Eva Longoria is already busy filming the eighth season of her hit ABC show, Desperate Housewives, but the Mexican actress still found time to attend the National Council of La Raza’s annual conference in Washington D.C. on Sunday.
There, she spoke exclusively to Latina.com about the return of the Alma Awards after a year’s absence (after being dropped by ABC for low ratings last year, the show moved to NBC, which is upping its network-wide efforts at Latino outreach, and will air Sept. 16 at 8 p.m.). Eva also dished on the upcoming season of Housewives and told us why she thinks Latinos aren't getting much Emmy love.
The Almas are back! What does the show mean to you and to Latinos?
I always find it so important because it’s the only network televised show that celebrates Latinos in film, TV and music, so on a year that they don’t air, there’s a big void. If we don’t recognize our own community, who is going to do it?
What can we expect this year?
The great thing about the Almas is that every year it’s different because of whether the talent of that particular year was due to a big movie, music, or the amount of Latinos on television. This year, we’re very strong in the music category because we just had so many successful albums out: Shakira, Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony. There’s so many top hits and all of these songs are mainstream so everybody was listening to them. It’s nice to say, ‘Hey, they’re ours!’
And we do have a lot of great things happening in television. It’s nice to see the amount of lead Latino roles. Not just guest stars, not just recurring roles, not one of the supporting actors, but leads on a show.
George Lopez is back to co-host. Are you basically laughing all the time backstage?
George is a nightmare to work with! Just kidding! It’s so great that he donates his time to do this. He’s the pillar of comedy in our community. Everybody loves George. His comedy is so relevant to Latinos. He’s just a perfect fit because he’s quick on his feet, so easy to work with and we have such great chemistry.
One of the best things about the 2009 Almas was your multiple wardrobe changes. Are you planning more fashion obsession this year?
Yes, but the show is only an hour this year, so it cuts down my wardrobe changes in half, and I’m like, ‘Aghh!’ I try to feature different Latino designers that you may not have heard of and celebrate the ones that you do know, so fashion will definitely be a big part of the show.
Your breakthrough in Desperate Housewives was a big moment for Latinos on television. How would you characterize the state of diversity on television since then?
It has gotten better, but we take one step forward, two steps back. We have a character like mine and Lauren Velez’s [police Lt. Laguerta on Dexter]—these bright, smart women. Gabrielle was the richest person on the block. She doesn’t speak with an accent. Lauren Velez is a police chief who is doing amazing work. And then you have Sofia Vergara, who is the stereotypical Latina [Gloria on Modern Family] and she does it beautifully. It’s important that there are those roles, because they all exist in our community. It’s a balance. So I think we’re slowly inching toward progress.
There has been talk that the upcoming season of Desperate Housewives may be its last. True?
Well, we’ve just started filming our new season; it’s exciting to be back. But beyond that, we don’t know because it’s all about ratings. Television is all about the next new best thing. But I’m going to be with this job as long as it will go.