| 15.5°C Dublin

Women still face big obstacles in business: Eva

Close

Eva Longoria at the Web Summit

Eva Longoria at the Web Summit

Hollywood actress Eva Longoria at the Web Summit at the RDS.

Hollywood actress Eva Longoria at the Web Summit at the RDS.

Hollywood actress Eva Longoria speaking to Jemima Khan at the Web Summit at the RDS

Hollywood actress Eva Longoria speaking to Jemima Khan at the Web Summit at the RDS

Lily Cole with Jemima Khan

Lily Cole with Jemima Khan

/

Eva Longoria at the Web Summit

Hollywood actress Eva Longoria considers it a blessing that she became famous 'late in life'.

Speaking at the Web Summit, the Desperate Housewives star said that women in business still faced big obstacles.

The former beauty queen, who shot to fame on the comedy drama, has taken time out from Hollywood to pursue her philanthropic work, in particular with the Eva Longoria Foundation, which helps Latina women.

While Hollywood might fight to put 'women in boxes', Longoria says her education and not her glittering career, is her proudest achievement.

"I don't allow fame to define me," she told the crowd in the RDS where she was interviewed on stage by Jemima Khan. "No one wants to hear a famous person complain. They think, 'Oh, boo hoo for them'.

"I became famous quite late in life - I was 28 or 29. I already had my BA, my education and I was quite set in who I am. If you allow the media to define you as 'America's Sweetheart' or the 'funny woman', that's where you get into trouble. Because I was so set in who I was, it brushes off me."

Ageism in Hollywood is still rampant, however, as is the underrepresentation of women in film.

"I'm still young, so I haven't experienced the ageism yet," said the 39-year-old. "I was on a show called Desperate Housewives, where most of the female leads were over the age of 40 and it became a global phenomenon."

"Women are underrepresented in film. People tend to put women in boxes. They're sexy, smart, ambitious, a mother.

"What we need to do is to prove to people that women are all of those things at the same time.

"Women can have it all ...just not at the same time," she laughed.

And while her long-term fans will know she's been a political activist since she was a teenager, Longoria clarified that she didn't jump on a cause simply because she's a celebrity.

On a day when Barack Obama was struggling ahead of today's US midterm elections, the actress decided to show her own support.

"I've always been political, I campaigned for Bill Clinton's when I was 17," she said.

"I try not to talk about Hilary Clinton because we have a current President who needs a lot of public support."

Irish Independent