Finding and Using Your Power: An Evening with Eva Longoria
Long before Eva Longoria was a superstar, director, producer and entrepreneur, she was an advocate for Latinx communities. Even during the height of her breakout role in the massive hit Desperate Housewives, she earned her masters degree in Chicano studies. Longoria has remained a hard-working advocate for social justice and equity through her creative projects, foundations and advocacy work, and she is an ambitious change-maker. Named by People Magazine as one of the Women Changing the World, her foundations and philanthropic work lift up and support others, including those with intellectual needs and families in their battles against cancer. In this inspiring talk, Longoria shares her motivation for using her voice to advocate for others.
You may have seen Eva Longoria in L'Oreal commercials, but did you know she also directs them? A powerhouse producer and director for tv and film, Longoria has developed a media empire, often choosing to develop projects that support positive Latinx representation. She has long been an advocate for each of us to find our strengths and boldly utilize them in favor of those things we are passionate about, and Longoria leads by example. In this talk, she addresses the obstacles to fearless leadership and how she learned to push through them to fully utilize her power.
Trailblazing mogul Eva Longoria balances values-driven mission with practical insights on thinking like an entrepreneur
Award-winning actress, producer, and New York Times bestselling author EVA LONGORIA is blazing a trail as a successful serial entrepreneur and making waves with her new premium tequila brand Casa Del Sol, which is owned and run by women. As with all her ventures, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of her mission, and she outlined her focus on values-led business in an interview with Travel + Leisure Magazine: “We bring a lot to the table because we have a diversity of approach, and a different perspective and mindset that adds depth and value to our product.”
A Hollywood icon, Longoria’s savvy business insights have been featured profiles for The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Glamour, and more. She lends her entrepreneurial talent to the Eva Longoria Foundation, which recently partnered with Century 21 Real Estate to empower the next generation of Latina entrepreneurs. In a profile for Forbes, she describes the big picture vision as well as practical, data-driven outcomes of such a partnership: “I look for simple solutions to big problems. Whether business or social impact. If you use that approach, you don’t have to be rich and famous to make a difference.” As her portfolio continues to expand, Longoria empowers audiences with insights about fearless, values-driven leadership, embracing an entrepreneurial mindset, and how organizations and individuals can make a big difference.
Having worked consistently in Hollywood for over 20 years, Eva Longoria has cemented herself as an industry staple known for her work both in front of and behind the camera. Named by Variety as one of their most anticipated directors of 2021, Longoria continues to hone her craft, seek new projects, and expand opportunities for others by paving the way for future women and minority producers, directors and industry leaders in Hollywood and beyond.
A highly sought after director, Longoria made a big splash at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival with her critically-acclaimed documentary, La Guerra Civil. The film tells the story of boxers Oscar de la Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez and delves into the historic bout between the two Latino giants. In addition to directing the film, Longoria also executive produced via her UnbeliEVAble Entertainment banner alongside DAZN’s Deirdre Fenton and filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz. Deadline commented “...La Guerra Civil [is] an engaging Sundance Film Festival documentary premiere from Eva Longoria Bastón,” in addition to Variety calling the film “a spirited documentary” and a “special kind of treat”. IndieWire said, “...With an honest perspective and energetic style, [La Guerra Civil] offers a shrewd look at how two athletes came to represent divergent national and social identities.” Longoria also recently directed the pilot episode of the new HBO Max series Gordita Chronicles, which premiered on the streaming platform on June 23. Longoria is an executive producer alongside Zoe Saldana on the coming-of-age series about family, opportunity, love and resilience following a Dominican family who head to Miami from Santo Domingo in pursuit of the “American Dream.” Next up, she will make her feature directorial debut with the highly anticipated Searchlight biopic Flamin’ Hot about the story of Richard Montañez and the spicy Flamin’ Hot Cheetos snack for which she beat out multiple high profile film directors vying for the job. Flamin’ Hot recently wrapped production and is in post-production. Additionally, in December 2021, CNN announced it had set Eva Longoria: Searching For Mexico, an original docuseries slated to launch in 2023. A new iteration of CNN’s popular Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, the six-part series will follow Longoria as she travels across Mexico exploring the country’s cuisine. Other past directing credits include the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Versus, as well as episodes of Ashley Garcia: Genius In Love, Grand Hotel, Black-ish, The Mick, LA to Vegas, Jane the Virgin, Telenovela, Devious Maids, Latinos Living the Dream, and the short films Out of the Blue and A Proper Send-Off. Longoria was nominated for a 2021 Daytime Emmy for her directing work on Ashley Garcia: Genius In Love.
