Eva Longoria on her sister who has a disability: ‘I’m humbled by everything she shows me’

The last time I saw Eva Longoria on TV, she played a version of herself on an episode of Jane the Virgin. I didn’t realize that she’d actually directed an episode of the show, too, and that she’s directed episodes of several television shows, including Black-ish. On Saturday, she talked a bit about her future directing projects when she was honored with the HollyRod Humanitarian Award, presented by the HollyRod Foundation, which was founded by Roney Peete and Holly Robinson Peete. Eva credits one of her older sisters, Liza, who has an intellectual disability, as part of the reason that she chose to pursue humanitarian work:

Eva Longoria says she wouldn’t be the humanitarian she is today without some inspiration from her oldest sister Liza, who was born with an intellectual disability.

“That’s really where all of my philanthropy and charity work comes from is living a life with Liza and somebody like Liza,” Longoria said at the HollyRod Foundation’s 21st annual DesignCare Gala. “I’m always humbled by everything she shows me and teaches me, especially now that I have a child.”

Longoria was honored Saturday night with the “HollyRod Humanitarian Award,” which was presented by the HollyRod Foundation, an organization founded by Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete in support of those affected by autism and Parkinson’s disease.

The couple created the foundation in 1999 after Holly Robinson Peet’s father died following a struggle with Parkinson’s. Additionally, their son RJ was diagnosed with autism and given “a never list,” which dictated a number of tasks he would never be able to do.

Upon accepting her honor, Longoria related her own experience growing up alongside her sister’s intellectual disability. “She too was on that never list,” Longoria said. “She would never talk. She would never have an emotion towards anybody. Today she has a job; she is happy.”

Eva shared a story about a discussion with Liza when Liza was in high school that Eva said “taught [her] compassion.” Someone had stolen Liza’s jacket, and Eva was furious:

“I remember being so mad. I wanted to go to the school and kick somebody’s ass. I’m going to go find this person,” she said.” I went to Liza and asked, ‘Who stole your jacket?’ And she said, ‘Somebody who must have been cold.’ And she taught me compassion. She never saw or never sees the evil in anybody. She just thinks somebody needed it more than I. And that’s what tonight is about. There are families and children that need this more than us.”

[From Variety]

It sounds like Eva adores Liza, and I’m glad that she’s using her own personal experiences and her celebrity in service of humanitarian causes. We need more of those kinds of actions right now. Eva uses her personal experiences when she’s working as a director, too; she has two projects in development. She’ll co-star with Kerry Washington in what she told Variety is a “‘female comedy.’” The second is “‘a story about my community, the Latino community.’” She explained, “‘Both are really extensions of worlds I know.’” Both projects sound interesting (from the tiny soundbites we’ve gotten here), so I’ll be keeping tabs on them.




photos credit: WENN

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21 Responses to “Eva Longoria on her sister who has a disability: ‘I’m humbled by everything she shows me’”

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  1. Lara says:

    On a personal note my brother in law has very severe autism and watching my husbands family with him made me realise what love and sacrifice is. It was one of the major reasons I fell for my husband – the patience and love he showed his brother.

  2. Allie says:

    A couple of weeks ago I watched the documentary “Reversing Roe” on Netflix and was surprised to see that she was the Executive Producer of it. I never thought that she’d do important work like this.

  3. Alexandria says:

    I didn’t think much of her when she made it big after Desperate Housewives. But now I’m glad she made it big because she seems to channel her success to worthy causes including for women.

  4. Mia4s says:

    I hear you Eva, I hear you. It’s a situation that will teach you to be a better person than would have otherwise been possible. We are lucky to have them. 🙂

  5. Wisca says:

    While she was famous & acting she got her Master’s degree in Chicano Studies. She’s politically active & has always been an admirable public figure. I LOVE the second white dress.

    • Jerusha says:

      She campaigned for Obama in 2008 and appeared on several of the political talk shows. She knew her stuff, responded to questions with facts and figures at her fingertips. I was very impressed.
      PS She looks good in every outfit shown here.

      • DiegoInSF says:

        She also campaigned for the President in 2012 and the President by Popular Vote in 2016. She’s awesome!

  6. Sleanne says:

    I work a couple shifts in a residential home each month (extra money – long story) and the people I work with have very extreme challenges. One shift I came home just in time to put my kids to bed. My youngest said I love you and it suddenly hit me that some of the people i worked with are non-verbal. Their parents have never heard those words. I felt like the richest person in the world and I cried for about 10 minutes. My next shift I really paid attention to body language and facial expression. One lad pressed his forehead against mine after we did something together and it became really clear he was thanking me. I realized his parents knew he loved them, he just said it differently. My outlook completely changed and now I don’t even think of it as a second job. I’ve developed genuine connections. I’m visiting friends and I happen to help out a bit.

    • LadyT says:

      Thank you for your lovely story. I once got a long hand-squeeze that said so much more than words.

    • Mel M says:

      Beautiful, thank you for your thoughts and your service to people with special needs. We need a lot more people like you. My oldest has epilepsy and significant special needs. She’s non verbal as well but is the sweetest soul I know, always happy and when she’s not you know she needs something. She also has the most animated face and eyes and can tell you so much with them. Like Eva said though I’m glad she doesn’t have the awareness of people being mean and nasty.

    • Noli says:

      Thank you for sharing.

    • DiegoInSF says:

      Thank you, Sleanne! What a heartwarming story!

    • Oh_Dear says:

      I love your story, thank you for sharing.
      Have you ever heard of or seen Martin Pistorius’ Tedtalk? It is so powerful. For anyone who has not, he describes the experience of not being able to communicate after having neurotypical development up to the age of 10, I think. He tells the story of living in his body without a voice but an active mind – I think all caregivers and educators should watch it for perspective. I ask my preservice teachers to watch it when we discuss different impairments/disabilities.


      note – He does describe that he had been abused at the 4:15 – 5:33 mark for anyone who needs to avoid that content.

  7. Croatian says:

    To think I thought of her as just one of the Desperate housewives! I love her, she is very smart and is trying to shift things in the world. Plus – I loved her since the guys (who played their husbands) from Desperate housewives said to the main (female) cast they should support their pay raise, that they should have equal pay, and she said – Why? You would never do that for us. And we work more.

  8. Ale says:

    Fyi- she is an executive producer in the John Wick franchise. When I saw it, my mind was blown.

  9. Alyse says:

    Seems topical.. I just found out about this great charity (run for and by) people with disabilities who are interested in gaming: Able Gamers, making it accessible for all.

    So if you know anyone who may be interested let them know! Includes helping with equipment for people who couldn’t use traditional controls etc, and aside from bringing entertainment, helps with the social isolation that can be a side effect of disabled life.

    (I 100% don’t have any affiliation with them… I just found out about them & let one of my friends with GBS know, he was so excited, and now I want to keep spreading the world for others who could benefit!)

  10. Lama Bean says:

    Doesn’t she also executive produce a show on ABC about a family running and owning a Miami hotel? It’s very Devious Maids/Desperate Housewives-ish. (I actually loved Devious Maids.)