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Mexican-American Actress Longoria Speaks Out

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Actress Eva Longoria attends the 'De Rouille et D'os' Premiere during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Early life:

Eva Jacqueline Longoria was born March 15, 1975, in Corpus Christi, Texas, to Mexican-Americans Enrique Longoria, Jr. and Ella Eva Mireles. She grew up on a ranch the youngest of four daughters. She was raised Roman Catholic within the fast-growing Mexican-American community.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

She won the title of Miss Corpus Christi, USA, in 1998. After completing college, Longoria entered a talent contest that led her to Los Angeles, Cal. She was married to Tyler Christopher from 2002 to 2004, and to San Antonio Spurs basketball star Tony Parker from 2007 to 2011.

Professional Career:

She is most known for her role as Gabrielle Solis on the ABC series Desperate Housewives, and she won two Screen Actors Guild Awards (2004 and 2005); won the 2007 People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Female TV Star, and received an ALMA Award and named Entertainer of the Year in 2006.

But before Desperate Housewives, she was already a veteran of TV shows including The Bold and the Beautiful, Beverly Hills, 90210, and General Hospital. Her first major TV role was on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless; she played Isabella Brana from 2001 to 2003.

She starred with Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland in the 2006 thriller The Sentinel, and that same year starred in Harsh Times with Christian Bale. Upcoming movies include the indie drama Long Time Gone, the comedy Who Gets the Dog, and a historical drama Four Kings co-starring Brendan Fraser.

She was spokeswoman for L’Oreal Paris from 2005 to 2010. She released her fragrance Eva by Eva Longoria in 2010. Based on her earnings from June 1, 2009 to June 1, 2010, she ranked No. 4 on Forbes Prime Time’s 10 Top-Earning Women with an estimated $12 million.

Political Career as Democratic Activist:

Longoria made a serious move into politics in 2012 when she became a national co-chair in President Obama's reelection campaign and delivered a prime time speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

She spoke about the importance of education in lifting immigrant families. Here are excerpts from her speech:

"I am honored to be here as co-chair of President Obama's re-election campaign, and so proud of my friend and fellow Texan, Julian Castro. Didn't he do a great job?

"I feel fortunate to be standing on this stage tonight. I never could've imagined it growing up. I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, the youngest of four girls, including my oldest sister, Lisa, who has special needs. My mom was a special education teacher, and my dad worked on the Army base. We weren't wealthy, but we were determined to succeed.

"In my family, there was one cardinal priority—education. College was not an option; it was mandatory. So even though we didn't have a lot of money, we made it work. I signed up for financial aid, Pell Grants, work study, anything I could. Just like our president and first lady, I took out loans to pay for school. Then I changed oil in a mechanic shop, flipped burgers at Wendy's, taught aerobics and worked on campus to pay them back.

"Like a lot of you, I did whatever it took and, four years later, I got my degree. More importantly, I got a key to American opportunity. That's who we are—a nation that rewards ambition with opportunity. Where hard work can lead to success, no matter where you start. Traveling the country for the president, I see young Americans of every background fighting to succeed. They're optimistic, ambitious, hardworking. But they also want to know that their hard work will pay off.

"We're lucky our president understands the value of American opportunity, because he's lived it! And he's fighting to help others achieve it. He's fighting to make college more affordable! He's cut taxes for every working American. He's helping small businesses get loans and has cut their taxes eighteen times. Eighteen times!...

"We face a choice this election. President Obama is fighting for changes that grow the economy from the middle out and help all Americans succeed—jobs, education, health reform, the DREAM Act, equal pay for women. He is moving us forward with opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow. Mitt Romney wants to take us back to yesterday.

"But America was built by optimists. Optimists like my friend Amanda, who recently started a small business. When she went to buy her website address—her first and last name—she found that someone already owned it, but wasn't using it. So my friend emailed the owner of the site to ask if she could buy it. The owner wrote back.

"She is a 13-year-old girl who shares Amanda's name, and politely explained that she could not give up the website. Why? Because the younger Amanda plans to be president of the United States, and she's going to need the website for her campaign.

"Here is a girl who at 13 years old firmly believes she can build her American dream. And here's a president who's building an America where that dream is possible. Let's fight for the American dream! Amanda's, yours, mine, all of ours! We know how to do that.  We know what we need to do. Let's re-elect President Obama!"

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