Eva Longoria sitting on bar stool

Eva Fever
PHOTOGRAPHY Matthew Mitchell

Recently she’s caused a heatwave on Desperate Housewives. Now Eva Longoria is burning up the pages of Open Your Eyes.

Eva Longoria has been a busy bee. When last we saw Eva in OYE she had just landed a role on a new show called Desperate Housewives. Fast forward a couple of years and you have a woman who’s exploded into a extra-super-mega-star, the kind of star who has the power to move mountains in Hollywood. This status has made Eva Longoria one of the most prominent Latinas in the country, if not the world. She embodies the rise of Latinos in Hollywood and has never shied away from her Latino heritage. (In other words you’ll never see her chosen as one of our Coconuts of the Month.) This is why we love Eva Longoria and why she'll remain forever our chica—despite the fact she's a Spurs fan.

How does it feel to be recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful Latinas?
I grew up as an ugly duckling. They used to call me prieta fea, because I was the only one of my family’s four girls with dark hair, dark eyes, and dark skin. Growing up I was the ugly one, because I was the odd one. I was the different one. So when the “Most Beautiful People” thing came out I was like, “Ha, somebody thinks I am beautiful.”
















How does it feel to be recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful Latinas?
I grew up as an ugly duckling. They used to call me prieta fea, because I was the only one of my family’s four girls with dark hair, dark eyes, and dark skin. Growing up I was the ugly one, because I was the odd one. I was the different one. So when the “Most Beautiful People” thing came out I was like, “Ha, somebody thinks I am beautiful.”

As far as physical appearance, is there anything you wish you could change about Eva Longoria?
Absolutely nothing. God blessed me with some great, unique features—some beautiful, in my eyes, and some not so beautiful. But I think we are all created this way for a reason, so I have no desire to tamper with that.

What do you think about the rise in the number of roles for Latinos in Hollywood, is the progress real or temporary?
There are opportunities for Latinos now more than ever. Has there been a Latin explosion? No. We’re so underrepresented as far as reflecting our society accurately. We did go up from 2% in film and television to 5% this year. But we are 13% of the population, so there is still a big lack of representation there, although I think we are headed in the right direction.

Eva Longoria laying down wearing swimsuit and high heels


So you see things continuing to get better?
Absolutely. I think the networks are getting it. They’re realizing that if they want a successful show they have to represent all cultures, so that everybody can relate to the characters and relate to the journey that we take them on during the show.

What do you think about stereotypical roles like the Hot Tamale or the Latin Lover? Are they detrimental to Latinos or should we be worrying about more important things?
I don’t think they’re detrimental. It’s great to be represented in any way. Ricardo Montalban said something about that in the documentary The Brown Screen. He said, “What is wrong with being the Latin Lover? Why is that a bad stereotype? I consider that a compliment.” Same thing with Latinas always being cast as the sexy girl. It’s like, that’s a good thing! For instance, my role on LA Dragnet was a tough, smart, sexy cop, and that was a very positive role that I played and a positive image that I represented. So I think that you have both sides of it…there’s a lot of roles for Latinos, not only the stereotypical roles, because we Latinos are doctors and lawyers and cops. Latinos are a lot of things in real life, but unfortunately Latinos are also gangsters. Latinos are also maids, and Latinos are also gardeners in real life. So to accurately portray that is not a stereotype, it’s an accurate reflection. I think instead of Latinos complaining and going, “Oh, poor Latinos, us poor Latinos. We are so underrepresented, we are so stereotyped,” what we should do is get out and do something about it. Write something about it that reflects what you think we should be portrayed as. Produce something that reflects what you think we should be portrayed as. Direct something, you know what I mean, instead of sitting back and waiting for these roles to happen. They are not going to happen on their own. We need to take charge and create opportunities for our own culture.

How would you rank the following attributes in terms of helping an actor achieve success: acting skills, networking, determination?
Determination, acting skills, and networking. I’ve seen a lot of talented people not go far because they have no ambition, they have no desire. And I have seen a lot of so-so talented people become stars because they have the drive and they have the will to make it happen. Usually those same people become better because they have the desire to become better at their craft. So I think, definitely, determination and discipline are the number one factors in making it in Hollywood. If you have the determination and the discipline you’ll learn your craft a lot better, which will make you a better actor.

