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Saturday 26 July 2014

All about Eva: a Desperate Housewife in the corridors of power

Published 27/01/2013|05:00

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Actress Eva Longoria arrives for the second presidential inauguration of President Barack Obama
Actress Eva Longoria arrives for the second presidential inauguration of President Barack Obama

SHE shot to fame as a sultry seductress in Desperate Housewives, regularly features on glossy magazine lists of "hottest women", is producing a dating reality show in Los Angeles and has been romantically attached to sports stars.

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But Eva Longoria has now taken on a new role – reinventing herself as a political activist on the national stage, a champion of immigration reform and Hispanic causes and a confidante of Barack and Michelle Obama.

During celebrations for the president's second inauguration in Washington last weekend, the 37-year-old actress seemed ubiquitous among the wide-eyed celebrities that swirled around the first couple. Yet she is also playing an increasingly serious part in American public life: using her profile to push for greater recognition of the contribution made by the country's largest minority to culture, the economy and to politics.

Last night, she chaired a Q&A session in Los Angeles with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic person to sit on the Supreme Court, a woman who began life in a poor district of New York but clawed her way up through education and hard work to the highest court in the land.

Longoria is far from the first Hollywood celebrity to be attracted by the glamorous aspects of American politics.

But she had earned her formal position as co-chair of Mr Obama's inaugural committee – with a seat on the platform for his swearing in and an invitation to the private party at the White House after the public events – by her work during his election campaign. S

he helped to channel millions of dollars towards his campaign at fundraising parties and emerged as an articulate spokeswoman for the president on the stump.

Now she is campaigning to persuade Americans that the country's immigration laws need reform, to make it easier for the children of illegal immigrants to become US citizens and to provide a pathway to citizenship for their parents – something for which Mr Obama will be pushing as part of a new package of legislation he has promised to unveil.

Republicans have previously tried to block any such reform, but, since Mr Obama won three-quarters of the Latino vote at the election, they are now considering how to reshape their own policies: a moment of opportunity, Longoria believes.

"I think the Republicans are going to realise that if they don't do it because it's morally imperative, they have to do it because it's politically imperative," she told an interviewer.

To underline her point, last week she co-hosted a brunch in Washington, attended by senior figures from both sides, aimed at increasing co-operation between Democrats and Republicans in policymaking.

Longoria emerged last summer on to a national political stage with an assured performance at the Democratic National Convention.

She produced one of the convention's most quotable putdowns when she attacked the Republican candidate Mitt Romney for supporting tax cuts for the rich.

"The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy's, flipping burgers – she needed a tax break," she said. "But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not."

by Philip Sherwell in Washington © telegraph.co.uk

Sunday Independent

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