Longoria spoke to PEOPLE at the 'Elle' Women in Hollywood event in Los Angeles on Tuesday
Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE at Elle's Women in Hollywood celebration in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Longoria, 48, revealed that it was the “If You Had My Love” singer, 54, who inspired her at the start of her career.
“Jennifer broke down so many doors so that we could walk through them,” the Desperate Housewives alum tells PEOPLE. “And she kicked them down. They were not easy doors.”
Speaking about Lopez’s portrayal of the late singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in the 1997 biographical musical drama film Selena, Longoria adds, “I'm from Corpus Christi, Texas. I was an extra in that movie and to look up on the stage and go, 'Oh my gosh.'"
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“First of all, to see Selena do it, and then to see Jennifer play Selena, you're like, 'There is opportunity for somebody who looks like me,'" the actress and producer explains.
Also at the event, Flamin' Hot actress Annie Gonzalez revealed to PEOPLE that Longoria paved the way for her.
“That's the reason I do what I do,” Longoria tells PEOPLE. “I want to build the pipeline of talent from our community, but also showcase the talent that we have in our community.”
The star adds that the Latinx community’s talent pool has “never been tapped into,” despite having “such amazing, talented actors, directors, writers, in front of, behind the camera. And so for me, the purpose of doing what I do is to help give our community that experience they need to go onto the next project.”
Longoria also opened up to PEOPLE about her holiday plans, stating that she and her family will be doing “a lot of tamale making.”
Meanwhile, in November, the star shared several Instagram videos that featured her son Santiago, 5, and husband José Antonio "Pepe" Bastón, 55, getting ready for Thanksgiving by cooking some treats for their celebration.
"What are we doing?" she asks Santiago in a video, to which he replies: "Thanksgiving party!"
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