Just as much as she is celebrated for her work behind the camera, Longoria is a beloved actress. She can be recently seen on the big screen in Vertical Entertainment’s Unplugging, opposite Matt Walsh, a modern romantic comedy from director Debra Neil-Fisher and in the jazz era film Sylvie’s Love, opposite Tessa Thompson, from writer-director Eugene Ashe and producer Nnamdi Asomugha. She will also soon star in Universal’s sci-fi action film Wars of the Worlds (working title) opposite Ice Cube and directed by Rich Lee, in addition to Iervolino Entertainment's anthology film Tell It Like a Woman. The star-studded project is packed with powerful female performers that are also calling the shots behind the camera as well. Tell It Like a Woman is a film by women and about women and consists of seven segments, making a feature-length film. The segments are directed by female directors from different parts of the world and were shot in Italy, India, Japan, and the USA. Each segment ranges in genre from drama to comedy, through docudrama and animation. Other stars of the project include Cara Delevingne, Jennifer Hudson, Taraji P. Henson, and more.
No stranger to the small screen, Longoria captured audiences with her starring role in the hit ABC series Desperate Housewives for eight seasons opposite Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, and Marcia Cross. It is for her work on the series that earned her and her castmates SAG Awards for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series” in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and named the ALMA Awards’ Person of the Year. Other past acting credits include Grand Hotel, BoJack Horseman, Jane the Virgin, Empire, Devious Maids, Telenovela, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Young and the Restless, and more.
Through her production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, Longoria has become one the most significant trailblazers and recently renewed her overall deal with Twentieth Television for another three years. Founded in 2005, the company actively chooses purposeful projects that accurately represent the stories of the Latinx and other underrepresented communities. In fall 2020, it was announced that UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and ViacomCBS’ MTV Entertainment Group (MTVE) partnered on a deal as part of an initiative to give more people of color and women a shot at directing made-for-television movies. As part of this new pact, MTVE is pairing Longoria and other A-List
producers with first-time BIPOC and women directors. UnbeliEVAble Entertainment recently produced their first film under the deal called Let’s Get Merried, which aired in December 2021 as part of VH1’s holiday season slate and featured a Latina first time BIPOC director, director of photography, and primarily diverse cast. The ABC series Grand Hotel, was the first major network drama to feature a predominately Latinx cast and female directors. This series was part of Longoria’s mission to ‘produce with purpose’ by using a lens of equity in the crew recruitment process and aiming to showcase talent inclusive of women and people of color. In 2020 the production company produced the special Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event to celebrate Latinx culture, shed a light on those in the community who have been impacted by COVID-19, and highlight our essential workers for CBS. Longoria will also star in the screen adaptation of Isabel Allende’s bestselling novel The House of the Spirits for FilmNation Entertainment. The television series is a family saga following the extraordinary lives of three generations of women in the Trueba Family, Longoria will star as Blanca Trueba, one of the passionate and courageous women leaders. Other upcoming projects include the Disney+ original series, from 20th Television, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, currently in development and is inspired by the popular legend of La Llorona (the weeping woman) and follows teenage Paola on a quest to save her best friend from a different world steeped in Latin folklore that defy logic and legend,
and the HBO film A Class Apart, which tells the incredible true story of a group of Mexican Americans fighting for their civil rights during a landmark case that leads all the way to the Supreme Court. In 2020, Longoria announced the launch of her new podcast slate in partnership with iHeart Media’s My Cultura Podcast Network. The slate includes her podcast Connections with Eva, launched in March 2022, which takes listeners back to what makes them human, discussing a variety of topics with different guests in each episode. Additional podcasts include Sisters of the Underground, executively produced by Longoria and Dominican actress Dania Ramirez, as well as Hungry for History, which pairs
Longoria with food historian Maite Gomez-Rejón to explore delicious dishes and ingredients from Mexico. The company’s past credits include the Emmy Award nominated Netflix documentary Reversing Roe, Lionsgate’s John Wick, NBC’s comedy Telenovela, and the American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Awards. Longoria’s other past producing credits include Devious Maids, Mother Up! and Ready for Love.
Recently named by People Magazine as one of the Women Changing the World, Longoria is a dedicated philanthropist and activist who has consistently lent her voice to the issues she is passionate about, ranging from immigration to reproductive rights. In 2006, she co-founded the nonprofit Eva’s Heroes, which operates out of San Antonio, Texas and is dedicated to enriching the lives of those with intellectual special needs by providing an inclusive setting built on the tenets of: interact, grow, learn and love. Committed to empowering Latinas everywhere, Longoria established the Eva Longoria Foundation (ELF) in 2012 to help Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through educational programs, scholarships, mentorship and entrepreneurship. In addition to her own foundations, Longoria founded Time’s Up with Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman and other leading Hollywood women; launched The MACRO Episodic Lab Powered by The Black List with Charles D. King, Lena Waithe and Franklin Leonard to discover, support and empower storytellers of color who typically do not have access to the traditional Hollywood system; and is the co-founder of the Latino Victory Fund, which is a movement that builds power in the Latinx community to ensure their voices and values are reflected at every level of government and in the policies that drive our country forward. Longoria’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment also partnered with TikTok and MACRO to celebrate 150 Latinx creators and emerging music artists in the inaugural TikTok Latinx creator incubator. In response to President Trump’s immigration policies, Longoria used the birth announcement of her son to bring awareness to families who have been separated at the border. Following the El Paso, Texas shootings and Mississippi ICE raids, Longoria joined forces with America Ferrera, Diane Guerrero and Mónica Ramírez to organize #QueridaFamiliaLatina, a letter of solidarity signed by over 200 Latinx artists and community leaders that was published in The New York Times, La Opinión, El Nuevo Herald and El Diario. With Henry Muñoz she launched Momento Latino, which is a growing coalition of Latinx activists, leaders, artists and allies lifting their voices and pushing for change for the community with so many inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with America Ferrera, Alex Martínez Kondracke, Carmen Perez, Christy Haubegger, Elsa Collins, Jess Morales Rocketto, Mónica Ramírez, Olga Segura, and Stephanie Valencia in 2019, Longoria launched Poderistas, a new digital lifestyle community and media platform that inspires, affirms, and informs Latinas to leverage their power in a way that transforms their lives, families and community. Also in 2020 she served as host of the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, actively campaigned on behalf of Biden/Harris, working to get out the Latino vote, and participated in the official Inauguration celebrations as co-host of the primetime special Celebrating America, alongside Tom Hanks and Kerry Washington. In 2022, Longoria joined a team of Latino luminaries to form the Latino Media Network (LMN), a media company serving the Latino community, owned by Latinos for Latinos. LMN’s mission is to help Latinos make sense of the world and their place in it by inspiring, informing, and celebrating Hispanics through an audio-focused multimedia network that will reach nearly one-third of the US Latino population.
In September 2021, Longoria launched Casa Del Sol tequila, a luxury sipping Tequila, inspired by the magic of golden hour and the legend of the Aztec goddess of agave, Mayahuel. As a Mexican-American, she is proud to be a co-founder of a brand with authentic Mexican roots with a strong female influence. Casa Del Sol prides itself on its long-standing roots in Mexico, through its team of talented professionals who have worked under the tutelage of some of the pioneers of Tequila and whose family was instrumental in the rise of the category. Casa Del Sol was influenced by the late tequila pioneer and master distiller Francisco Alcaraz. Casa Del Sol introduces Alejandra Pelayo, Casa Del Sol’s head of production, and Mariana Padilla as the brand’s Artesana Tequilera to celebrate the “Art of Tequila”. The daughter of Paco Padilla, cultural ambassador of Jalisco, Mexico, Padilla oversees the integrity of Casa De Sol’s heritage and product development. Casa Del Sol’s tequila is made from hand-selected 100% Blue Weber agave that is sustainably grown and sourced from rich clay soil in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico.
Longoria has served as a Global Brand Ambassador for L’Oréal Paris for over 15 years. A frequent director of the brand’s commercials, she recently upped the ante by self-directing the first ever hair color TV commercial created at home on a smartphone during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also currently has a shoe line with Eobuwie and Modivo sold in Eastern Europe, and is a New York Times bestselling author for her cookbook Eva’s Kitchen.
While working full-time on Desperate Housewives, Longoria earned her master’s degree in Chicano Studies from California State University, Northridge in 2013. She wrote her thesis on “Success STEMS from Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.” She received her Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
A native of Texas, Longoria currently resides in Los Angeles with her family.