Eva Longoria, the youngest of four daughters born to Mexican-American (Tejano) parents, stopped speaking Spanish with her parents at a young age because she was discouraged from using the language at school.
“[My family] never crossed the border; the border crossed us. We’ve owned the same ranch land since 1603. That’s a big faux pas to think ‘Latino’ is synonymous with ‘immigrant’ or with ‘not from here.’ I’m not an immigrant. I’m more American than Bill O’Reilly. But America is the only country that promotes monolingualism. Here it’s English, English, English. Every other country makes their children learn a second language very early on. So as my political and social activism grew, I was like, ‘I really need to learn Spanish.’ So I did.”
Eva Longoria played a prominent role on the first night of the Democratic National Convention on August 17, 2020 (Credit: JLN Photography / WENN / Nikki Nelson / Instar / Avalon)
In a 2011 interview on Piers Morgan Live, she told the English journalist that she had only learned to speak Spanish about two years prior after going back to school.
She received her Master’s Degree in Chicano Studies at California State University in 2013. The petite actress with small feet also has a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
In June 2023, Eva Longoria revealed that her 4-year-old son, Santiago Enrique, doesn’t cut her any slack regarding her Spanish-speaking skills.
Becky G, Eva Longoria, and Diane Warren attend the special screening of Searchlight Pictures’ “Flamin’ Hot” at Hollywood Post 43 – American Legion on June 9, 2023, in Hollywood, California (Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock)
In a conversation with Kelly Clarkson on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” aired on June 8, Longoria shared that her son diligently corrects her whenever she makes a mistake in Spanish.
“His first language is Spanish, I didn’t grow up speaking Spanish,” Longoria said. “But because we lived in Mexico City and I was just shooting in Spain, he’s super fluent and corrects me all the time. And he does it with, like, attitude.”
Eva Longoria amusingly recounted how her son responds to her language errors with a touch of flair, exclaiming, “Oh my god, Mom!” This playful reaction from her 4-year-old son surprises her every time.
In good humor, Longoria shared that she finds it amusing that her young son has high expectations for her Spanish skills, stating, “I’m like: ‘You’re 4! Easy. Easy.'”
She chuckled, acknowledging that her son is disappointed with her occasional slip-ups in speaking Spanish.
During a conversation on the podcast “Connections With Eva Longoria” with guest Becky G in October 2022, Eva Longoria candidly discussed her experience filming the popular series Desperate Housewives and how being in front of the camera impacted her self-esteem and confidence.
The two influential women delved into the significance of authentic portrayals in media and how their identities as Hispanic women have shaped their perspectives and choices in their respective projects.
Eva Longoria stands at a height of approximately 5 feet ½ inch (153.7 cm), while Becky G is slightly shorter, with a height of around 4 feet 11 ½ inches (151.1 cm) (Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock)
“Back in the day, when I was a big deal,” Longoria joked, “I wouldn’t do Spanish interviews. I was terrified of not being good enough … I was afraid of being criticized.”
Longoria openly acknowledged that she did not learn Spanish while growing up and had to gradually develop her understanding of the language as she matured and embraced her identity more fully.
Throughout the years, the actress has consistently shared insights into her personal history and cultural background, allowing her audience to understand her journey more deeply.
Longoria: A Generation of Latinos Lost Their Language Due to Discrimination
Growing up in South Texas, Eva Longoria always felt a strong Texan identity and assumed that everyone around her was Hispanic due to the large Hispanic community in the area.
In an interview with The New Yorker, she said it wasn’t until she attended a gifted-and-talented school outside her neighborhood that she first heard someone call her a Mexican.
No, I always felt Texan. And, growing up in South Texas, there’s such a huge Hispanic community, so I always thought we were all Hispanic. And it wasn’t until I went to a gifted-and-talented school that was not in my neighborhood that I heard somebody call me a Mexican. And I was, like, “What’s that?” And I remember getting on a bus, I had a bean taco because that’s what I ate every day—I still eat that every day for breakfast—and everybody on the bus had a Pop-Tart. And I was, like, “Oh, my God, what is that?” And they were, like, “What is that?” And I was, like, “A bean taco!” Then I remember somebody on the bus going, “She’s Mexican.” And I was, like, “What’s that?” I had no idea because I was eight, nine years old, so my whole life I just assumed everybody ate menudo and everybody listened to mariachi.
