AVON AWARDS: As she stood on a small stage at the United Nations on Thursday, facing an audience of global activists determined to end domestic violence, Salma Hayek Pinault said, “I just presented at the Academy Awards and I was not even half as nervous and scared as I am today, but also not half as excited as I am to be with you.” Hayek Pinault, who presented awards on behalf of Avon Products Inc. at the second annual Avon Communications Awards: Speaking Out About Violence Against Women, said, “Not every country in the world has a problem with hunger, but every place in the world has a problem with domestic violence.”

She has worked with Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women on the cause since 2004, when she was named a brand spokeswoman. Hayek Pinault no longer fronts the Avon brand — she’s since created her own beauty line called Nuance — but she continues to serves as an Avon Foundation ambassador. She recalled that nearly 10 years ago, “I asked Avon if I could use their infrastructure to help with my cause.…They came in like a hurricane.” The actress said she has aligned herself with women’s causes since she was 17 years old.

This story first appeared in the March 8, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“This little idea that I had is one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” said a visibly emotional Hayek Pinault. “Maybe it is our generation who makes change happen.”

Avon chief executive officer Sheri McCoy said the issue affects nearly one billion women around the world, and that, since 2004, Avon has contributed $50 million in grants for programs that aim to put an end to violence against women. McCoy said, “Avon is a powerful force for education and awareness and for change.”