Hear Eva Longoria Roar During Women’s History Month As She Leads Her Tequila Brand To Victory

Eva LongoriaPhoto Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/Casa Del Sol

Eva Longoria is taking a stand… again.

The multi-hyphenate has taken a break from her family vacation to talk tequila, and currently, she’s on a well-received rant about the patriarchal nature of the industry. “Tequila is the number one spirit preferred by women. If you look at the marketplace, it’s like every ad is a man on a motorcycle, or a man smoking a cigarette; it’s so male-oriented. But if women are the ones drinking it, why shouldn’t women be the ones making it?” she wonders.

It’s a valid question, but also a rhetorical one for the incredibly smart star: indeed, she already has the answer. Which is why, in part, she decided to launch her own tequila brand, Casa Del Sol — a company both inspired by and predominantly run by women.
“For years, everybody was like, ‘You’re Mexican; you should have a tequila.’ And I kept thinking, No, because I don’t want to just throw my name on something,” she explains. But nothing felt authentic, and so, she dismissed every opportunity — or almost every opportunity, as it turns out. “I was always a big wine drinker, but Covid really drove me to cocktails, and that’s what sparked my interest in spirits. Casa Del Sol sent me a sample, and I thought, Wow, this is the best-tasting profile I’ve ever had in my life. And then, when I found out how it was made, that its smoothness came from being aged in cognac barrels, it finally made sense to me.”

But what really had Longoria signing on the dotted line was the idea of female leadership. “This is not a tequila just for women, but it’s a female-run brand. Our president [Colbi Corbett] is a woman, our master distiller [Carmen Gonzalez] is a woman, and our vice president of operations [Alejandra Pelayo] is a woman. To have that many women running a company in an industry that is still so male-dominated was very impressive to me.”

Eva LongoriaPhoto Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/Casa Del Sol

It was also very on brand for Longoria, who has been championing women — as well as Latinas — in Hollywood for the better part of her 20-plus-year career. She says as much now. “It was an exciting [new venture] for me because it matched my brand, which is empowering women and entrepreneurs,” she explains. “It also lined up with my values — everything that I work towards philanthropically — with my daily life, and with what I support and get behind.”

Without a doubt, this woman is a trailblazer. She’s a dedicated philanthropist and activist who has consistently lent her voice to the issues she’s most passionate about, from immigration to reproductive rights. In 2006, she co-founded the nonprofit Eva’s Heroes, which is dedicated to enriching the lives of those with intellectual special needs; in 2012, she founded the Eva Longoria Foundation (ELF) to help Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families; and in 2018, she co-founded Time’s Up with women such as Reese Witherspoon and Natalie Portman, raising money to support victims of sexual harassment. She also put her power behind The MACRO Episodic Lab Powered by The Black List with Charles D. King, Lena Waithe, and Franklin Leonard, to empower storytellers of color who typically do not have access to the traditional Hollywood system; co-founded the Latino Victory Fund, a movement that builds power in the Latinx community; and, last year, became a part of the first-ever National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Visionary Alliance. And these are just some of the things she’s stood for and behind — which makes her rationale for getting involved with Casa Del Sol make even more sense.

In addition to its female-led team, the brand, like Longoria herself, is distinctive. It’s a luxurious sipping tequila built on authenticity, legacy, and passion — a purpose-driven brand that not only seeks to empower Latina women, but also honors Mexican heritage and gives back to the region. Basically, it’s a perfect fit for her.

In a snapshot, Casa Del Sol is a tequila inspired by the magic of golden hour and the legend of the Aztec goddess of agave, Mayahuel. It is made with hand-selected seven-year-old 100 percent blue weber agave at a distillery in Arandas, Jalisco (otherwise known as the Highlands of Mexico). Currently, the brand has four expressions: blanco, reposado, añejo, and 11:11 Angel’s Reserve, a blend of añejo and extra añejo. While most tequila is made in whiskey barrels sourced from the United States, Casa Del Sol uses cognac barrels handcrafted of French limousin oak thanks to a strategic partnership with Laurent Martell of the world’s oldest cognac family, resulting in an extremely smooth, aromatic product.

It also has a distinctive pedigree in that its female-driven team truly embodies the best of Mexican culture and heritage: Alejandra Pelayo, Casa Del Sol’s head of production, is the goddaughter of one of the great tequila pioneers and a prolific master distiller; Mariana Padilla, a Mexican-based artisan, is the daughter of one of Jalisco’s cultural ambassadors, Paco Padilla; and master distiller Carmen Gonzalez Alfaro is one of the only female tequila distillers in the industry. And unlike many brands, Casa Del Sol is one that not only gives back, but prioritizes its staff by developing programs to help foster more opportunities and level the playing field for women in the Altos de Jalisco region. Its signature vegan leather necks are hand-sewn by seamstresses who otherwise wouldn’t be able to earn an income due to being the primary family caregiver or attending college.

