ENTERTAINMENT

Eva Longoria says 'Telenovela,' about an actress straddling 2 cultures, is her 'life story'

TELENOVELA -- Episode 101 -- Pictured: Eva Longoria as Ana Sofia Calderon -- (Photo by: Ben Cohen/NBC)

TELENOVELA -- Episode 101 -- Pictured: Eva Longoria as Ana Sofia Calderon -- (Photo by: Ben Cohen/NBC)  (2015 NBCUniversal Media, LLC)

Eva Longoria is proud of her Mexican heritage. So it’s no surprise that she taps into the Latino community for talent when she works on T.V. and film projects.

But the actress-producer-director insists that her new show, “Telenovela,” is not a “Latino comedy” but a show with universal themes of family, friends, love and work.

“Sometimes people say, “Oh, I’m 50 percent Mexican; I’m 50 percent American,” but I’m actually 100 percent Mexican and 100 percent American at all times,” Longoria, 40, told Parade.com. “So it is a marriage of my values and beliefs that there have been communities that have long been ignored for talent, and the Latino community is one of them.”

She said she does not set out to do Latino content but seeks to pick artists who reflect the country’s diversity.

“I have tapped into something that I think reflects the changing landscape of America,” she said.

She does hope, however, that Latinos will tune into her new show on NBC, but expects that different groups are going to be entertained and identify with the characters – even if they are not Latino.

“Because they’re human beings dealing with different things in their lives,” she said. “We deal with it through the comedic lens, but they’re still universal issues.”

Longoria, who returns to TV after wrapping up “Desperate Housewives,” stars as the self-involved Ana Sofia, a star of a popular Spanish-language soap opera with a secret: She doesn’t speak Spanish.”

“She’s actually self‑involved in an insecure way. She doesn’t mean to be. She just feels like she is not worthy enough,” Longoria said. “As you can tell, she doesn’t speak Spanish. So she’s always one foot in, one foot out of this culture, which is really my life story.”

The recently engaged Longoria said her return to television – after dipping her toe back into the water with special appearances on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” – was rough to get used to.

“Oh my God, those 5 a.m. call times! I’m like, ‘Do I really want to go back? Oh, my God, I’m enjoying this so much’,” she said. “So that was a little tough, but that’s a conditioning thing. I was always up for Housewives at 5:30, 6 a.m., and then to not do it for three years, and have to do it again…”

Opening up about her engagement to fiancee Jose Antonio Baston, Longoria told "Today Show" co-host Savannah Guthrie on Monday that she will have a "big, fat Mexican wedding" but is in no rush to walk down the aisle just yet.

"We haven't even discussed it," she told Guthrie on Monday of planning their nuptials. "I mean, I'm still in the glow of the engagement, and it was such a surprise ... so we're still absorbing that moment."

Baston, 47, proposed to the actress during a romantic trip to Dubai after two years of dating.

"He's amazing, he's gorgeous and really the kindest human being I've ever met," she said of her businessman fiancee. "He's really private, so I never talk about him!"

“Telenovela” premiered on NBC in December, but moves to its regular time slot on Jan. 4 at 8:30 p.m. after the premiere of “Superstore” starring America Ferrera.

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