Eva Longoria Puts On Her “White Male Privilege Pants” When She Wants to Get a Job
Eva Longoria’s business savvy is no secret. From her production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, Los-Angeles based restaurant Beso, non-profit Eva Longoria Foundation, and more, Dora star is building an empire.
When it comes to taking on Hollywood and beyond like a boss, there is one piece of advice she says changed the game for her, and it came from her colleague on the ABC hit Grand Hotel, writer Brian Tanen: Tell, don’t ask.
“I was practice pitching with him, this movie, and he said, ‘You gotta put your white male privilege pants on and act like you have this job, and tell them why they're hiring you and how you're going to do it,” Longoria told InStyle at WrapWomen’s Power Women Summit at the Fairmont MiramarHotel in Santa Monica, Calif. “As opposed to asking for permission of like, ‘well I'd like to do it this way. What are you guys thinking? I think you should do it this way.’ And that like changed [things],” she continued. “That blew my mind. And I got the job, because I went in there and I said, ‘You're hiring me. Here's my idea. This is the way I'm going to shoot it. This is what's going to happen. And they go, ‘Oh.’ They don't expect that from a woman, especially from a woman of color, and that was a huge piece of advice that I carry with me in every room that I enter. Put your white male privilege pants on.”
Longoria wasn’t just sharing her own secret to success. As the keynote speaker at the summit, she was taking on the lack of diversity in Hollywood — especially in those behind-the-camera positions of power. She encouraged the women in the room to do all that they can to help increase diversity in Hollywood, especially if, like her, they are now in seats of power.
“Little girls who feel inadequate, that’s on us,” she told the audience. “People of color who are disenfranchised, that’s on us in this room. Women who are constantly underrepresented, underpaid, underprotected, that’s on us to do something. Children are in cages right now in this country at this moment, and that is on us. It is up to us and only us to change that.”
She called on the visibility granted by their platform in Hollywood as a tool in the fight. “We have the power in Hollywood to do something about this,” she continued. “I’m asking you to help me change the way people see my community, people of color, my brothers and sisters, me, how people are going to see my son. Because I was that little girl on the bus where people had to whisper that I’m Mexican like it was something horrible. I don’t want my son to grow up in that world. If you want something done, ask a busy woman to do it. Change isn’t going to be given to us — we have to make it. This is the room where it happens!”
It is experiences like that one — speaking to hundreds of women about social and political issues — that empowers and inspires Longoria to keep trying to make a difference. “People motivate me, people inspire me in any aspect of my job and in my activism,” she said. “When you see a gathering like today you go, wow, women are thirsty for guidance and knowledge of how to succeed. Americans are thirsty for change.”