HollyRod Humanitarian Award
Golden Globe-nominated and SAG Award-winning actress, producer, director, entrepreneur, philanthropist and L’Oréal Paris Global Brand Ambassador, Eva Longoria is leading the charge of female representation and trailblazers in Hollywood. As an actress, she effortlessly brings her incredible charisma and dynamism to the silver screen, with recent roles in feature film’s OVERBOARD (MGM/Pantelion) and DOG DAYS (Annapurna Pictures), and an upcoming role in the live-action Paramount film DORA THE LOST CITY OF GOLD (theatrical release on August 9th, 2019). As a producer and director, Longoria has the ABC series “Grand Hotel” (currently airing Mondays at 10/9c on ABC). Longoria consistently churns out brilliant work, creating and influencing some of the best and most exciting film and TV projects of our time, solidifying herself as a trusted name and powerhouse, both in front and behind the camera.
After being named one of Forbes’ Highest Paid Actress on TV, the “Desperate Housewives” alum decided to expand her focus to work behind the scenes where she would have more creative control and impact on her film/tv projects and the world around her. It’s no surprise that Longoria is breaking down barriers and making art worth paying attention to, as one of today’s hottest female producers and directors. Longoria, at the helm of her production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, which has deals with 20th Century Fox Television and Universal Pictures, is producing a myriad of projects including the ABC series “Grand Hotel,” starring Academy Award-nominated Demián Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez (currently airing Mondays at 10/9c on ABC). Inspired by the hit Spanish series, “Grand Hotel” is set against the backdrop of a luxurious Miami Beach hotel, and centers on the family who owns the business and the explosive secrets they hide under the perfect exterior. With women making up just a mere 7% of all working directors today, Longoria has taken a groundbreaking step and hired women to direct a majority of the series’ episodes, as well as hired all women for the show’s DP and assistant director positions – departments which are notoriously male dominated.
Longoria and UnbeliEVAble also recently produced REVERSING ROE, a Netflix documentary that explores the battle over reproductive rights and has garnered award-season buzz, as well as A CLASS APART, an HBO film about Mexican American lawyers from Texas who argue a civil rights case all the way to the Supreme Court - and win. Longoria is also set to make her feature film directorial debut for the upcoming Universal feature film 24/7, a modern-day female workplace comedy. Longoria will also co-executive produce and star in the film alongside Kerry Washington, with Paul Feig also attached to produce. Additionally, she is set to co-star in the upcoming jazz era feature film SYLVIE opposite Tessa Thompson. After being hotly pursued and entertaining numerous pilots this 2019 pilot season, Longoria has been tapped to direct and executive produce the pilot episode for CW’s “Glamorous,” an hourlong drama from Damon Wayans Jr. which will star Brooke Shields set for a fall premiere. This is the first TV pilot that Eva has ever directed and makes her only ONE of TWO Latinas that are directing pilots this season. Longoria executive produced, directed, and starred in NBC’s “Telenovela,” and executive produced Lifetime’s hit series, “Devious Maids.” She also directed episodes of hit shows including CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” ABC’s “Black-ish,” FOX’s “The Mick” and “LA to Vegas.” Additionally, Longoria produced and directed GO SEBASTIAN GO, a documentary short which premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival as part of the ESPN documentary film series VERSUS, which she produced under the “ESPN 30 for 30” banner.
Longoria recently teamed up with Emmy Award-winning writer Lena Waithe and MACRO and The Black List to launch ‘The MACRO Episodic Lab, Powered by The Black List,’ which will offer people of color the opportunity to develop and produce an original digital or television script. The mission of the project is to discover, support and empower these creatives with tools and resources, and to help launch careers for those whom typically do not have access to the traditional Hollywood system. As if that’s not enough, in the wake of the #MeToo Movement that engulfed the entertainment industry, Longoria joined forces with Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman and other leading Hollywood women to say that time was up, co-founding the #TimesUp Campaign which has since swept all industries around the world. Powered by women, #TimesUp addresses systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace.
