Feb 17, 2022 - Economy

Eva Longoria wants to “change the gatekeepers” in Hollywood

Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria. Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Actor and director Eva Longoria wants to "change the gatekeepers" in Hollywood to ensure that more people of color, especially Latinos, are represented on television, in film and behind the scenes.

The big picture: Hollywood is “not built to welcome people who don't have experience, and traditionally, people of color, especially Latinos, have not been in a place where they can get that experience,” Longoria tells Axios.

  • Several Latino-led shows in the last couple of years have been canceled after only a few seasons, despite good reviews and loyal audiences.
  • The latest to be canceled is Nickelodeon's "The Casagrandes," a cartoon about a multi-generational Latino family that lives under one roof.

What she's saying: Part of the problem is the lack of diversity among executives and the limited opportunities Latinos have to gain the experience needed to create and run shows, Longoria says.

  • "I wish the gatekeepers would give more time to see something grow, but in this moment, content is moving so fast and so they don't have time to let it sit," adds Longoria, who is also co-founder of Poderistas, an online community created by Latinas for Latinas that aims to harness their power.

But, but, but: Creators also need to keep pushing to get their foot in the door and advocate for themselves, Longoria says.

  • Even after 12 years of directing and over two decades in the business, Longoria had to push hard to be director of the upcoming feature film "Flamin' Hot," about the man credited with creating the famous potato chips, she says.
  • "First of all, do it. Write it," Longoria adds. "Go fetch coffee for a year for Shonda Rhimes. There's so many people in this new generation not willing to put the work in."
  • But "the other side of that coin" is the gatekeepers who don't let people in, she said.

The bottom line: Latino content creators can succeed if they tell unique stories that carry a universal message, like the megahit "Squid Game," a Korean show that resonated with American audiences because its core message was against classism, Longoria says.

Go deeper: Why networks are quick to cancel rarely greenlit Latino shows

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