The Rising Star of Penelope Cruz

Charlie Rose Profiles the Sexy Superstar

Last Updated Jan 18, 2010 4:30 AM EST

In real life, Cruz herself can be tortured, obsessive and driven, which was tough for director Woody Allen, who's known for shooting a scene in one or two takes.

Rose told Cruz, "You are a perfectionist. You want to try it again and again and again to get it right."

Cruz replied, "Yeah, I think I -- I drove him a little bit crazy, asking for more takes because I need somebody to stop me. I will never find the moment to stop, say, 'OK, it's enough. We have it.'"

That's the performance that earned her an Oscar.

"I still can't believe that I won the Oscar last year," she said. "Because the way I grew up, and just to dream about becoming an actress and making a living out of that sounded like science fiction in my environment. You know, I come from a family where we had just what we needed to survive. So to dream about this type of job was crazy."

Rose asked Cruz, "What qualities in you do you think most served getting where you are now?"

"Maybe something that has been my best friend and my worst enemy at times, which is how stubborn I can be," Cruz replied. "And then, when people that really know me tell me that I'm stubborn, I always fight them and say, 'That's not true. That's a myth.' But I really am."

Cruz grew up in Alcobendas, a working class suburb of Madrid. Today she lives outside of Madrid, but she agreed to meet Rose in her old neighborhood.

Cruz is the oldest of three children. Her father was a salesman, her mother, a hairdresser. The house she grew up in is gone, but she showed 60 Minutes her grandmother's apartment, where she spent a lot of time.

Cruz says she had a happy childhood. It was a simple life.

When Cruz took Rose to one of her favorite restaurants, Casa Benigna, she talked about her mother and what she learned from watching her.

Rose said, "That was your first acting lesson -- watching your mother in her own beauty salon, observing, seeing people talk about their lives."

"Yeah," Cruz said. "It was more interesting for me to pay attention to what they were not saying, you know, to what they wanted to hide from the other clients, or from my mother. And they were acting, most of them. And that's why I always say that beauty salon -- that hair salon -- was like a first acting school."