Eva Longoria’s greatest work is what she is doing as a champion of charities and organizations that help bring awareness to the issues faced by women and Latino communities. Committed to empowering Latinas everywhere, Longoria established the Eva Longoria Foundation (ELF) in 2012 to help Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education and entrepreneurship. ELF has made STEM education for Latina youth one of its primary focuses because it believes that Latinas represent an untapped talent pool to fill many future technology positions. STEM careers can lift up the Latinx community and make our country more competitive. To date, ELF has helped more than 2,100 low-income youth engage in STEM activities and inspired them to explore STEM career paths. ELF’s mentorship programs have connected more than 1,500 Latina students with high-performing peers and professional women who share their backgrounds. Additionally, more than 5,000 parents in Los Angeles and Mexico City have graduated from the Foundation’s parent engagement training programs, which help parents better support their daughters’ educational aspirations. Students whose parents participate in ELF’s program in Los Angeles graduate from high school at a rate of 96%, compared to the California state-wide average of 80%. ELF also provides first-generation Latina college students with scholarships to pay for a variety of costs associated with enrolling in and attending college. ELF has also provided nearly $2 million in microloans and business training to Latina entrepreneurs, who in turn have grown their businesses and have created or retained more than 560 jobs (evalongoriafoundation.org).
Serving others was ingrained in who she was as a child growing up and in 2006 Longoria co-founded the non-profit organization Eva’s Heroes, dedicated to enriching the lives of adolescents and young adults with developmental challenges by providing an inclusive setting built on the four tenets of: interact, grow, learn, and love. Always the philanthropist, Longoria is also the spokesperson for Padres Contra el Cancer, a nonprofit organization that is committed to improving the quality of life for Latino children with cancer and their families, Padres is the only Latino program in the United States that is focused on addressing the needs of the entire family.
This year Longoria celebrates 15 years as a Global Brand Ambassador for L’Oréal Paris. She also has her own fashion line, The Eva Longoria Collection, which has shown at NYFW; has a home collection line with JCPenney; a New York Times bestselling cookbook EVA’S KITCHEN; and created the fragrances “EVA” and “EVAmour.
Longoria was named ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ by The Hollywood Reporter and honored by Variety with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for their Power of Women issue. Longoria has received countless other awards for her philanthropy and activism. Longoria additionally received her Master’s degree in Chicano Studies from California State University, Northridge, writing her thesis on “Success STEMS from Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.”
You can follow Eva on social media: Facebook: @evalongoria | Instagram: @evalongoria | Twitter: @evalongoria | Snapchat: @realevalongoria
HollyRod Angel On The Path Award
Areva Martin is a multi-award-winning civil rights attorney, TV talk show host, commentator, author, and producer. Known as "America's Advocate," she is currently a co-host of the CBS nationally syndicated daytime talk show Face the Truth. She was previously a recurring cohost on seasons 9 and 10 of the Emmy Award-winning syndicated talk show The Doctors. Areva was the only attorney host amongst the panel of highly esteemed medical doctors. As a team, they tackled a range of topics from botched surgeries to the social and health impact of long-term incarceration.
Areva has been a mainstay at CNN for many years, first as a regular guest contributor and for the last three years as a legal analyst. As an analyst, Areva provides regular commentary on a broad range of legal, political and social issues on shows across CNN and HLN. She has been an outspoken and critical voice on a range of topics from police brutality to sexual harassment. In 2018, in recognition of her outstanding on-air commentary, Areva received the Black Women's Network's Advocacy and Media Award.
Areva is also a regular contributor on Good Morning America, ABC World News, Daily Mail TV and Dr. Phil, where she routinely speaks out on issues such as the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment in the workplace, sexual assault on college campuses, parenting, child abuse and neglect, as well as the day's breaking news and trending topics.
