Eva Longoria and her good friend Mario Lopez have hosted the NCLR ALMA Awards several times. In 2013, they returned to co-host the NCLR ALMA Awards, an annual ceremony that honors Latinos in the entertainment industry. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. Longoria is also a longtime executive producer of the NCLR ALMA Awards.
The NCLR ALMA Awards show has switched networks and formats. Instead of being prerecorded for later broadcast on NBC or ABC (which have previously televised the ceremony), the NCLR ALMA Awards were telecast live on MSNBC on Sept. 27, 2013. The awards show took place at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif.
“2013 NCLR ALMA Awards All Access Red Carpet Special” (featuring performers, presenters, hosts and honorees on the red carpet) will be televised on mun2 on Oct. 5, 2013, at 4 p.m. EDT, followed by mun2 rebroadcasts of the 2013 NCLR ALMA Awards. Here is what Longoria said to journalists in a telephone conference call about the awards show.
Can you talk a little bit about what the NCLR ALMA Awards mean to you and about what your prep work or routine is getting ready for a big show like this?
It’s a really hard show to prep for, styling-wise. This will be the hardest because we’re doing it live and I know Flavio and Big Vida and everybody over there is very nervous about it, about me changing so many times but, you know, it’s part of the show that’s become so popular and everybody loves it. You know, we try to bring to the forefront many Latino designers that maybe people haven’t heard of and just again to say in theme to celebrate the influence of Latinos through pop culture and fashion being one of them.
But yes, it’s a week long of fittings and submissions of dresses and things and then timing it out with our grid of what award to wear and how much time do I have to change and it’s like NASCAR. I just stand there and I just stand there while I’m changing hair, make-up, shoes, jewelry.
It’ s a lot of fun though. It’s very enjoyable and, you know for me the Alma’s have meant so much to me. I used to be a seat filler, you know, 10, 12 years ago and just hoping that I could get into the ALMA Awards to see all of these beautiful people who looked like me succeeding and doing well. So to go from seat filler to executive producer and host is a big honor for me and I just remember the impact it had on me when I used to sit there watching it.
And so that legacy is important to me. That’s why I wanted to produce it from the time we brought it back. It was very important that we continue to shape this country and globally what people see about Latinos and to celebrate the positive images of Latinos in television and film and music. And so, yes, that’s pretty much what it means to me.
Eva, you started producing the NCLR ALMA Awards even before you left “Desperate Housewives,” and you’ve been working behind the scenes as much as you’ve been acting. Can you talk about how important you think it is for you to do those kinds of projects like “Devious Maids,” so you can give other Latinos opportunities And here’s a lot of interest in telenovelas for the English-speaking population. Is there going to be any representation of that on the show?
Yes, actually, we have so many platforms — not only the show on MSNBC but it will be pre-show and shown on line on mun2, Comcast On Demand, and then we’ll catch re-airing it on mun2. So we’re definitely going to be using some of their talent. I know some of their talent will be on the red carpet as well.
I love telenovelas. We grew up with them, but as far as producing, yes, I’ve always wanted to be behind the camera to create the opportunities for our community. “Devious Maids” was a format show from a very popular telenovelas and Marc Cherry could not have written it better. As you guys have seen, our season finale was the highest episode ever, the number one rated drama in cable.
It’s the first time five Latinos are the leads of the show. They are the moral comfort. It’s just such a great experience producing “Devious Maids” and the success of it is proving that the demographics are changing in this country. We have a lot of English-speaking Hispanics who don’t want to be hit over the head with a turkey. They want good content and that’s what Devious Maids is.
I’m formatting some other shows. I’m formatting “Por Andres” for the American market which was a very big telenovelas in Columbia for ABC so the Latino community and the Spanish community and the telenovelas community really developed a lot of content that is good and entertaining and so it’s nice to be able to straddle the hype. And, for me, being Mexican-American, I can dip into my culture and bring it over to my American culture so it’s been a lot of fun producing.
In 2012, you hosted the NCLR ALMA Awards with George Lopez, In 2013, you’re hosting with Mario Lopez (no relation to George Lopez). What has that transition been like for you and what have you and Mario done to prepare for the ALMA Awards?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Are you kidding? Mario’s such a pro. He’s, Mario’s great. Mario, we grew up together so we have a very natural fun chemistry, as do George and I. George and I are inseparable. We George and I love each other dearly as well.
We’re just really blessed in our community to have such great hosts. If you’re a Lopez, you’re in. If your last name is Lopez, it’s like, yes, you know you’re going to be a host or something.
You’ve probably had to overcome tremendous obstacles to be where you are today. What is it that pushes you and drives you? What is it that keeps you going and what is it that’s made you so resilient?
Oh my gosh. Well, my family. I come from an amazing family. I also come from a lot of family of women, my mother, my sisters, my aunt. I came from the Latino community that really helped us out. I have an older sister that has special needs and so we depended on the community a lot for services, for health, for programs and I’ve always been philanthropic and volunteering and involved in charity because we were on the other side of it. And my mother always said, “Never forget where you come from.”
And so I find it’s my responsibility and I do it with love and joy to be able to do the things I do and if it’s not within the philanthropic realm, you know my political activism or my advocacy and my work with NCLR and mun2 and all of these organizations that are helping further Latinos in the United States.
I’m very proud to be part of them and I think it’s important that people like me who have a voice can use it for Latinos or for the communities in which you come from. And so many people think, “Oh, it’s so hard to make a difference. It’s so hard to give back.” You just start at the beginning and start in your neighborhood and start in your community, then it gets easier and easier.
For more info: NCLR ALMA Awards website