So yes, Longoria has a powerful group of women behind her, befitting her own powerhouse persona, but she isn’t just using the strength of her name as a contribution to the brand. She’s right there in the trenches with them. “[Shaping Casa Del Sol] is so much of what I do on a daily basis. I’m doing my part to put this tequila on the largest platform possible, exposing it to as many buyers, retailers, and importers as possible. Once we get liquid to lips, our job is done, game over — it’s that good, it speaks for itself — but until that happens, I’m involved in everything from the marketing to the promotion to visiting the agaveros. It doesn’t feel like work because it’s something I love.”

And make no mistake, popularizing a new product — heck, even making it known — is a lot of work. But it’s a welcome venture for Longoria, who has put her all into the brand’s success. “I knew going into this that it would be a lot of work, so it’s hardly surprising. It’s an entirely new industry that I’m not an expert in, and there is a big learning curve. There’s this big, humbling period where you have to put your head down and work hard, but I have no problem out-hustling or out-working anybody in the room. For me, I welcomed the challenge, I welcomed the learning curve, I welcomed this new knowledge in my brain.”

This is true to form: Longoria has always been big on learning new things. It’s been extremely well-documented how she held down a full-time starring gig on ABC’s Desperate Housewives while simultaneously earning her master’s degree in Chicano studies from California State University, Northridge [her thesis: the “Success STEMS from Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers”]. Casa Del Sol is just another example of how her career, life, and values are indelibly intertwined.

“I think quality drives innovation, and innovation drives disruption,” she declares. “In this very crowded marketplace that has a lot of ‘celebrity tequilas,’ we’ve really defined ourselves as an ultra-premium tequila — not a celebrity tequila — because we stand for so much more and we do so much more. Again, it’s not something I’m just slapping my name on. Honoring Mexican heritage and tradition comes first and foremost, and I really think that makes us stand heads above others that feel inauthentic in their approach. For me, this is authentic. Being Mexican and having an intense respect for the culture of tequila and the people of the region — not exploiting it for its resources — and giving back to the women of the region, that is who we are. And it’s just been so easy to fold into my life [because] it’s about celebration, about family and friends, about socialization, and about honoring and applauding everyone around you. And so really, I always have a reason to drink tequila.”

Eva LongoriaPhoto Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/Casa Del Sol

It seems written in the stars that Eva Longoria was born in the month of March, given that this also happens to be Women’s History Month. How she’ll be celebrating her 49th trip around the sun it still unknown, but it would be my guess she’ll be a) traveling (which she deems to be the greatest luxury in life), b) with her family, husband José Bastón and five-year-old son Santiago, c) celebrating with Casa Del Sol, and d) enjoying the next day without a hangover (c and d go hand in hand, apparently — she says Casa Del Sol is so smooth that it’s almost physically impossible to get a get hangover if you’re drinking it neat).I mean, this woman knows how to do it. And by “it,” I mean life.

Born from humble beginnings in Corpus Christi, Texas, Longoria’s star was always on the rise. She leaped from a daytime soap star (for two years, she appeared on CBS’ The Young and the Restless) to a career-making eight-year arc on Desperate Housewives. That said, she has never been content to just be an actress. Instead, Longoria has charted her own course and, in the process, has become so much more.

Last October, she and leading entertainment executive and entrepreneur Cris Abrego formed a new media holding company and premium content studio in Hyphenate Media Group, which absorbed her lauded and awarded UnbeliEVAble Entertainment production company — a company that actively chooses purposeful projects that accurately represent the stories of the Latinx and other underrepresented communities, scoring a three-year extension on her long-time deal with 20th Television to boot. She has developed a slew of podcasts in partnership with iHeart Media’s My Cultura Podcast Network, inclusive of “Connections with Eva Longoria,” launched in March 2022, “Supreme: The Battle for Roe,” which chronicles the landmark case and the courageous figures behind it, “Hungry for History” with Maite Gomez-Rejón, which explores the origins of some of the most delicious dishes, ingredients, and beverages from their culture, and “Sisters of the Underground,” launched in August 2022 alongside Dominican actress Dania Ramirez, which tells the true story of the Mirabal sisters’ courageous activism in the Dominican Republic.

