Eva Longoria opens up about her politics — and why she won't run for office: 'You don't have to be a politician to be political'

Eva Longoria may be one of the more politically active celebrities, but she's ruled out the possibility of running for office one day.

In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning, the actress, producer and director shot down the idea of a political run.

"Here's the thing: The reality is you don't have to be a politician to be political," the native Texan, who co-founded the political action committee Latino Victory Project and has campaigned for Joe Biden and Barack Obama during the presidential runs, told CBS's Lee Cowan. "And I think that's the biggest myth. People go, 'You should run for office so you can make a difference.' I am making a difference."

The 47-year-old star, made a rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, says she's gotten pushback for her political activism. But Longoria learned early on, as one of the industry's few Latina stars during her breakthrough role in ABC"s Desperate Housewives, that she had a responsibility to speak out. Indeed, she got her master's degree in Chicano studies in 2013 after taking night school classes while starring on the hit show.

"I quickly realized I was going to have a platform, or a voice," she shared. "My mentor, [civil rights activist] Dolores Huerta, is the one that actually told me that. She said, 'One day, you're going to have a voice, so you better have something to say.'"

Actress and director Eva Longoria says she faced criticism for her activism. (Photo: Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDb)
Actress and director Eva Longoria says she faced criticism for her activism. (Photo: Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDb)

Longoria, who shares a 4-year-old son with husband José "Pepe" Bastón, also opened up about cultural identity and dividing her time between the U.S. and Mexico.

"When I'm in the United States, [I hear], 'Oh, you're Mexican,'" she said. "And when I go to Mexico, they go, 'Oh, the American.' I'm like, wait? Well, yeah, I'm both. I'm 100% Mexican and 100% American at the same time."

In her new role as feature film director, Longoria is also hoping to make some changes. She makes sure to cast Latino actors and hire Latino crews, like on her upcoming film, Flamin' Hot. The film is based on the story of Richard Montanez, a Mexican-American factory worker at Frito-Lay who claims his original recipe was used to create Flamin' Hot Cheetos. It was a project that Longoria felt she was meant to tackle.

"I felt in my bones nobody else could direct this movie," she explained. It was also an important component of her mission to represent her community on both sides of the camera.

"Latinos are 23% of the box office tickets sold. Do I think we should be more than 5% in characters on film? Yes," she said. "Is it frustrating? Absolutely."