A Piece by Eva Longoria: There’s No Such Thing as a Wasted Opportunity


Photo Courtesy of Lifetime.

 

This post is in response to Tanisha L. Ramirez's Huffington Post blog, "Eva Longoria's Devious Maids Is a Wasted Opportunity."

 

There is no such thing as a wasted opportunity. In the world of television, the palette of content is colored with many ethnicities, races, classes, and genders. Television is a landscape that is planted with a world of stories that prove to be entertaining, saddening, uplifting and even sometimes life-changing.

 

When Marc Cherry decided to write a show titled Desperate Housewives, most networks passed because they thought the title might "alienate" women. ABC decided to take the risk, because they saw the potential in a show that reflected the modern day woman's view on universal themes such as marriage, child rearing, friendship, and hardships. ABC saw past the title and knew their audience would too.

 

We learned a great lesson in this; if you judge a book by its cover, you might miss out on a great novel.

 

Marc Cherry's new show, Devious Maids, seems to be causing the same doubts by people who haven't seen the content.

 

There have been some valid points made by certain bloggers who have stated that television needs more diversity to accurately reflect the changing landscape of America. I agree. We definitely need more diversity on television.

 

Devious Maids is a show that centers on five (count 'em), five Latinas who are bonded together by their jobs, their ambitions, their dreams and their life struggles. The five women are maids by occupation only; it is what they do, not who they are.

 

Are maids a realistic reflection of Latinas in America today??

 

Yes, but they are not a reflection of every Latina.

 

Stereotypes are constructed and perpetuated by those who believe in them. I choose not to. As an executive producer, I choose to break the cycle of ignorance by bringing to light something we have not seen before, a deeper, more complex side to the women who live beyond the box that some choose to put them in. The only way to break a stereotype is to not ignore it. The stereotype we are grappling with here is that as Latinas, all we are is maids. And yet, this is a show that deconstructs the stereotype by showing us that maids are so much more.

 

Carmen (Roselyn Sanchez) is an aspiring singer who hopes to get a big break by working for a famous pop star. Zoila (Judy Reyes) is a worried mother who only wants the best for her daughter Valentina (Edy Ganem). Rosie (Dania Ramirez) is a woman who is struggling to bring her son to the United States and works to pay for an immigration lawyer. Marisol (Ana Ortiz) is woman who goes undercover to learn the truth about a murder.

 

I take pride in the fact that this is the first show to feature an all-Latina lead cast. I take pride in the fact that these characters are not one-dimensional or limited to their job title. As the minority becomes the majority and the United States becomes more diverse, it is important that the protagonists on television embody this diversity. However, television is a business. If we don't support shows that have diverse content, we won't see shows with diverse content! They will simply go away and the hurdles to make the next show with diversity will be even more challenging.

 

Are Latinas teachers, and doctors and lawyers in America today? Yes. Should their stories be told as well? Absolutely. But, this show is called Devious Maids, not "Latinas in America." Isn't it "shortsighted" to say we can only tell the stories of what others deem "successful?" Isn't it "shortsighted" to think that "success" is only measured in social status, monetary gain, or job position? Are we saying maids are not "successful" because we perceive them to be at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale? What about the maid who raised a doctor or the maid who raised the mayor of San Antonio? Isn't that "success" by definition? However you define it, domestic workers are an integral part of the American fabric. They raise our children, they clean our homes, they wash our dirty laundry, and contribute to the world around us.

 

Devious Maids will captivate and entertain us in a dramatic and funny way. We will laugh with them, cry with them, and learn from them. I applaud Marc Cherry for writing these complex, female characters. I applaud our actresses for taking on the roles to counter stereotypes. I applaud Lifetime for believing that our community has stories to be told and letting us tell them. And once the audience watches the show, I know they will applaud too.

 

Devious Maids is not a wasted opportunity; it would be a missed opportunity if we didn't tell the stories that haven't been told.

 

Eva Longoria runs UnbeliEVAable Entertainment which produces television content. She currently has a show in development titled "Vega v. Vega" which is a true story about a mother/daughter Latina run law firm. She also is executive producer for the ALMA Awards and her second documentary about farm workers titled "Food Chain" with an expected 2013 release date.

 

 

As posted on Huffington Post on 05/07/2013.

 

 

What do YOU think, ALMA fans?

Tell us what your thoughts are on Devious Maids here.

 

 

 

 

 

Filly Brown actor Lou Diamond Phillips answers your questions!

