For the second year in row, the extraordinary Eva Longoria is teaming up with late night host George Lopez to host the 2012 NCLA ALMA Awards.
Yesterday, on Sept. 16, the dynamic duo celebrated the nation’s pioneering Latinos in television, film and music during a night of red carpet fashion, speeches, a touching tribute to Christina Aguilera and a live performance by Flo Rida.
Presented by the National Council of La Raza—the largest national civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.—the show airs on Friday, Sept. 21 on NBC at 8 p.m. EDT.
And the night before all the action went down at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Calif., Target (the exclusive sponsor of the awards) hosted Eva Longoria and friends at her foundation dinner at her own Hollywood restaurant, Beso.
We chatted with the “Desperate Housewives” star about the ALMA Awards, her foundation and what it means to the Latina community.
Tell us about the dinner before the ALMA awards.
Eva Longoria: I hosted a private dinner to celebrate the Eva Longoria Foundation and our work to support Latinas. We convened Latino leaders and supporters of the Foundation, all of whom have a stake in this cause and are interested in working together to elevate the Latina community. And of course we did it all over a delicious meal!
How did the Eva Longoria Foundation end up partnering with Target?
EL: We’re both very dedicated to giving back to the Latina community. Target understood what my foundation was working towards and they were instant supporters. Simple as that! It’s really just a natural fit and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with them.
Can you tell us a little about your foundation and its mission?
EL: The Eva Longoria Foundation helps Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families. We focus on education and entrepreneurship because both have the power to transform lives. Those are also areas where Latinas currently need more support so my foundation is working to fill that gap.
What inspired you to create your foundation?
EL: As a Mexican-American woman, I’ve always had a strong connection to the Latina community. I started my foundation because I realized that Latinas had amazing potential, but many lacked the resources to succeed. It seemed both unfair and wasteful, so I decided to do everything in my power to help Latinas unlock their potential.
Is your Hispanic heritage an important part of your identity?
EL: Yes, my Hispanic heritage is very important to who I am as a person. It’s been a major influence in my career, my philanthropy, and my personal life. I’m excited to be hosting my foundation event during Hispanic Heritage Month as a tribute to the Hispanic community and the important role we play in this country.
Why do you think the ALMA awards—a show celebrating the best of Latinos in entertainment—is important?
EL: Latinos play a crucial role in entertainment–both on camera and behind the scenes–and it’s important that we recognize these contributions. We should be proud of what our community has accomplished. The ALMAs are all about celebrating those accomplishments and instilling pride in our community.
This was your second time hosting the ALMAs with George Lopez. How was it?
EL: Yes, George is a good friend and an amazing co-host. I always look forward to seeing him and it’s really an honor to share the stage with such a great comedian. He keeps me on my toes!
You’ve met Bullseye before at many events. Were you excited to see your red carpet buddy again?
EL: Of course, I always love to see a friendly face on the red carpet. And who could be friendlier than Bullseye?
Speaking of Bullseye, we have to ask—when you shop at Target, what goes in your cart?
EL: Well, I love to cook so I’m a big fan of Target’s kitchen section. No matter what, I can always find something I need.
Photos by Getty Images