Then, later in life—I didn’t grow up speaking Spanish—going to Mexico and all of them going, “Oh, you’re the American,” “Mira la gringa,” “Ahí está la gringa.” And I was, like, “No, I’m Mexican.” And they’re, like, “No, you’re not. You’re American.” And I was, like, “I mean, yes, but.” And, all of a sudden, I was, like, “Wait, oh, so I’m both,” and it wasn’t really until college that I navigated that identity, straddling the hyphen of being both.
Longoria shared that her parents spoke Spanish to each other, but societal pressures from the school, community, and society at large led them to believe that it was best not to teach their children Spanish.
Eva Longoria revealed that her parents chose not to teach their children Spanish due to societal pressures and fear of potential discrimination, leading to a generation, including Longoria, growing up without the language (Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock)
They were afraid that their children might face discrimination or injustice due to their accents or speaking a different language. This resulted in a generation, including Longoria herself, growing up without speaking Spanish.
My parents spoke Spanish to each other, but they were told by the school, by society, by the community, “Do not teach them Spanish. They need to be English-only.” And so she was really terrified to speak to us in Spanish because she didn’t want us to experience any sort of injustice because we had an accent or because we spoke a different language. It was an era in which a whole generation of us didn’t speak Spanish.
I remember going home and begging my mom to buy Pop-Tarts. I was, like, “Please!” And she was, like, “I am not buying you Pop-Tarts. That is not happening.” Even though they chose not to teach us Spanish, my parents gave me immense pride and lessons in our culture, in our history, in our genealogy.
Can Eva Longoria speak French?
While engaged to Tony Parker, a French-American former professional basketball player, Eva Longoria learned to speak French.
“He’s terrible. He always wants to speak English,” Longoria told People in 2006 about going to a French school for several hours per day.
“I try to remind him but he always forgets and says it’s easier and faster to speak English, but I want to understand.”
Eva Longoria learned to speak French when engaged to Tony Parker (Credit: JLN Photography / WENN / Nikki Nelson / Instar / Avalon)
I’m proud to have a Mexican heritage, and I’d always deeply rooted my identity in it. Then, about ten years ago, I went to Mexico … when I got there, I was perceived as American because I didn’t speak Spanish and at the time knew very little about the history of Mexico. Yet in America, I was considered Mexican because of how I looked and my last name. It was confusing. I thought, ‘If I’m not Mexican, and I’m not American, who am I?’
In August 2019 with Parents, Longoria revealed she’s raising her son, Santiago Enrique Bastón, to be bilingual. Her first Spanish role was in Days of Grace (Spanish: Días de Gracia), a 2011 Mexican crime film directed by Everardo Gout.
“I was very terrified, despite playing the role of a U.S. citizen who speaks Spanish, but it was a challenge to act in another language,” she said in an interview while promoting the film.
Amber Tamblyn and Eva Longoria arrive at Emily’s List 3rd annual pre-Oscars event at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on February 4, 2020, in Los Angeles, California (Credit: JLN Photography / WENN / Nikki Nelson / Instar / Avalon)
Longoria and Martin: A Friendship That Spans Decades
Did you know Latina actress Eva Longoria and Latino pop star Ricky Martin are longtime friends?
Not only that — if you ask Eva, she actually considers Ricky to be her “spiritual twin.”
Eva Longoria wears her dark hair down at the Global Gift Foundation Dinner held December 3, 2015, at the Auberge Residences & Spa in Miami (Credit: JLN Photography / WENN / Nikki Nelson / Instar / Avalon)
In December 2015, Eva graced the red carpet of the Global Gift Foundation Dinner held in Miami.
Eva Longoria and Ricky Martin pose together at the Global Gift Foundation Dinner (Credit: JLN Photography / WENN / Nikki Nelson / Instar / Avalon)
Not only do the two share ethnic roots, but they also seemingly share a common life objective: to uplift people.
The two supported the Global Gift Foundation, a non-profit organization that empowers women and children.
Eva Longoria wears a pale green Maria Lucia Hohan lace dress during a red carpet interview (Credit: JLN Photography / WENN / Nikki Nelson / Instar / Avalon)
Oh, did we mention that the two arrived at the event on behalf of their own separate non-profit namesake organizations? Now we understand the spiritual twin thing.
Eva Longoria’s feet in Prada sandals (Credit: JLN Photography / WENN / Nikki Nelson / Instar / Avalon)
Eva stunned on the red carpet in a pale green Maria Lucia Hohan lace dress, which she paired with rose gold Prada sandals.
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