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Interview with Eva Longoria

Aired March 17, 2010 - 00:00:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eva Longoria is known by many as a housewife who demands nothing less than luxury.


EVA LONGORIA, ACTRESS: -- make an effort around here then I...


ANDERSON: Her infamous portrayal of spoiled suburbanite, Gabrielle Solis, in the hit series, "Desperate Housewives," has earned her fans and recognition around the world. But Eva and Gabrielle couldn't be more different.

LONGORIA: Break this down...

ANDERSON: Born to Mexican-American parents in Texas, Longoria has been a strident advocate for the Latino community and was named Philanthropist of the Year by the "Hollywood Reporter."

LONGORIA: I find you have to live by example, which means if -- if more Latinos want to be in Hollywood, then more Latinos have to be the creators behind the cameras.

I'm very, very excited to be here.

ANDERSON: Four years ago, she founded her own charity called Eva's Heroes, which helps children with disabilities in San Antonio. Longoria works on the project with her husband and basketball star, Tony Parker, whom she married in 2007. From onscreen yummy mummy to real live do- gooder, Eva Longoria is your Connector of the Day.


ANDERSON: Well, from Wisteria Lane to London's Park Lane, we caught up with the actress at the Noble Gift gala event. And I started off by asking her a bit about her work with different charities.

And this is what she said.


LONGORIA: Tony and I have done a lot of work with Make A Wish in the United States and Make A Wish France. And so this is kind of a natural extension of us to be able to put our fingerprint on Europe in -- in philanthropy and Make A Wish U.K. has -- we had an opportunity and they wanted to do an -- a fundraiser gala of some sort. And so we -- we signed on and I'm just honored to get the first -- the first humanitarian award.

ANDERSON: Good. And you look fantastic tonight. Well done.

Now, tell us about Eve's Heroes, if you will.

LONGORIA: Yes, Eva's Heroes is an organization I started in San Antonio, Texas that's an organization dedicated to the community of special needs and mental disability children. I started it because my sister was my hero growing up. And she -- she has a mental disability. And so I've been in this community my whole life.

My mother was a special education teacher and I was a volunteer for Special Olympics my entire life. And so I've seen the -- the benefits and the product of -- of having these type of programs in your neighborhood for kids who -- who really need that extra attention and special are.

ANDERSON: Good stuff.

Some viewer questions for you this evening.

Chad says: "I absolutely adore you. I'm a Spanish teacher and I'm curious about your Latina roots. Are you in touch with your Latin roots?," he says.

LONGORIA: Oh my god, am I in touch?

Not only am I -- not only am I in touch, I'm like contagious. You're going to be Latin after this interview.

No, I am. I'm very, very in touch. I'm actually going back to school to get my master's degree in Chicano studies, which is the studying of Latin American history and with a political science edge of -- of knowing the history of -- of, you know, mostly Mexican-Americans in the United States and kind of the diasporic view of -- of what has happened to them over -- over centuries.

ANDERSON: Good stuff.

Another one from the viewers, Lilly. He says: "I'm such a fan of Gabrielle Solis. But it's kind of scary how well you play that role. Clearly, you're not that self-centered and spoiled because you spend so much time on good causes." She says: "How do you turn yourself into that character?"

LONGORIA: It's always fun -- a lot of fun to play the opposite of what you are, way more fun than playing the good girl or the sweet person or -- I always find it harder to play someone closer -- closer to me. And so for Gabriel, it's so fun, because I really have no limits and I can really push myself to -- to be her.

ANDERSON: Tommy says -- Tommy asks: "What are your long-time -- term career goals and do you think you'll stay in Hollywood forever?"

LONGORIA: Oh gosh, no.




LONGORIA: Yes, oh, no. I always say I work in LA, but I live in Texas, because that's where my husband is and -- but, no, you know, my -- well, actually, my long-term goals would be to produce more with my production company and to one day direct. And so that's probably where I want to go after "Desperate Housewives".

ANDERSON: Good stuff. And we look forward to that.

Baffamustapha says: "How do you and Tony manage to have such a stable relationship when you both work so hard and so much?"

LONGORIA: Well, distance makes the heart grow fonder.


LONGORIA: We're always missing each other and so when we see each other it's always -- always happy times. And so -- but, you know, we spend -- we actually spend a lot of time together. We see each other every week. I fly back and forth. And -- and the summers we spend together, whether it's here in Europe or back in -- in Texas. And we just, you know, you have to prioritize and make time.

ANDERSON: And you talked about Tony when you -- when you talked about the causes tonight and -- and Eva's Heroes, as well.

How much time do you two both spend on things outside of your industry, as it were?

LONGORIA: Our careers?


LONGORIA: I more so than him, because he has a very, very strict basketball schedule. And so with -- with myself, probably 80 percent of my time is charity and 20 percent is "Desperate Housewives".


LONGORIA: Yes, I mean it's a lot, a lot. That's my life's work. It's my passion. It's what I want to do. I have been an activist and a philanthropist since I -- since I was -- before I was famous. And so I just happen to -- to get this amazing fame to be able to bring a louder voice to what I was doing and believed in.

ANDERSON: Yes, taking advantage of it and well done, too.

The last question is from Vikram from India and he asks: "What can your fans expect in the future? What surprises has Eva got up her sleeve? Any new roles? Any new shows? Do let us know."

And that's -- that's reflected by many people who have written in.

LONGORIA: Oh. Well, you know, we're on the sixth season of "Desperate Housewives" and I did a film I Mexico in Spanish for the -- for the first time -- I've never done a film in Spanish -- about six months ago. And I'm producing a documentary called "Harvest," which is about the plight of child farm workers in America and kind of the -- the injustices that are continued today with farm worker rights and human rights. And so that will hopefully be out by the end of this year.


ANDERSON: And watch out for that.

Eva Longoria for you, your Connector of the Day.

Now, here's a hint for tomorrow's Connector of the Day. To most men, he's probably the luckiest guy in the world, spending his days hanging out with girls at the Playboy Mansion. That's right, we're going to be speaking to Hugh Hefner, the notorious bachelor who's turned his love of women (INAUDIBLE) popular culture into a multi-million dollar company.

What do you want to ask The Hef?

Head to Send any questions. It's your part of the show. Remember, tell us where you're writing from.