InStyle (USA) - - Directory - by EVA LON­GO­RIA

My “Lil’ Eva” chair, by Eva Lon­go­ria

When I was on Des­per­ate Housewives, I bought a di­rec­tor’s chair for each woman on the show. Lil’ Eva was my nick­name, so I put that on mine and gave Mar­cia [Cross], Felic­ity [Huff­man], and Teri [Hatcher] cute names for theirs too. Dur­ing the eight sea­sons I was on the show, this chair came to mean a lot to me. Sit­ting in it on set was like my film school. I paid at­ten­tion to ev­ery­thing that was hap­pen­ing around me—the set de­sign, the cam­era chore­og­ra­phy, the light­ing. And for the first time I re­al­ized I wasn’t reach­ing my po­ten­tial by be­ing only an ac­tor. I had been set­ting up scenes in my head for years and was ready to call the shots. I just had to learn how to pitch my­self and sell my vi­sion. So I started by di­rect­ing a few short films, and then when Des­per­ate Housewives wrapped, I chased projects in TV and di­rected episodes of shows I love, like Black-ish, Jane the Vir­gin, and The Mick. Now I’m try­ing to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for other women be­hind the cam­era too. For my new show, Grand Ho­tel, I called up Ava Duver­nay and asked her to rec­om­mend a list of great women I could hire for our crew. Hol­ly­wood has long been a boys’ club; we’re try­ing to cre­ate a girls’ club. To make a change, it’s im­por­tant to have a seat at the ta­ble. That’s what a di­rec­tor’s chair is for me. Lon­go­ria is the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and di­rec­tor of the up­com­ing ABC se­ries­grand Ho­tel.

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