Eva Longoria on loving her Latina roots and challenging Hollywood’s expectations: ‘Being Mexican is who I am’
By David Artavia, Yahoo! Entertainment
The star power of Eva Longoria should never be underestimated. A proud Mexican-American from Corpus Christi, Texas, the multihyphenate powerhouse has won the hearts of television viewers since her breakout role in ABC’s Desperate Housewives.
Now, the icon is all smiles in an interview with Yahoo Entertainment when speaking about how her Mexican heritage, specifically Tejana culture, inspires her perspective on life — from daily activities to the way she runs her businesses, which include several restaurants and a production company, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment.
“Being Mexican is who I am,” Longoria says. “For me, it exudes in everything that I do every day from how I style my hair, to putting on my lip liner, to putting on my hoops, to what I make for breakfast, how I have my café con leche, how I drive. It seeps into every aspect of my life.” (Longoria prefers to make her Cuban café con leche using a cafetera, in case you were wondering.)
A staunch activist for gender equality, she’s also used her platform to shine a light on issues impacting Latino communities, specifically Latino visibility on and off-screen, something she says is vital in preserving the wellbeing of Hispanic communities.
“The problem is when you don’t have a person of color within your community, if your neighbors aren’t Latino, the only reference you have of us is the news. And that doesn’t do a very good job of portraying who we are,” Longoria explains. “And so, representation in TV, in film, in music, in art, it matters because it educates the community about who we are.”
The concern is warranted. According to UCLA’s 2021 Hollywood Diversity Report, Latinos accounted for only 5.7 percent of all film roles in 2020 — up slightly from 2019 when it was 4.6 percent. While the uptick is promising, she says it’s not enough.
Longoria also stresses the importance of having Latinos behind the camera and in other positions of power. After all, “that’s why I became a producer and that’s why I became a director,” she says. “It was to make sure that our stories are told because it’s important. It educates people about who we are. It educates our community about who we are, and that is even more important. If I am a Latino watching, literally, the erasure of my culture, then I think, ‘Oh OK, I am not worthy. My stories don’t matter.’ And that’s way more dangerous. We need to make sure that we share our own community, our worth — and celebrate it.”
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