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Eva Longoria Receives Humanitarian Award: Talks Dating Boyfriend, Cate Blanchett and Kerry Washington in Acceptance Speech

First Posted: Jun 12, 2014 03:05 PM EDT
eva longoria

Photo : Getty Images/Charley Gallay

On Wednesday, Women in Film presented actress, producer, director and political activist Eva Longoria with the Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award at the Crystal + Lucy Awards held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

Fellow actress Lake Bell presented the former "Desperate Housewives" star with the award, calling her a "petite sex icon," according to Glamour. Afterwards, a montage played, showing Longoria fighting for various causes, such as immigration and education reform and special needs children.

During the event, Longoria said she doesn't like being rewarded for her philanthropic efforts because, as she said, "It's something I think we all should do." Despite enjoying what appears to be a glamorous life these days, Longoria sais she learned what it means to struggle when she was young, thanks to her sister, Lisa.

"I am the woman I am today because of the woman Lisa is," Longoria said on stage.

Longoria also gives credit to the rest of her family, who she said gave back to organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and the Salvation Army.

"I grew up with a special-needs sister, an older sister, so I was kind of born into her world and knew what the world 'volunteer' meant at a very, very early age," Longoria told Variety on Tuesday. "We were always volunteering somewhere."

Lisa is not without her faults, however.

"I said, 'Meet my new boyfriend [Jose Antonio Baston],' and Lisa responds, 'Another one?!'" Longoria said at the ceremony. "It was right in front of him too!"

Longoria is also the founder of the Eva Longoria Foundation, which aims to "help Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education and entrepreneurship," according to its official website.

"I immediately said, 'I want to zero in on communities that I care about or that I came from,' which happen to be the women's community and the Latino community," Longoria told Variety of her philanthropic goals. "Those were the first two communities and areas which I thought, 'This is where I want to focus because this is where I came from, and this is who I am.'"

Cathy Schulman, head of WIF, said she believes Longoria is worthy of the award because of her diversity.

"She's everything; a renaissance woman, champion of multiple causes, she has founded a foundation, she's an entrepreneur," she told Variety before the award ceremony.

According to Broadway World, last night's honorees also featured Cate Blanchett (Crystal Award for Excellence in Film), Rose Byrne (Women In Film Max Mara "Face of the Future"), Jennifer Lee (Dorothy Arzner Directors Award) and Kerry Washington (Lucy Award for Excellence in Television).

"Kerry has taught us it's somehow OK to sleep with the president of the United States and kill a Supreme Court justice, while Cate Blanchett has always made us feel we are inadequate as actors," Longoria said at the ceremony of her co-honorees. "Jennifer Lee has taught us to 'Let It Go,' and Rose Byrne has taught us from 'Bridesmaids' never to eat Indian food."

Follow Scharon Harding on Twitter: @ScharHar.

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