Eva Longoria On Her Mission To Shake Up Hollywood

Twenty years since Desperate Housewives made her a household name, the actor's back on the small screen. And, the L’Oréal Paris global ambassador says her best is yet to come…

Eva Longoria Grazia

by Federica Volpe |
Updated on

When you meet Eva Longoria, her drive is palpable. You get the sense she is very good at making things happen. Take, for example, how she manifested her latest on-screen project, Land Of Women, a six-part series for Apple TV+ starting this month. ‘I was a big fan of Ramon Campos, the creator,’ she says. ‘I told him I wanted to work in Spain and asked him to write me a show set in wine country. I told him a wish list of what I was looking for in a show and he came up with Land Of Women. Apple bought it straight away and we went into production.’

Longoria stars as a New York empty-nester forced to flee to a wine town in Spain, along with her mother and grownup daughter, after her husband is implicated in some shady dealings. Land Of Women is the first project from Longoria’s new venture Hyphenate Media Group, and she is an exec-producer on the show. ‘I like producing with purpose,’ she says. ‘I want to tell stories for my Latine community. We have a lot of heroes, things to say, an amazing talent pool of storytellers. It’s refreshing and innovative – in an industry that keeps going to the same writers and creators for the same stories – to have a different perspective and point of view, because it changes everything, makes it more interesting, more relevant.’

Land Of Women follows Longoria’s feature film directorial debut, Flamin’ Hot, the rags-to-riches true story of Richard Montanez, the man who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. ‘It was a very aggressive, ambitious schedule and project; it was really my TV experience, its shooting pace and rhythm, that helped me get this movie done.’

This year marks 20 years since Desperate Housewives first hit our screens, turning Longoria into a household name thanks to her genius comedic performance as the inimitable Gaby Solis. It inspired a whole genre of glossy thriller-in-suburbia dramas, yet, after eight seasons, it is still the longest running hour-long scripted series to have all-female leads.

‘You know, people think Hollywood is a liberal, progressive industry, but it’s not,’ says Longoria. ‘It would be great to have gender equity in all positions, we just don’t. We have fewer female directors and fewer Latinos in front of the camera than we did a couple of years ago. So we’re actually going in the wrong direction, even though the perception is that we’re doing so great.’

Eva Longoria Grazia
Photo: Kate Davis-Macleod. Eva wears Jumpsuit, Alexandre Vauthier Couture; earrings and watch, Tiffany & Co

Uplifting other women is at the heart of her role as a L’Oréal Paris Global Ambassador, a position she has held for almost 20 years. ‘It’s a company that values women’s self-worth; I’m proud of being with a brand that has such a big platform and uses it to remind women of their value.’

She joined L’Oréal Paris in Cannes to celebrate the fourth annual Lights on Women Award, which showcases the talented female film-makers of tomorrow, with the aim to create a pathway for women in film to advance their careers, while addressing the under-representation of women in the industry. ‘Women are still not getting the same opportunities as our male counterparts. What we do [in the industry] matters, it can change culture and, when you change culture, you can change policy, perception. You can change a lot of things with storytelling.'

A seasoned attendee of Cannes Film Festival, ‘One of my best memories of Cannes is my first time there [in 2005]. I wore this gold dress that I bought on Melrose Avenue for like $39. Back then I didn’t understand the glamour that Cannes was, so it really wasn’t a big deal for me.’ Of course, since then, she’s understood the assignment – this year wearing shimmering Elie Saab couture. ‘My other favourite time was when my son was born [in 2018] and I took him with me the following year. Sharing Cannes with him was so special.’

Her son, Santiago – who she shares with her husband of nine years, Mexican businessman José Bastón – is now five. She juggles parenting with her acting and film-making work, alongside her role as co-founder of premium tequila brand Casa Del Sol, which launched in 2021, and as an investor and strategic advisor for Mexican-American food brand Siete Foods. ‘People always think it’s so hard for me balancing my career and being a mother but it’s actually a lot easier.’ How so? ‘Because I say no to a lot more things than I used to. If something takes away my time from him then it’s an easy no. He’s simplified my life.’

For Longoria, longevity in Hollywood takes stamina and savvy decision-making – but also a refusal to become jaded. ‘Longevity in any industry is hard,’ she says. ‘It’s hard to keep yourself interested and to keep that passion going. I find joy in the collaboration: you take all these people’s talents and you put them together to create art. I’ve worked on projects where coworkers were grumpy and complaining all the time and the only thing I could think was: why are you here? Why are you not enjoying this journey?’

Longoria, for her part, is absolutely relishing the journey. ‘Everybody asked me what my plan B was when I moved to Hollywood and I was like, nope, this is plan A, plan B, plan C.’ And that steely determination has not wavered one bit. ‘I really refuse to believe that my greatest success is behind me, I feel like it’s ahead of me – and I can’t wait to meet it.’

L’Oréal Paris is the official beauty partner of the Cannes Film Festival; Stream ‘Land Of Women’ on Apple TV+ from 26 June

Photographs: Kate Davis-Macleod. Styling: Rudy Simba Betty. Make-up: Val Garland using L’Oréal Paris Lumi Glotion and True Match Foundation. Hair: Stephane Lancine using Elvive Glycolic Gloss Serum and Elnett Hairspray. Lighting: Craig Maxwell Webster. Digital: Michael Mills. Location: Martinez Hotel Cannes.

[TOP IMAGE] Eva wears left: Dress, Fendi. Right: _Dress, Rabanne; Earrings,_Tiffany & Co.

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