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Eva Longoria Bastón and Zoe Saldana Interviewed by Beatriz Acevedo | Upfront Summit 2020

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Upfront Summit 2020
January 29, 2020, Pasadena, CA, United States
Upfront Summit 2020
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Eva Longoria Bastón and Zoe Saldana Interviewed by Beatriz Acevedo | Upfront Summit 2020
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About speakers

Eva Longoria Bastón
Actress
Zoe Saldana
Founder, Actress at BESE
Beatriz Acevedo
President at Acevedo Foundation

Receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this past spring, Zoe Saldana is herself the epitome of a true star in Hollywood, earning a reputation as a versatile and respected actress by choosing roles that she feels passionately about. She recently reprised her role as the fan-favorite ‘Gamora,’ in “Avengers: Infinity Wars,” which premiered on April 23rd. Additionally, she stars in the independent drama “I Kill Giants” directed by Anders Walter based on the comic book of the same name. Saldana also lent her talents as the voice of Captain Celaeno in the animated Lionsgate film, “My Little Pony: The Movie”.Saldana has recently launched BESE (prounced “Bee-Seh”) a digital platform intended to reshape the cultural narrative by shining light on the untold stories that reflect today’s America. This platform will provide a voice to Latinx youth through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as youtube videos and podcasts. BESE fills a niche for young LATINX audiences craving positive portrayals of the modern AMERICAN experience.Last year, Saldana was once again seen opposite Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper in Marvel’s “Guardians of The Galaxy 2,” where she again, stared as the franchise’s lethal alien assassin, ‘Gamora’. The movie was a blockbuster success grossing over 380 million domestically.

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Beatriz Acevedo is a leading inspirational voice and Latina entrepreneur in the United States. She has dedicated her career to creating opportunities in an effort to influence authentic and positive depictions of Latinos in society.Beatriz began her career as a young radio and television host. Her work has earned her three Emmy Awards, a MTV Music Video Award, two Streamy Awards, a Media Correspondent Award, among others. She has also created a variety of branded content and marketing campaigns targeting millennial youth for numerous blue-chip brands.Most recently, Beatriz was the co-founder and President of mitú, the leading digital media brand for young Latinos in the U.S. Under her leadership she went on to raise $50M in funding, led by some of the most successful venture capital groups in California. The mentorship initiatives that she created through her Accelerator Program, have also provided invaluable access to the next generation of multicultural storytellers.Beatriz is currently the President of her family’s foundation “Acevedo Foundation” For the past 30 years, the Foundation has provided scholarships for students who lack the financial means to pursue a higher education. Funds are also distributed to support numerous cultural and arts programs.

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About the talk

Topic: Business

Eva Longoria Bastón and Zoe Saldana discuss the 60 million strong and growing Latino demographic, and why this demographic matters in entertainment, politics, and the workforce. They discuss Zoe's startup Bese, and why she wanted to create more content for underrepresented people; how culture can impact public policy; the Eva Longoria Foundation and her work creating the next generation workforce; and why it's literally and figuratively important for technology to have diverse voices around the table.

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Good afternoon. Everybody boy, that's out of it for the Spanish speaking audience. Maybe not a lot of you but a little Spanish goes a long way through this afternoon. I am here with two incredible women that don't need a big introduction, you know them from their movies from their TV series. But today we're going to be talking business on 60 million Latinos and growing in our country. We're going to talk about GDP we're going to talk about what the future holds for us and for our children in this country and with a room full of entrepreneurs Eva Longoria Baston and Zoe Saldana why