Lou Diamond Phillips as Jose Tonorio in "Filly Brown", in theaters now!

 

 

You played Ritchie Valens in La Bamba. Did you give Gina Rodriguez any advice on playing an aspiring singer/rapper? And did you see any commonalities between Valens and Majo?

While there are many similarities, there are significant differences in Ritchie's and Majo's experiences, most notably, style of music, different eras, certainly a different environment that they grew up in.  The world changed a lot in the 60 something years that separates them.  That said, they are both young people with a dream and a fierce belief in themselves, supported by strong familial connections.  Their music is inspired by their cultural and societal influences.  But no matter what the external variables were or are, I simply told Gina to bring her own heart and fire to the performance.  My personal epiphany was that my own personal dreams and goals were very much like Ritchie's and I knew that Gina could certainly relate to Majo's journey and simply put herself into those shoes.

 

 

What inspires you to do what you do?

I fell in love with acting at an early age along with a healthy respect for all of the artistic disciplines like literature, music and dance.  I draw inspiration from the artistic process and am often inspired by other artists.  Oftentimes, I consider what I do to be more than just acting, although that is my first love.  Those of us who have chosen to make this our life's work can often be considered storytellers or communicators and, given the different forms of entertainment out there, find many ways to express our creativity.  Beyond my own personal drive, my family keeps me striving for excellence and gives me a standard not only for my work, but how I try to live my life.

 

 

What life lessons can viewers, especially Latinos, extract from Filly Brown?

While I don't think Filly Brown set out to be a 'message' movie, there are certainly a lot of lessons that can be taken from it.  Belief in yourself.  The desire to find your own voice and your purpose in life.  The right to take your place in society (no matter what your ethnicity) and earn your piece of the American Dream.  The importance of family and a support system that strengthens you.  A lot of these things are emblematic of second generation Americans and certainly part of the Latino experience.  But the overall themes are very much a part of the American fabric, which is why I believe that, like La Bamba and Stand and Deliver, Filly Brown tells a universal story that everyone can relate to, no matter your cultural influences.

 

 

How does the cast of the movie feel about the great impact Latinos are making in Hollywood?

Especially for people like Edward James Olmos and myself, it was important to pass the torch to a younger generation, and seeing the incredibly talented cast of young people led by Gina Rodriguez, there is much hope for the future.  While things have gotten better since we made Stand and Deliver, there is still a long way to go.  We are seeing more opportunities in Hollywood and certainly more talented performers coming up who are pursuing those opportunities, but you still have to convince a lot of people in power who refuse to think outside the box.  Commercial success is really the only language they speak so we need the success of something like Filly Brown to inspire more young people to act, write, direct, sing, and do anything in the business that will increase the numbers of artists and projects out there that Hollywood will recognize as viable.  It's an ongoing battle.

 

 

If you could describe your character in Filly Brown in one word, what would it be and why?

Responsibility.  But that's a big word.  Jose behaves a certain way in the film because, as he says, 'I changed my life.'  He got his priorities straight and knew that he had to be strong and responsible because he had to raise his daughters alone.  That said, his strength made him stoic and he felt that the only way to be a rock was to be impenetrable.  He comes to accept his emotional responsibility as well and that, in my mind, is what makes him a truly great character.

 

 

Thank you to the cast of Filly Brown, and to our ALMA fans for your questions!
 

 

Edward James Olmos answers your Filly Brown questions!


Edward James Olmos plays Leandro in "Filly Brown", in theaters now!

 

 

Having been a part of the industry for some time, what major differences have you seen in the way the Latinos are treated in the industry? 
Nothing much has changed we are still not where we need to be. We are still only 2% of the images seen in film, but hopefully with movies like Filly Brown that will change.


What was it like not only working with, but receiving direction from your son in Filly Brown? 
It was wonderful he’s directed me once before. My son and Youseef Delara did a wonderful job on this film, I’m very proud of the work he’s done. It’s always fun to work with your family.


What inspires you to do what you do?
The love of the work and the privilege I have of living the life I have. It has been a dream and now I’ve been living this life for over 44 years.
 

What life lessons can viewers, especially Latinos, extract from Filly Brown?
A sense of understanding that our stories are rare but very poignant and that the family should always be united.
 

How does the cast of the movie feel about the great impact Latinos are making in Hollywood? 
We are all very proud of this work.  The future is brighter because a story like Filly Brown has arrived. We all feel very strong about his movie especially because there are so many amazing actors in it.


