Busy Eva Longoria Opens Up About Baby Baston, Her New Dora Movie and How She Promotes Diversity on Screen as well as Behind the Camera
Eva Longoria is doing it all! The Mexican-American actress is featured on People en Español's 50 Most Beautiful list this year and talked to the magazine about motherhood, producing Grand Hotel and starring in the new Paramount film Dora and The Lost City of Gold based on the popular Dora the Explorer animated character. The new mom recently rocked the Cannes Film Festival, turning heads on the red carpet and enjoying the French Riviera with her husband, Mexican television executive Pepe Bastón and their son, Enrique Santiago Bastón, turning 1 in June. “He's amazing, he's just the most beautiful baby in the world,” she says about her son, who often accompanies her on the set of her productions. “[I take him] everywhere, he's with me all the time, 24/7!”
When the baby is older and falls in love with the Dora the Explorer Nickelodeon series, he will be excited to see his mom play Dora's mother on the big screen. The movie, coming to theaters August 2, shows a teenage Dora navigating high school life and solving the mystery of a lost Inca civilization.
Although she enjoys being on the big screen, Longoria, 44, is mainly passionate about producing and directing. “I've always been a director-producer before I was an actor, always knew where the camera goes, and lighting and lenses and producing was natural for me because producers make things happen,” she tells People en Español. “You put things together, you get resourceful. Most Latina women are producers by nature, whether they're producing families or producing work, we are all producers in some sense of our lives.”
Being behind the camera, she has tapped into her full potential. “I didn't want to sit back and wait for my next opportunity, so I started to create opportunities not only for myself but for other Latino talent, and not only in front of the camera but behind the camera. So identifying and building that pipeline of talent so they could become mainstream cinematographers, grips, crew members, editors, stunt coordinators. I just knew I wanted to be part of creating careers for people in my field, specifically for women,” she says. “In Grand Hotel, I'm not only employing Latinos in front of the camera — with Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sánchez, all this amazing talent we have, Jeancarlos Canela, Shalim Ortiz — making sure they're seen, their stories matter, but also behind the camera,” she adds about also hiring female cinematographers, stunt coordinators, editors and assistant directors.
Succeeding means nothing if you can't help others, assures the Texas native. “To be in a position of power you have to not only lean forward, you have reach back and pull everyone up with you. That's always been my intention and my goal,” she recognizes. “I remember when I did Telenovela and did the same formula, hired Latinos in front of the camera, behind the camera, women, diversity, people of color…. I was walking on set when the sets were going up — they were building, painting, chopping — I was walking with a friend of mine and he said: ‘Isn't this crazy? You had an idea and now 500 people have a job,'” she recalls. “That filled my heart with so much happiness and purpose. It gave me a sense of purpose I hadn't had as an actor, just being an actor.”
Finding new and exciting Latinx stories to tell also drives her. “We've been telling the same stories over and over again in television and film. There are beautiful stories from our communities that are fresh to mainstream audiences, but not new to us, we've been living these experiences for generations,” she says.
Her tips for success? Don't give up and keep a positive attitude. “The belief in yourself — and the ambition and drive, the discipline that it takes, the failures it takes to fulfill your dreams — stick with it! For me, nothing came easy, but I don't look at everything in life as, Oh, it's so hard. I say: Bring it on, it's exciting! I was turned down many times as a producer with projects I loved, but it's my job to keep presenting them, keep showing different things until they say yes,” she recalls. “I don't consider other projects failures, I consider them learning experiences that prepared me for Telenovela and Grand Hotel and everything I have in production.”