Given her decades-long history of political activism, philanthropy and advocacy, Eva Longoria seemed well-positioned to host the Democratic National Convention last month. That didn’t stop some critics from using her celebrity to cast her as out of touch.
The actor’s thoughts on that are simple: They’re wrong.
“I showed up there not as a celebrity but as an American,” she told HuffPost in a phone conversation Tuesday. ”I went to college on student loans, I had credit card debt, I worked at Wendy’s flipping burgers just to pay for college. I’ve been through it. And I worked hard. And I think I definitely understand the struggle for the American dream.”
As Longoria was hosting the first night of the August convention, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) trended on Twitter. He faced a torrent of fact-checks for implying that as a celebrity, Longoria was not attuned to the challenges and obstacles faced by everyday Americans as he sought to mock the event. (In addition to referencing Longoria’s lengthy résumé, several people pointed out that the leader of Rubio’s party is a former reality TV star.)
While best known for her role on “Desperate Housewives,” Longoria has long been a vocal advocate for issues faced by disadvantaged communities. She’s fought for decades for Latinx and immigrant communities and for farmworkers, women and voting rights. She was national co-chair of Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
And, as she noted Monday in a Donald Trump reference, she did it all without a million-dollar loan from her parents.
“My parents didn’t give me anything. They didn’t give me a million dollars to start a business. I moved to Hollywood with $22 in my bank account and no car, no job. So I figured it out,” she said. “And I think that’s a lot of peoples’ stories.”
Just this year, Longoria has worked on a number of projects to support communities in need, including providing aid to farmworkers affected by the pandemic.
Longoria has partnered with Tillamook and American Farmland Trust to provide financial relief to struggling farmers through the All for Farmers campaign.
“For Americans, agriculture’s still the backbone of our country. The pandemic has deemed farmers and farmworkers essential,” Longoria told HuffPost while promoting the initiative. “They’ve always been essential to our food supply.”
But that’s not all the star activist wants her fans supporting this year.
“Right now is the moment to say yes,” she said. Whether it’s telling people where to vote, helping them understand how to use mail-in ballots or posting a video on social media, “everything matters,” she said.