Sure, actress Eva Longoria has done loads for the Hispanic community, but Education Secretary Arne Duncan had a different reason to give her applause.
"I want to congratulate you for your accomplishments," Duncan said Thursday night at the Hispanic Heritage Awards being filmed at the Kennedy Center, where Longoria was being honored for her community service. "But, as the secretary of education, I'm most proud of the recent completion of a master's degree in chicano studies from Cal State University," Duncan said.
The petite, former "Desperate Housewives" star hopped up to the mic to thank him. "Arne's too tall!" she squealed, pulling the microphone down a good foot before starting to speak. "I am so honored to receive this award, the community service award," she began, before fussing with her outfit. "My dress is too tight and I've been sitting and it's a corset – you have no idea. I've been complaining to Justice Sotomayor the whole time."
Sotomayor was indeed in the audience of the awards ceremony and received a standing ovation from the crowd before the audience was subjected to a pop performance from the singer Pee Wee, complete with backup dancers sporting skintight pants and bedazzled bras.
The audience also made a big fuss over Longoria, who spoke about using community resources from a young age.
"If we wanted to take karate my dad was like, 'We're not paying for it,' and my mom would say, 'There must be a program somewhere in the community,' and sure enough there was," Longoria explained. "When I wanted to take ballet my dad was like, 'We're not paying for it,' and my mom was like, 'Surely the Boys and Girls Club has ballet lessons,' and sure enough, she found it."
And as the family used the resources, Longoria said she learned to give back. "I also had a great childhood because I grew up with a special-needs sister, Lisa, and my mom would always have to find community centers that would take a special-needs child," Longoria explained. "And a lot of them did as long as me and my sisters would volunteer."
More recently, Longoria dedicated her time to the Obama re-election campaign. "I am so excited to be on this stage because the last time I was on this stage it was during the inauguration when we were celebrating the re-election of our president," she noted. "The Latino vote will forever be important to any future president, thanks to this past election," she said.