Eva Longoria may be known as a Desperate Housewife by many, but in Washington, D.C., she’s thought of a s power broker. Longoria accidentally kicked off two national political conventions this year. First, by intentionally hosting the Democratic National Convention‘s first night and later, by becoming a focus point of the Republican National Convention a week later.
Longoria, a ninth-generation Texan, tells the Washington Post: “You can’t change policy until you change culture,” citing a quote from artist-activist Favianna Rodriguez. “The biggest way you can change culture is through media. And so I’m in a position in which I can influence what people think of our community but also how our community thinks of ourselves.”
She continues: “I started producing and directing … so that I could tell stories from my community. So that people could see us as heroes, too, and see us as part of the fabric of this country.”
First, she exec produced Devious Maids for Lifetime; then she went on to direct episodes of Jane the Virgin, Blackish and is set to direct and star in Spa Day and 24-7, which will also topline Kerry Washington. All of her projects place under-represented groups in the middle of the action.
“Once I got to Hollywood, I was fascinated by how things were put together, and I was fascinated by the business side,” she says. “I felt like, as an actor, I wasn’t using my full potential. I was just going to work, standing on a mark, saying my lines and going home. And when I was producing and directing, it was like I was firing on all cylinders.”
Latinas, Longoria says, are “one of the most powerful groups that this country has.” Last month, she announced the creation of digital lifestyle community She Se Puede with actress America Ferrera and other Latina activists.
“There are so many studies that showed we don’t even know we have buying power, political power,” Longoria says. “We’re trying to make sure that Latinas know that they have this power.”