Eva LongoriaPhoto Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/Casa Del Sol

There is Poderistas, the digital lifestyle community and media platform that she launched in 2019; the Latino Media Network (LMN), a media company serving the Latino community, which she helped co-found in 2020; and her assignments to the board of trustees of The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures as well as the National Museum of the American Latino by the Smithsonian Board of Regents, and to the board of directors at the Television Academy Foundation, all in 2021. As if that wasn’t enough, she also founded a stove-to-table cookware line, Risa, in collaboration with Heyday, and has invested in both Angel City FC, a female-driven soccer club founded by a mix of athletes, celebrities, and other businesswomen, and Club Necaxa, a Liga MC team based in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She has also served as a global brand ambassador for L’Oréal Paris for more than 15 years, has a shoe line with Eobuwie and Modivo that’s sold in Eastern Europe, and is a New York Times bestselling author thanks to her cookbook Eva’s Kitchen.

All of this was born, of course, from her start as an actor. She’s starred in projects like Over Her Dead Body (2008), Frontera (2014), Telenovela (2015), Overboard (2018), and Tell It Like a Woman (2022). Next up: she’ll produce and star in both Land of Women for AppleTV+, a six-episode generational dramedy series inspired by Sandra Barneda’s best-selling novel of the same name that Longoria describes as “Under the Tuscan Sun meets Desperate Housewives,” and the small screen adaptation of Isabel Allende’s best-selling novel, The House of the Spirits; the film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; the Disney+ original series, from 20th Television, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears; and the HBO film A Class Apart, the true story of a group of Mexican Americans fighting for their civil rights during a landmark case that led all the way to the Supreme Court.

These days, Longoria is also putting a career emphasis on directing, and has become equally as known and earned as much respect for her work behind the camera as she has in front of it. In 2022, she debuted the critically acclaimed documentary La Guerra Civil, which tells the story of boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez, at the Sundance Film Festival, and in 2023, she made her feature directorial debut Flamin’ Hot, a Searchlight biopic about Flamin’ Hot Cheetos creator Richard Montañez.

Eva LongoriaPhoto Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/Casa Del Sol

While she might have made this career transition look so, it was not easy.

“When it comes to directing, I have a thousand percent been met with male resistance. Getting behind the camera is still a challenge for women,” she declares. “Just look at the statistics. There are so few women getting the actual jobs of directing, and they are obviously totally capable. If you look at the box office this past year, at female directed movies (like Barbie), we’ve proven ourselves over and over again. There is zero gender parity with women behind the camera, women in the Academy, women in the Directors Guild. It’s still an obstacle in our industry.”

She’s aware that there is no easy solution to such discrimination, either. “I always say this: you’ve got to work twice as hard, twice as smart, and twice as cheap. I don’t mind doing that, because that’s my work ethic; I’m naturally a workhorse and have an amazing work ethic, taught to me by my parents. [In becoming a director in Hollywood], of course I knew this was going to be hard; I always assumed it would be. I don’t really think, Why is this so hard? Because any time you have a victim attitude, you don’t get that far in life. You just have to keep your head down and your feet moving forward. That’s the only way you’re going to make progress. And so, that’s what I do. I just keep moving, I keep going. And I have to be undeniable, but I should be undeniable in all of my projects.”

Longoria is certainly a force to be reckoned with now, but she says she has always been this way — she was raised to be strong, smart, and to think for herself. “I come from a family of strong women, and so I’ve always had that model of independence and intelligence right in front of me. I didn’t have to look far for a role model when I was young. My mom, my sisters, my aunts, they were right there. They set the example of what women could do and what we are capable of — and I always knew I would do it, too.”


Eva Longoria
Mariana Padilla, Carmen Gonzalez, Eva Longoria, Alejandra Pelayo

Alejandra Pelayo serves as vice president of operations for Casa Del Sol tequila in Mexico, where she oversees all logistics, supply chain, vendor management, distillery integrations, and the brand’s growing network of female artisans, who hand sew each of Casa Del Sol’s signature vegan leather necks.

What does it feel like to be a woman in a typically machista industry? Have you been met with any resistance?

It has been an adventure that I feel very proud of. The industry, which has been historically dominated by men, is now changing little by little, but there is still so much to do. I am glad and confident that these changes will continue as women are given more opportunities to be involved in every part of the tequila production process and in the executive teams. About the resistance, yes, at the beginning we felt some, but I am happy that we have aligned our commercial and strategic relationships with people that share our vision and respect our work.

What makes Casa Del Sol unique? How does Casa Del Sol stand out in a crowded space?

From a liquid perspective, we age in cognac barrels, so the profile is very distinctive and our sustainable production methods are very important. From a brand perspective, I think our story is just amazing — it’s a beautiful love letter to Mexican tequila culture, and it also tells the legend of Mayahuel, a female goddess very important in tequila culture that not all consumers know about. It shows how the female role is so important in the industry.

How did your relationship with the brand/Eva come to be? Did you know her before? If not, what was your initial thought versus your thought now?