If you could describe your character in Filly Brown in one word, what would it be and why? 
Activist. I play the role of a lawyer that tries to help Filly Brown and the community.

 

 


Stay tuned for answers to your questions from Lou Diamond Phillips!

 

 

Filly Brown actress Gina Rodriguez answers your questions!

Gina Rodriguez stars as Majo Tonorio in "Filly Brown", in theaters now!

 

 

What advice would you give to young girls that aspire to become actresses?

My number one advice is get the best education you can get. You want to be an actress, respect the craft and those that came before you by getting a foundation in technique. The business is tough enough and when the industry goes against everything you may stand for, the one thing you have and that can never be taken away from you is your education! I feel so proud to say I studied at New York University-Tisch School of the Arts. I understand attending a big school that financially can feel out of your grasp may weigh down on you, but know there are people out there who can help, resources and loans to make your education dream a reality!

 

Do you identify with the challenges that Filly Brown goes through getting into the entertainment industry?

Sadly, yes.  Filly Brown goes through many challenges and difficult decision making and when they are founded on lies they do not hold up. So it is important to me to practice that lesson by sticking to truth and morality in an industry that can at times be convoluted by falsities.

 

Does the remarkable Gina Rodriguez rap in real life? And if so, will there be a soundtrack available as well?

Hahaha I love "the remarkable Gina Rodriguez". Truly making this Puerto Rican blush. I do rap.  The greatest gift Filly Brown gave me besides a new family was the art of rap/music.  I never did music prior but you best believe I do now and music will soon hit your ears!

 

What inspires you to do what you do?

The idea that I can do what I love every day, and be a contributing factor to the positive portrayal and advancement of my people.  I am inspired at the opportunity to be a role model for others who I share similar stories with, and create emotions and perspective in those I do not. I am inspired by the beauty of change and creating empowerment in others.

 

What life lessons can viewers, especially Latinos, extract from Filly Brown?

The truth is that the life lessons are universal. They don't affect any ethnic group more than the next. Filly Brown could be African American, Asian American, Caucasian, anyone that understands what it’s like to fight for your dreams, family and one’s happiness can relate.  But what Filly Brown does do for Latinos is it gives us an opportunity to have a film with a universal tale that just so happens to be told from the Latino American perspective.  If Filly Brown succeeds it will be that much easier for the next Latino film to be green-lit, supported and made, and if it does well then Hollywood will take notice.  The kind of notice Latinos deserve!

 

How does the cast of the movie feel about the great impact Latinos are making in Hollywood?

I feel so blessed to be seeing the slow transition of Latinos in Hollywood started by our predecessors. Actors like Rita Moreno, Edward James Olmos and Lupe Ontiveros who paved waves for Latinos.  We now carry a responsibility to continue the fight to creating a place for Latinos in Hollywood. Filly Brown, I pray, can contribute to that movement in creating positive role models in our culture.

 

If you could describe your character in Filly Brown in one word, what would it be and why?

Fearless.  Because it's the only way to live.

 

 

 

Do you have a question for the cast of Filly Brown?

FB1The much anticipated Filly Brown starring Gina Rodriguez, Edward James Olmos, Lou Diamond Phillips, and the legendary Jenni Rivera is hitting theaters on April 19th! We have an exclusive opportunity for our ALMA fans…

Do you have a question for the cast of Filly Brown? Submit your questions and we’ll pick the top ones to have the cast of Filly Brown answer them! We’ll also be selecting winners to attend Advance Screenings of the movie on Thursday, April 18th at 7:30 pm in select cities*. Enter by Tuesday, April 16th via Facebook, Twitter or SurveyMonkey, but don’t forget to include your current city!

*Winners must live in the following cities to attend screenings: Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Houston, TX; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; San Antonio, TX; Phoenix, AZ; San Jose, CA; and Mission, TX.

 

‘Tis the Season for Awards!

