Why Eva Longoria and Gabrielle Union Want to Start Bringing Babies to the Red Carpet

The recent MTV Video Music Awards showcased a bounty of celebrities on the red carpet from singing icons Pink and Cardi B to model Gigi Hadid and reality star Jonathan Van Ness. The red carpet locale is renowned as the hottest preview destination for all the top awards shows and film premieres.

Recently, actresses Eva Longoria and Gabrielle Union have started to lay the groundwork for artists to be permitted to bring their children to these events after an incident in Cannes brought the issue to the forefront.

Eva Longoria | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Not baby friendly

According to The Guardian, filmmaker Greta Bellamacina brought her infant son to the screening of her film Hurt By Paradise, where she was told by security that her son could not enter the site. After a bit of a squabble, Bellamacina was told she could take her son to the accreditation area, but his stroller would have to go through a different entrance. Then the filmmaker was informed she would be required to purchase a pass, for which she offered to pay, but the pass would take 48 hours to process. She was then asked to leave the site.

“I’m outraged at the absurdity of this backwards attitude. As if female film-makers needed further obstacles to equality in our industry,” Bellamacina said, as reported by The Guardian. “Ironically, my film is about a young single mother trying to balance her life as a writer. She is treated quite patronizingly in some scenes in the film, but never as rudely as I was treated as a mother at the film festival today.”

The melee caught the attention of actress/producer/director Eva Longoria, who is raising awareness along with some other famous females on the issues working mothers face in the entertainment industry.

Making a change

Longoria has solidified her standing in Hollywood in front of and behind the camera.  She was just announced as the director of Fox Searchlight’s upcoming biopic Flamin’ Hot, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter. The challenges that mothers deal with in her line of work became her own reality when she welcomed her son Santiago Enrique Bastón, with husband José “Pepe” Bastón in June 2018. When hearing about the incident in Cannes, she was stunned.

“I had already left Cannes before I heard the story and I was blown away,” Longoria said, according to Harper’s Bazaar. “A woman brought her four-month-old to a screening? Of course she did. He’s four months! He needs to feed.” The actress commented that when her son was at that young age, “Santi was not ever not with me.”

Longoria, along with actress Gabrielle Union, are part of an ‘unofficial’ society of film industry moms who are addressing the need to revamp the rules of working parents, as reported by Harper’s Bazaar. Union and husband Dwayne Wade welcomed daughter Kaavia James in November 2018 via surrogate.

The actresses are trying to make bringing their babies to the red carpet, writers’ rooms and on the sets of their projects the new norm.

Raising kids and awareness

On her Spectrum show L.A.’s Finest, Union stars and executive produces the series along with actress Jessica Alba. The two working moms are making their set an example of how they want the industry to look, where their babies are always present and welcome. “When Jessica was negotiating she had just given birth and was just very clear about what she needed and that she understood her value, and it paved the way for all of us to have access to our kids,” Union said. “When I came back from maternity leave, Jess made sure my trailer had everything that hers had so Kaav could come right to set. No one’s had to make that crazy, crazy sacrifice of going back to work and just, like, leaving your kid. Jess was like, f*** that. I’m going to create the Hollywood that I’ve dreamed of and that I need.”

Longoria recognized that she and others in her field have the monetary means and access to childcare, more so than most mothers. “I have to acknowledge that I come from a place of privilege,” she said. “So there’s that disclaimer. But it is uncommon in our industry for women to direct and produce, much less so a woman with a baby. So I do think there’s some course correcting I can do by normalizing it.”

The Grand Hotel executive producer and star told of when a makeup artist commented on the endearing sight of Longoria nursing her son while watching the monitor. “I was like, ‘I know, because it’s sweet…,’ and she was like, ‘No, no, no, because you’re doing your job, in your element, as you’re yelling action. Because it’s badass,’” Longoria said.

It’s a sure bet that Longoria and Union will continue to work toward positive change for parents!