and she went on to star in American films such as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Blow, and Vanilla Sky. She has also worked with She is known for her work with the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar.
Cruz donates time and money to charity, owns a clothing store, has designed a jewelry line and has been and is the face of various advertising campaigns.
Penélope Cruz speaks Spanish, French, English and Italian. She learned Italian especially to star in the film Don’t Move.
Facts on Spain:
Year of EU entry: 1986
Political system: Constitutional monarchy
Capital city: Madrid
Total area: 504 782 km²
Population: 45.3 million
Official EU language: Spanish
High plateaux and mountain ranges such as the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada dominate mainland Spain. Running from these heights are several major rivers such as the Ebro, the Duero, the Tagus and the Guadalquivir. The Balearic Islands lie offshore in the Mediterranean while the autonomous Canary Islands are to be found off the African coast.
Spain is a constitutional monarchy, with a hereditary monarch and a parliament with two chambers: the Cortes. The 1978 constitution values linguistic and cultural diversity within a united Spain. The country is divided into 17 autonomous communities (regions) which all have their own directly elected authorities. In Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia, the regional languages have official status alongside the national Spanish language, which is also called Castilian.
Spain’s service and manufacturing sectors are strong, while agriculture (especially fruit and vegetables, olive oil and wine) and tourism are also very profitable.
From Velázquez in the 17th century, through Goya in the 18th and 19th, to Picasso, Dali and Miro in the 20th, Spain has a rich artistic culture. Spanish Flamenco music and dance are widely admired around the world while Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote is one of the landmarks of modern European literature. Spanish film directors such as Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar and Luis Buñuel have received several international prizes.
Spanish cuisine is known for its paella (a rice dish with chicken, seafood and vegetables), tortilla (omelette with potatoes) and sangria (red wine served with fruit).
Spain holds the EU Presidency until the end of June 2010. Find more information on their website, http://www.eu2010.es/en.
Further information on Spain: