the actress returns to the cinema with a new film

From desperate housewife to encantada mom. During the interview she rings the phone of Eva Longoria. The world is interrupted, the most combative star of the Latin community (she was born in Texas to Mexican-American parents) grabs her cell phone, showing off the suggestive canary yellow French manicure and, on the video call screen, her son Santiago Enrique, 4 years old, breaks in of black curls, sleepy in the Latvian in Los Angeles. She screamed for joy: «Mi vida! Te amo mi amor! Now mamita has the journalist, hasta luego. Pórtate bien ». In short, more or less.

We get excited in unison with the ex Gabrielle of Wisteria Lane because, after all, she is the nice neighbor of the house next door and we have followed in direct gestation, overweight, joys and the birth of this much-wanted son with her husband José Antonio Baston. A crucial event also used by the star as a flag against the Trump-wanted wall between Mexico and the United States that brutally separated families.

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Eva Longoria with her son Santiago, 4, with her husband, the television producer José Antonio Baston

Daniel PerezGetty Images

Petite and super toned, amber skin and an overwhelming smile ready to turn into vindication, Eva Longoria – with that name that seems a destiny – is many women in one, actress, director, producer, manager, full-time activist in the name of feminism and of his community of origin, “so as not to forget the roots of our very lively culture”. She, testimonial of L’Oréal Paris, with whom she conceived the Stand Up project for self-defense against harassment and taught everyone how to dye their regrowth at home during the lockdown, is not only the most popular Latin star after JLo, she is especially the political voice of an entire community. He started the non-profit organization Eva’s Heroes and the Eva Longoria Foundation to help Latin women with educational programs and scholarships, founded the Time’s Up association with Reese Witherspoon and Natalie Portman, reacted to anti-immigration policy and created his production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment “to enhance ethnic and gender differences”. In short, the perfect Hollywood liberal albeit with a touch of Latin color: support for Hillary Clinton, campaign for Obama and tremendous suffering under Trump.

The lost or difficult causes are his bread, do not deceive the wrung clothes and the euphoria from heel twelve. At the Taormina Film Fest, where we met her, she accompanied the preview of the collective film Tell it like a woman, produced by Lucas Akoskin, Monika Bacardi, Andrea Iervolino and Chiara Tilesi, an Italian in Los Angeles with her non-production company. profit We Do It Together, which fights for gender equality. Seven short films signed and performed by international actresses and directors: “Stories”, says Longoria, “of female empowerment, written by women but intended for everyone”, with the plus of the song Applause by Oscar winner Diane Warren. In the cast, Jennifer Hudson, Marcia Gay Harden, Cara Delevingne, Leonor Varela, among the authors Catherine Hardwick, Taraji P. Henson and our Maria Sole Tognazzi, who signs the successful Unspoken with Margherita Buy in the role of a veterinarian who, little dog, manages to guess the alarm cry of his mistress, abused by his partner.

Eva, is participation in the Tell it like a woman project a further confirmation of your civic commitment?

The truth is that I could not say no to the Argentine director, a real talent, Lucia Puenzo: I am the protagonist of the episode she sets in Italy, Lagonero. We filmed in your magical country at the beginning of the pandemic, all very difficult, the minimum crew and I who do not know a word of Italian even if for a long time they took me for an Italian-American and even now no one believes that I am not Mexican. birth but Texan! Why Lagonero? Because no one in Hollywood would have produced such an experimental, episodic film written and directed only by women, then! So I made my name available as a kind of passport. I play Ana, a super busy architect who returns to her home to recognize the body of her dead sister and finds her granddaughter Lena inherited from her. She doesn’t want her, she doesn’t enter her life program, but an event will force her to question how to integrate the meaning of motherhood into her career.

Is it still a problem?

Of course yes, you can never do enough. We must make it possible for all women, even the most disadvantaged, to be able to choose to be a mother without giving up their ambition, their desires. We are still a long way off.

As a TV star in the iconic role of Gabrielle in Desperate housewives she has transformed, before our very eyes, into one of the most influential and committed women in the film industry. How did it happen?

I am always the same, social commitment and philanthropy are qualities learned in the family, my parents raised me with the example of volunteering and sensitivity towards the most disadvantaged, marginalized people. With my production company, I decided to only choose projects that tell stories from the Latin community and other underrepresented communities in Hollywood, including female directors. TV and series have changed the rules of inclusion much more than cinema, but it is no longer possible to close your eyes on the inequality of representation. Yes, I am a feminist, there is no going back in history.

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Eva Longoria in Lagonero, one of the shorts of the Tell it like a woman project, where she is a lawyer who has to raise a granddaughter

courtesy

Yet your country has taken the step backwards, with the anti-abortion measure signed a few months ago …

It’s terrible, President Obama should have elected a judge to the Supreme Court but that appointment was blocked by the Senate and so Trump ended up with six conservative judges against three. Then something very serious happened with Biden, the judges had promised they would not overturn the sentence and instead they did. We women will continue to fight for our rights which are human rights, we will not stand still … This is a very dangerous time for politics and especially for women, even if we have gained more media space. In reality, the risk is to lose many achievements, the signs of a return to patriarchy are strong and precise. Cinema and TV must make their voices heard.

Directing seriously, he presented his documentary at Sundance The civil war, but on a sport far from its feminist demands, boxing.

But behind those hooks and straight ones, I tell an exemplary story for my community, the rivalry between the second-generation immigrant Oscar De La Hoya, a second-generation Los Angeles immigrant, and Mexican rebel legend, Julio César Chávez. My father was losing his head over these fights which were also a clash of cultural identities. I was very bored at the time, but as an adult I wanted to understand their lives, the beginnings, the fatigue, the price of idolatry, of a success that went beyond the borders of the Mexican-American community, with excesses and compromises with the drug cartels. In short, I’m talking about lives, not just about rings. Female side, I am producing with Kerry Washington my next direction, 24/7, three women and the theme of work.

But everyone is talking about his first fiction film, already ready, Flamin ‘hot . Spicy stuff, you would say from the title …

«(Laughs)… But not in the sense that she thinks. It is the biography of Richard Montañez, a cleaner of the Frito Lay company in Los Angeles, who came up with one of the biggest pop hits from nothing, the spicy version of cheetos and doritos, the cheese or corn snacks covered with fire. chili pepper. The Washington Post called it a true cultural phenomenon. Montañez’s story is an example of social emancipation, very pop but definitely unhealthy (laughs).

I hope he bans flamin ‘hot cheetos in Santiago. By the way, how does the feminist Eva grow up as her child?

I trivially teach him the art of respect, for everyone, for women. Men have to recover centuries of conditioning, slow healing. I hope that kids like Santiago are freer and already halfway through the journey.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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