A product of North St. Louis, Areva has never forgotten her humble beginnings. She uses her legal training and expertise to advocate for and give a voice to underserved communities, especially children with autism and other special needs. In 2005, she founded the Special Needs Network, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides a range of free services to residents throughout California. Under her leadership, the Special Needs Network has provided services to more than 50,000 families through its state-of-the-art behavioral therapies, backpack giveaways, toy giveaways, educational conferences, grassroots organizing, and advocacy training and summer camp. Over the years, Areva has raised millions of dollars for autism-related causes.
In 2011, Areva authored the Amazon book The Everyday Advocate: Standing Up for Your Child with Autism and Other Special Needs. Upon release, the book quickly soared to the top of Amazon's best seller's list. The book has become a must-read for parents, advocates, and caregivers. Areva has published hundreds of articles on autism advocacy, disability rights, racial equity and best practices for addressing disparities in the delivery of health, education, and community support services to underserved families raising children with autism and a range of disabilities. Areva has developed multiple autism related TV projects.
Areva is the founding and managing partner at Martin & Martin, LLP, one of LA's premiere female and African American owned law firms. Areva's legal practice includes civil rights, employment and disability discrimination, torts and general litigation. She has been consistently identified as one of LA's top attorneys including being selected as a Southern California Super Lawyer every year since 2014, a distinction reserved for the top five percent of the attorneys in the state. She is also a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and events.
Areva's third book Make it Rain: How to Use the Media to Revolutionize Your Business and Brand was released by Hachette Book Group in March of 2018. This national bestseller was released in paperback in March of 2019. In Make It Rain, Areva helps people find their authentic voice and teaches them how to use the media to amplify their influence. To promote the book, she embarked on a 12-city tour where she shared the story of her journey from a St. Louis housing project to Harvard Law School, to her move out west where she discovered her own authentic voice and became a highly sought-after speaker at national and regional conferences and professional events.
She is the recipient of many awards including L'Oreal Paris' Women of Worth; Los Angeles County Women of the Year; Ford's Living Legend Award; the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award; KJLH Proven Achiever's Award; and Union Bank's Neighborhood Hero Award. Areva has been featured in numerous magazines from Red Book to Ebony.
Areva graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Chicago where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. She graduated Cum Laude from Harvard Law School where she received her Juris Doctorate degree. A lover of 5/10k races, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two daughters, and son, who is on the autism spectrum.
Matthew T. Robinson Jr Award of Courage
At the age of 27, Jimmy Choi was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's Disease. Upon receiving the diagnosis, Jimmy went into denial and "did nothing" for the next 7-8 years to manage his Parkinson’s symptoms. By 2010, he only walked with a cane, and he hit rock-bottom when he fell down a full flight of stairs while carrying his young son, Mason. Thankfully both were physically unharmed, but fear of the future and fear for his family made Jimmy vow to do whatever it takes to take back control of what Parkinson's had robbed from him physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Since then, Jimmy has participated in multiple clinical trials to further research on better treatments and hopefully a cure for Parkinson's. Physical therapy led him to running and other activities that help both his physical and mental PD symptoms. He joined Team Fox in 2012 and ran in his first marathon that year...and he hasn't stopped since! His passion to push beyond his limits led him to the national stage as he took on a new challenge and competed as an American Ninja Warrior in 2017, 2018, and 2019! He showed the world that Parkinson’s will not stop him and inspired many more to not let a diagnosis define you.
Today, Jimmy continues to maintain a very active lifestyle and lives with his wife Cherryl and two kids Karina and Mason in the Chicagoland area. Professionally, he operates as a technology consultant from his home office, but continues to travel the world as needed. He is a “foodie” and an aspiring chef so savory foods and delectable desserts are constantly on the docket. He also continues to advocate exercise as one of his ‘drugs’ to manage Parkinson’s symptoms and looks forward to providing his input into the Parkinson’s community.
HollyRod Hero Award
Bio coming soon.