Giving back was an integral part of Eva Longoria’s life long before she landed the role of Gabriela Solis on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.”
“She’s everything; a renaissance woman, champion of multiple causes, she has founded a foundation, she’s an entrepreneur,” says Cathy Schulman, head of WIF, of Longoria, who will accept the Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award from multi-hyphenate Lake Bell on June 11.
“I grew up with a special-needs sister, an older sister, so I was kind of born into her world and knew what the world ‘volunteer’ meant at a very, very early age,” Longoria says.
Inspired by the needs of her sister, Lisa, Longoria says, “We were always volunteering somewhere,” citing the Salvation Army and the Boys and Girls Club as some of the orgs her family supported.
The actress has since created the Eva Longoria Foundation, which aims to empower young Latinas by encouraging them to pursue education and providing career training and mentorship opportunities.
When deciding where to direct her philanthropic efforts, Longoria says: “I immediately said, ‘I want to zero in on communities that I care about or that I came from, which happen to be the women’s community and the Latino community.’
“Those were the first two communities and areas which I thought, ‘This is where I want to focus because this is where I came from and this is who I am.’ ”
Longoria also addresses the Latino community in Michael Berry’s “Frontera.”
“It’s a love story set against the reality of immigration,” Longoria says of the film, in which she speaks only Spanish. “It humanizes the people who come to this country and why and what happens to them.”
Going forward, the “Devious Maids” exec producer says she hopes to continue delving into directing and producing. As she puts it, “I want it all.”