Eva Longoria Says Latinos Are Still Underrepresented in Hollywood [Exclusive]

'Carol' film premiere, 68th Cannes Film Festival, France - 17 May 2015

She’s an unstoppable force in Hollywood. Eva Longoria has done it all. The 40-year-old can proudly call herself a producer, writer, actor, director, entrepreneur, philanthropist and activist. She attributes her success to the strong women in her family. “I grew up with a family of strong women. My role models where my mom, my aunts and my sisters. I get so much creativity from their lives. I see their struggles, I see their obstacles and I see their victories and that’s inspiring to me,” said Longoria to Variety Latino.

She’s currently shooting “Telenovela,” a comedy series for NBC that she’ll be directing, producing and starring. The predominantly Latino cast will take audiences behind-the-scenes of the making of a telenovela. “At first I was only involved in the production side but when I read the character description of the protagonist, Ana Sofía, I knew I wanted to play her,” admits Longoria. “I thought the script was hilarious and something I had never read before.”

Longoria became a household name after starring in the award-winning series “Desperate Housewives.” Her portrayal of Gabrielle Solis garnered her a Golden Globe nomination and a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2005 and 2006. Her mission now is to help tell Latino stories that continue to be neglected by Hollywood.

“As Latinos in this industry, we are still underrepresented in television. If you’re going to complain about it, you have to get in there and write, produce and create the stories,” said Longoria. “The entertainment industry keeps retelling the same stories. We need a different well to pull from. We have to support each other, so that studios and networks realize there is an audience for this.”

In 2013, Longoria executive produced and directed the Lifetime show “Devious Maids,” lead by four powerful Latina actresses. The following year, Longoria produced the documentary “Food Chains,” exposing the intense working conditions of Hispanics in U.S. agriculture system. Her most recent production “Go Sebastien, Go,” is one of five short features she will produce for ESPN Films.

Hollywood isn’t the only place Longoria wants Latinos to be well represented. She wants Latinos to have a say in the 2016 presidential elections. Targeting Hispanics during both Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, Longoria promises to “definitely” be involved in the upcoming election: “Latinos need to understand who the candidates are and make sure they know their duty of voting. It’s just a matter of telling them ‘You do matter and your vote does count.’”

She’ll star next in Universal’s “Low Riders” opposite Oscar-nominated Mexican actor Demián Bichir. The film which follows the lowrider culture in East Los Angeles and is set to be released in 2016.

Variety Latino is proud to honor Longoria with the Visionary Award for her outstanding contributions to both the entertainment industry and the Hispanic community.

Visit VarietyLatino.com/e/Power-Of-Latinos for more on Longoria and additional coverage on the “10 Latinos To Watch.”

*Article originally published on Variety Latino 9.26.15. By Liz Calvario and Griselda Flores

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