As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Variety and Variety Latino have joined forces to launch the “POWER OF LATINOS: 20 MOST INFLUENTIAL STARS LIST,“ spotlighting the most successful Latino film and TV actors in Hollywood (10 men and 10 women). The special appears in the September 30 issue of print Variety.
But rather than focus solely on their professional accomplishments, here at Variety Latino we went one step further, and looked at how influential and appealing they are within their own community.
It’s not about who makes the most money, wins the most awards or has the most followers on social media. We’ve seen those lists and there are few surprises there. What we wanted to explore was the relationship between mainstream success and that bond with the Latino audience. Ultimately, that’s the most valuable currency.
Eva Longoria is in the top 5, reaffirming what we already knew, which is that no one on the list is more dedicated than Eva to giving Latinos a voice in U.S. politics. “I am beyond humbled,” Longoria told Variety Latino, reacting to the list. “I love being a part of the Hispanic community just like I love being a part of the women’s community. I feel like we need more Latinos in decision-making positions in all industries, not just entertainment.”
Today, via that activism, she’s secured a place among the most influential Latinos in America. She helped President Obama secure 73% of the Latino vote during the 2012 election; continues to speak ardently and articulately about immigration reform; and initiated the Latino Victory Project to raise funds for candidates. On the entrepreneurial side, she’s been successful as a restaurateur, author and executive producer (Lifetime’s “Devious Maids” series and the documentaries “Harvest” and “Food Chains”). She may be spending less time in front of the camera these days, but she’s busier and more beloved than ever.
So what was that defining moment in her life as an activist?
“Long before I was famous, I met Dolores Huerta, and she said to me, ‘Hermana, one day you’re going to have a voice. Be sure you have something to say.’ I just never forgot that,” Longoria shared with us.