Eva Longoria, Why I Went to Wendy’s to Flip Burgers
To help pay for a quinceañera, actress Eva Longoria took a job flipping burgers at Wendy's.
Actress, Producer, Director & Activist
Eva Longoria talks about growing up in a family of powerful women, beginning her acting career in Hollywood, and starting her foundation to help Latinas through education and entrepreneurship.
Eva Longoria is a Golden Globe-nominated, Screen Actors Guild and ALMA Award-winning actress, producer, director, entrepreneur, philanthropist and “Desperate Housewives” alum. Eva is set to star opposite Academy Award-nominee Demian Bichir in the Universal feature film LOWRIDERS, which looks at the lives of low-riding culture enthusiasts in LA’s Latino communities, slated for a May 12th wide theatrical release. Additionally, Eva recently filmed the BBC miniseries “Decline and Fall” opposite Brit comedy star Jack Whitehall. Set in 1920s Wales, “Decline and Fall” is a bitingly funny satire that follows the life and times of hapless ‘Paul Pennyfeather’ (Whitehall) who meets and pursues the delectable ‘Margot Beste-Chetwynde’ (Longoria), a wealthy, powerful, and beautiful American woman, which premieres Spring 2017.
Eva recently directed an episode of the Golden Globe-nominated CW series “Jane the Virgin” and is set to direct the Emmy Award-winning series “Black-ish.” She recently celebrated 10 years as a Global Brand Ambassador for L’Oreal Paris, owns BESO Restaurant in Hollywood, production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, fragrances “EVA” and “EVAmour,” has a NY Times bestselling cookbook EVA’S KITCHEN, and a home collection line with JCPenney.
Her greatest work is as a champion of women, the Latino community and youth with special needs. She is founder of “The Eva Longoria Foundation” to help Latinas build better futures for themselves through education and entrepreneurship; co-founder of “Eva’s Heroes” which enriches the lives of those with intellectual special needs; and is the National Spokesperson for “Padres Contra el Cancer,” a non-profit that is committed to improving the quality of life for Latino children with cancer. Additionally, Eva received her Master’s degree in Chicano Studies from California State University, Northridge, writing her thesis on “Success STEMS from Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.”
- When I was about 12 or 13 years old I wanted to a quinceañera which is a 15th birthday party for Mexican culture. And it's like a wedding, I mean, it is a big party, and my parents were like, "No! "No. "Your sisters didn't get a quinceañera, "you're not getting a quinceañera." And I was like I'm gonna save money by myself to pay for my quinceañera, and so I went to Wendy's to flip burgers. And of course, I'm at Wendy's and I immediately want to know everything. I wanted to know how long it took a bun to get in the toaster from the time you put it in to the time it popped out, because the customer would have a hot bun as opposed to just putting buns through the toaster and leaving them up in the warmer. I mean, I always thought of things like that. Like, how can I better make this experience for somebody. I was always curious and like 10 steps ahead of like, "You know it would be better if we did it this way." And management or my CEO or different people would be like okay.
- One moment that stuck in my head with Desperate Housewives at the beginning was when we were asked to be on Oprah and I was like 'cause I was the biggest Oprah fan. I was like oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, we're goin' on Orpah. I remember bawling when I met her, I think she was like Eva Longoria's crazy and I was, I just jumped on her like a monkey. I was just on her and I didn't let go of Oprah and I was like I love you so much, oh my god, you don't even understand. But I remember we were on Oprah I wanna say before we aired or maybe right when we aired, so just that phenomenon and connection we had to so many women and men around the world and that wasan amazing feeling. It was just surreal, I felt like I was floating.
- I was the last one in my family to get a Master's degree, not a Bachelor's, a Master's. So I'm like the underachiever in my family in their eyes. Everybody always had these like celebrity as role models and I always had my aunts or my sisters or my mom. I think I get my work ethic from how I grew up because I always think I'm not doing enough. I'm like oh my gosh, my mom raised four girls, one with special needs, had a full-time job, and had dinner on the table at six o'clock every day.
- My thesis was about Latinas in STEM fields because STEM jobs, science, technology, engineering, math, obviously that's the fastest growing sector of jobs in the world. And if you look at Latinos, or you look at any community, it's the women in that community that are leading the way. They are the CEOs of the household. They are making the financial decisions, the educational decisions, the healthcare decision, the economic decisions in every household. My goal with my foundation and with my thesis, which lead to my foundation, was how do we arm Latinas with the ability to have economic mobility in life. How do they get ahead? How do they become independent? And it was so much fun to research and be specific and to somehow contribute back to the community in which I came from. And my foundation is really, stems from that.
- I knew no, not one soul when I moved to Los Angeles, but I had a degree, and so I went into a temp agency to get a temp job and then the temp agency ended up hiring me. That's how I just started making money working as, at this temp agency as a headhunter. I did so well, and I remember the CEO asking me, do you wanna be on commission or base salary. I was like, oh, I wanna be commission 'cause I know I'm gonna work hard, and I ended up making so much money at 22 years old because I was on this pay structure in which you're rewarded for your work. I remember the CEO of the staffing company saying, okay, we need to talk about your commission structure 'cause it was never meant to to handle the volume that you are producing. I got Young and the Restless and at the time, I was making way more than that as a headhunter and I was like, I can't live on that. So, I stayed a headhunter and I did it from my dressing room at Young and the Restless until I started getting recognized and then I had to stop.
- Success drives me everyday. The possibility of attaining success drives me. So many times failure drives people, like they go I don't wanna fail, therefore I'm gonna do this. I'm glass half-full kind of person, I'm like I'm gonna be successful, so I have to do this, this, this today. I also think there's 48 hours in one day and I schedule my day like that. I have every minute accounted for, every moment I'm in the car, every moment that I'm on the phone, every moment that I'm on a plane there's something I'm doing towards a goal. There's very, very little time that I'm unwinding and not doing something. Even if I'm watching a TV series, it's probably homework.
- One of my mentors, my Civil Right mentors was Dolores Huerta, and she said, "Hermana, you're gonna have a voice one day, "so make sure you have something to say." And that was before I was famous, before I was anybody, she just said, "You're gonna have a voice "and so make it count."
- In this industry, I feel like I'm good at what I do as a producer, as a director, as an actor because I touched every rung of the ladder. I had one line, and then I had two line, then I had five lines, then I had a role, then I had a bigger role, then I, I had not a hit show and then I had a hit show. I produced a little thing then I produced a big thing. Like if you touch every rung of the ladder, you're gonna get up the ladder. It's the people that skip some rungs that may slip sometimes because you have to understand every aspect of the business to be good at it.
- I was intimidated so much when I was asked to direct. But I knew I was good, I mean I knew I had what it took. I used Desperate Housewives and being on set for nearly 10 years as my film school. I paid attention to where the lights went. I paid attention to camera choreography. I knew it was in me, but that doesn't help with the nerves. I was still like oh my god. But the great thing about directing is you surround yourself with people smarter than you. I mean, I surrounded myself with an amazing DPE, amazing production designer, amazing props, amazing grips, amazing crew, and they do the work. I mean, there are things that I've directed where I've imagined it one way and once you get a group of creative people in a room and they pitch you their ways. And you go, yes. Cause in my world of directing, best idea wins. And it doesn't have to be my idea.