By: Daisy Diaz
The 2013 awards season is in full swing, and we’re excited to see how Latinos are stacking up! ALMA stars have been busy with important fashion decisions like what to wear to the Academy Awards, writing speeches for the Golden Globes, and working on perfecting performances for the Grammy’s. Just in case you haven’t been keeping track, here’s a recap of awards in 2013 so far and how Latinos are doing:

 

 

People’s Choice Awards-

Jan. 9

Christina Aguilera nominated for Favorite Celebrity Judge

Jennifer Lopez nominated for Favorite Celebrity Judge

Demi Lovato nominated for Favorite Celebrity Judge- WINNER

Pitbull nominated for Favorite Hip Hop Artist

Bruno Mars nominated for Favorite R&B Artist

Christina Aguilera nominated for special award, The People’s Voice- WINNER

Sofia Vergara nominated for Favorite Comedic TV Actress

 

Golden Globe Awards-

Jan. 13

Sofia Vergara nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-series or TV Movie

Joaquin Phoenix nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture

Louis C.K. nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series—Comedy or Musical

 

Screen Actors Guild Awards-

Jan. 27

Sofia Vergara and the cast of Modern Family nominated for Best Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series- WINNER

Sofia Vergara nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Javier Bardem nominated for Outstanding Male Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Louis C.K. nominated for Outstanding Male Actor in a Comedy Series

 

NAACP Image Awards -
Feb. 1

Bruno Mars nominated for Outstanding Male Artist

Miguel nominated for Outstanding Male Artist

Tatyana Ali nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series- WINNER

Erik Valdez Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series

 

The Grammy Awards-

Feb. 10

Miguel’s “Adorn” nominated for Song of the Year

Miguel’s “Adorn” nominated for Best R&B Performance

Miguel’s “Adorn” nominated for Best R&B Song- WINNER

Miguel’s album Kaleidoscope Dream nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album

Miguel and Wale’s song “Lotus Flower Bomb” nominated for Best Rap Song

Juanes’ album MTV Unplugged Deluxe Edition nominated for Best Latin Pop Album- WINNER

Romeo Santos’ album Formula Vol. 1 nominated for Best Tropical Latin Album

Esperanza Spalding’s album Radio Music Society nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album- WINNER

Esperanza Spalding’s “City of Roses” nominated for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)- WINNER

Esperanza Spalding’s “Radio Music Society” nominated for Best Long Form Music Video


Other Winner highlights:

Quetzal’s album Imaginaries won Best Latin Rock, Urban, or Alternative Album

Lila Downs’ album Pecados Y Milagros won Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano)

Marlow Rosado Y La Riqueña’s album Retro won Best Tropical Latin Album

 

The Oscars-

Feb. 24

Joaquin Phoenix nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role in The Master

Paco Delgado nominated for Best Costume Design in Les Misérables

Claudio Miranda nominated for Best Cinematography in Life of Pi

Gael Garcia Bernal’s film No is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film

José Antonio García nominated for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing in Argo

Edgar Ramirez's Zero Dark Thirty is nominated for Best Picture

 

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards-

Mar. 23

Victoria Justice's show Victorious nominated for Favorite TV Show

Selena Gomez's show Wizards of Waverly Place nominated for Favorite TV Show

Christina Aguilera's show The Voice nominated for Favorite Reality Show

Jake T. Austin nominated for Favorite TV Actor

Carlos Pena nominated for Favorite TV Actor

Selena Gomez nominated for Favorite TV Actress

Victoria Justice nominated for Favorite TV Actress

Bruno Mars nominated for Favorite Male Singer

 

The MTV Movie Awards-

Apr. 14

Javier Bardem nominated for Best WTF Moment for his role in Skyfall

Javier Bardem nominated for Best Villian for his role in Skyfall

Adam Rodriguez nominated for Best Musical Moment along with Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello and Kevin Nash for their roles in Magic Mike

 

The Billboard Latin Music Awards released their list of nominees last week and while the show isn’t until April 25, we are thrilled to see the incredible talent that’s been highlighted. Don Omar came back this year with a whopping 18 nominations! In 2012, he was nominated for 16 categories, but just to give you an idea, this year he’s nominated for “Artist of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, and “Male Albums Artist of the Year.” Other top contenders include Romeo Santos with 12 nominations, duo Wisin y Yandel and Jenni Rivera with 11 nominations each. Prince Royce snagged 10 nominations, and Latin sensation Pitbull received 9 nominations including “Social Artist of the Year” and “Latin Rhythm Song of the Year.”

See the full list of Billboard Latin Music Awards nominees here.

Join us on Twitter @ALMAawards as we live-tweet the Billboard Latin Music Awards on April 25.

 

You've seen the list of nominees and winners so far, but we want to know: who do you think is Missing In Action from this year's nominees?

Let us know HERE and you could win prizes from the ALMA celebrity gift lounge!