I always describe it as something magical. Of course, I knew Eva for her work in Hollywood, but also for her work supporting Latino and Mexican communities in the US. She is an amazing leader, always supporting women, and if she can do something to help someone, she does it without a doubt. With Casa Del Sol, she is very hands-on, supporting all areas of the business and even sometimes bartending when we are visiting and activating in markets.

Can you share a personal story that applies to who Eva is as a person and your relationship with her?

One time, she came to Guadalajara and Mariana and I had a small family party at the family’s hacienda de huaxtla so she could meet them. You know families in Mexico are big, so it was a “small party of 80.” I think it was just so nice of her that she wanted to meet our families. She took the time to talk to each of them and get to know them. Our family was very excited.

How do you personally plan on making the brand grow?

By continuing to work with our same values and work ethic, which have taken us where we are now. And by making this industry a better place for women — starting with our team.

Carmen Gonzalez has spent the last 15 years working across every major facet of tequila production. Prior to taking the helm at Casa Del Sol, she led innovation and product development for one of the best-selling global tequila brands.

What does it feel like to be a woman in a typically machista industry?

It has been a real challenge, which I have enjoyed very much. Since I started working in the tequila industry, I have had to make my way and I have gotten to where I am now because of my commitment to give my best. The challenge has been to get them to allow me to work in positions held by men, and to date, I am sure that no one has regretted it; my work has spoken for me. I have had setbacks from which I have sought to obtain the greatest learning and tools to take the next step forward.

How does Casa Del Sol stand out in a crowded space?

Casa Del Sol’s values are that women can do things that add something to the industry. Eva gives us opportunities in key positions. As co-founder, she is a very active, hard-working, and intelligent. Casa Del Sol offers a tequila that has been produced with the trust of women.

What was your path to becoming a master distiller?

I worked for more than five years with the most prolific tequila master in the industry. He was the mastermind, and that time has been one of the stages that I have learned the most at in my life. The perfect harmony between human warmth, professionalism, and knowledge was what I lived with this tequilero master. The team behind Casa Del Sol knew about me and about the experience I had for more than 15 years, and they gave me the confidence to monitor the quality of their products already on the market, as well the development of new products. I was so grateful for this gesture and excitedly accepted this great opportunity.

How did your relationship with the brand/Eva come to be?

Of course, I knew Eva and her work. I identify the Latin origin present in Hollywood and more so because of her son, who is proud to be Mexican. Knowing that Eva was part of the brand was one of the things that helped me decide to be part of the Casa Del Sol team.

Can you share a personal story that applies to who Eva is as a person and your relationship with her?

I remember that two weeks after I joined Casa Del Sol, I received a welcome gift directly from Eva at my home in Mexico. I felt really special. She is a very active woman, someone who inspires women like me who work and are moms, and who wake up every day with a lot of things to do. One time, we met to take a few photos and for a moment, I felt somewhat uncomfortable because it was so natural for her. I was inexperienced in that environment, pregnant, and I didn’t know what to do, and I told her, “Could the team leave me in the distillery, please?” We both laughed, but she assured me that my story and career accomplishments inspired others and deserved to be told. From there, everything started to flow amazingly.

Mariana Padilla is a Mexican-based artisan, entrepreneur, and the daughter of Paco Padilla, a cultural ambassador of Jalisco, Mexico. The Padilla family has deep roots in the history of the tequila industry, and Mariana grew up surrounded by the greatest Maestros Tequileros. As Casa Del Sol’s Artesana Tequilera, she brings generations of rich culture and heritage to the table.

What does it feel like to be a woman in a typically machista industry? Have you been met with any resistance? Describe the situation if so.

It feels like it is time to act as our position as women in this business is a natural thing that should have been happening a long time ago. It is inspiring to be a part of this change.

What makes Casa Del Sol unique? How does the brand stand out in a crowded space?

A lot of the tequila brands are very much the same — the brand is very masculine. We felt there was an opportunity to tell the story of Mayahuel and be more of a luxury brand that honors the culture of Mexico but speaks to a global audience of today: highly digital and who craves experiences over possessions.

How did your relationship with the brand/Eva come to be? Did you know her before?

I met her through Casa Del Sol. We approached Eva to join us on this project because of the things she does to support Latinas and Mexican communities. It was very organic.

Can you share a personal story that applies to who Eva is as a person and your relationship with her?

I really feel a profound connection to Eva. We love to talk about how we are all connected in this universe and how we are meant to be working together on this project. We [believe that we were brought together for] a reason which, maybe comes from past lives.

What is next for the brand?

We want to continue to expand the stories of the artistry and beauty within Mexico. We can’t wait to share what we are working on.

Eva Longoria
Carmen Gonzalez, Eva Longoria, Mariana Padilla

Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/Casa Del Sol