You’ve acted on an American soap opera and as popular as American soaps are their popularity pales in comparison to that of telenovelas. Why do you think that is?
Because programming for Spanish television isn’t up to the American programming. They don’t have a thousand different things to watch from. They are very limited. They have telenovelas and what else? The news? So of course they are popular, because they don’t have as many options as American television has, I believe. Especially if you only speak Spanish, because the percentage of people that watch telenovelas are primarily and dominantly Spanish-speaking. When you only speak Spanish and you can only watch Spanish channels the only thing that’s on are telenovelas or the news…same thing with Sabado Gigante, it’s so popular because it’s the only thing of its kind on Spanish television. So when you don’t have options, you’re more likely to get viewership.

What’s the toughest thing about being married?
Probably being selfless 100% of the time. You constantly have to think of the other person, whether you’re at the store buying groceries or whether you are making life changing decisions like going on a new show or moving or buying a house. You’re constantly thinking of what the other person would think and how the other person would feel and what the other person is doing. So it’s a very selfless life to live. You live for each other instead of for yourself. But in return you get so much by having a partnership.

What about trust and fidelity? Isn’t it hard for young, beautiful people to not stray, especially in Hollywood where there are lots of social events and tons of successful, attractive people coming on to each other all the time?
I think whether you are an actor, a doctor, a lawyer, a pilot, whatever you are, it’s going to be difficult. Because temptation is everywhere and as humans we are drawn to variety. To be with the same person for the rest of your life just sounds so drab. Because we are actors we are placed in front of other beautiful people, which may make it a little more tempting. But I think that it’s a character trait, not so much an occupational trait. If you’re a player you’re going to do it whether you’re an actor or not.

So you don’t think, amongst actors, there are more people hitting on each other?
No. I think what happens in our world is the time that you spend away from each other is very difficult. And that’s why marriages fall apart, I believe, in Hollywood. Because you can’t have a marriage when you’re in New Zealand for six months and your spouse is in L.A. You can’t have a relationship when you’re shooting a 14-hour day and your husband is shooting a 14-hour day in the same city. It’s a time thing and it’s a together thing. Because it’s true you have to have that time to bond and to be together, to know each other as a married couple. So I think what destroys Hollywood marriages is our work schedule, not so much infidelity.

Does jealousy come into play?
No. I learned very young that jealousy is a waste of energy and the more you think about jealousy or act upon it, the more you create it.

But what if you were at a party and some hoochie was all over your man?
That’s the other thing, you have to choose a partner that will not put themselves in that position. I believe it’s a vibe that a man gives off, of availability or interest. You put yourself in the position of temptation, it doesn’t just find you. You have to welcome it.

What’s the best thing about being a woman?
Everything, everything. The sexiness that we get to exude. The femininity of having soft skin. The desire of always wanting to be pretty and put on make-up and wear heels. I love being a woman. I love shopping. I love wearing dresses and heels and jewelry. I love being sexy and feeling sexy. But the best thing about being a woman is the power we have over men.

And the worst?
The struggle we constantly have to be equal to men. Till this day women still earn 75 cents to the dollar that every man earns, and I think that’s an unfair obstacle that we continue to encounter. No matter how hard we work or how dedicated we are, it seems like it’s never going to balance out.

Eva Longoria

As far as Latinos here in the U.S., what do you think we need to do better?
I think Latinos need to unite. I find that we are a very competitive culture within ourselves. Puerto Ricans against Mexicans against Dominicans. This is a very scattered culture, unlike African-Americans who unite. And you see how far they’ve come in their movement. I think Latinos in general, politically, in entertainment, educationally—in every aspect of our society—need to unite and have one voice. Because if you have many voices, you just make noise.

You don’t think it’s hard for so many Latinos from totally different countries to unite?
I think Latinos in general all want the same thing. Because we say it in different words and with different voices, it doesn’t mean we are not trying to strive for the same thing. Why can’t we agree what we want to do with the power that we have? Because Latinos do have power in this nation, by being the largest minority group and having billions of dollars in spending power. I think if we can figure that out, figure out a positive way to utilize the power, we’ll advance a lot further in the community.

What final words do you have for Latino men across America?
From my standpoint as an actor, it would be to support and watch Latino projects. The only way that more Latinos will be on TV is if other Latinos watch. Instead of, like I said, sitting back and complaining, contribute by watching, by writing, and by supporting any shows that have Latino players, Latino characters, Latino writers, Latino directors. Support it, watch it, and be educated about it.



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