I should be done Chopra Norris and investors care about Latinos today in our country. Why is it crucial not just for our community, but for them as business people. Oh my God, there's so many answers to that you want to go? Demographic demographic in the United States in business in population in Workforce Talent pools. And so the word diversity is throwing around so much. That's right, but I think some people think I can check the box or it's the right thing to do and my argument is always the economic economic that smart thing to do because you invest in our

community. It's been proven that company that have diverse management boards diverse executive team across all Industries across all countries produce 19% more Revenue than boards or teams or management teams that don't have that NASA has diversity leads to Innovation and especially in the tech world. You need that Innovation. You need that other perspective when it comes to creating new apps. Allergy new solutions to to the world's problems. So I don't I mean I think people stop thinking of it as a moral imperative I get to the

right thing to do. It's the economic Elite smart thing to do Echo what you're saying? I just I'm not acting like I'm allowed to 41. I don't have you guys but because the data is everything so the US Latin Market reached 1.5 trillion dollars and buying power in 2017 and is expected to reach 1.9 trillion dollars by 2022. So why is it important? Because it benefits our American economy to consider All American Eno's first, we're Americans first and to me that is that is I feel like what we have to grow and expand expand and be flexible when it comes

to The Narrative of what is American, who is it? American and who is not when I think about a Latino I think about a foreign-born person when I think about myself I think American I think New Yorker I think woman I think women of color and for me to see Latina, you have to earn that when you get to know me, I don't need to identify myself in order for you to know how you're going to place me and I think that I think that when the economy is benefiting highly on the fastest growing minority group in America that it. Is over indexing on College enrollment specially leading by Latinas

73% of Latinas are enrolling in college on a high at a higher rate than any non Hispanics a woman across our nation. So these are numbers that cannot be denied and we have to find a way to fit them into our economy in a way that visibility only benefits off of a Nation. There's a big distinction. I'm just hearing you say, you know, you was born Latino or American Latino How many times people say? Oh, you know, what where do you recommend that I invest my money? Is it Mexico? Is it Brazil? And then does my be incredible countries for you to

invest in our backyard? Right? I'm glad we're driving so many metrics that are growing our economy rate from GDP to consumption raised to an apprenticeship. I'm so it's important that people look at their own backyard American Latinos. Jacco when it comes to investing because if you're following the growth of a market, that's exactly where the girl American Latino the average age of 28 where the average non-hispanic is 43. So just buy that you're going to have a longer-term customer by investing in let me know

I know but yeah, I think like for example being so young and we're going to talk a little bit about be say, thank you but being so young and you catering and in your new startup would be fit to Yuengling. You know, it's really you really have to pay a lot of attention thinking like when one of every two kids today and you both contribute to this dad born in California is a Latino or New York and you know where the growth is going right though. It's still baffling to me to see that there's such lack of representation everywhere where there's a big screen or small screen business-wise

still took a little bit about Beast that why you wanted to build this company already being such a successful actress you already having the race at Cecil production company with tennis star with your sisters. You still wanted more. Why was that Because I became a mother of three American boys. And and I dunno in the universe is so ironic that makes me a mother of boys post times up and I'm I'm accepting that wonderful Challenge and also to out of my three boys look more like me and my younger son is what you consider the yunobo capacity looks like

my husband. My husband's an immigrant from easily and I am when I met my twin they were born early. They were in the NICU like to emotions came over me that were very very strong in the first one was Pride because as a woman you go through all these changes to try again Snapchat to Bear children, and then they come on they look like your partner, but I'm very proud. He looks like me and then my second feeling that made me feel really deeply ashamed Was Fear because I junk cut stone many so many years of like the day that they have to go out with your friends to the mall

and they're leaving wearing a hoodie. When am I going to say the day that somebody called them and negative, you know term and school and they don't know why they're being polarized. What will I say then? And we sort of thinking about my own experience my own American Experience being a first-generation from Queens New York and and feeling like I didn't exist in The Narrative of Life by iPad school. I was being taught ethnic studies and that's when I saw people like me when I when I turned on my TV, I only had you know, Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton to be my Warriors and I

was I was content and Whoopi Goldberg, but I don't have that much... Many resemblances of myself that made me feel that I can do anything. I can be I can go anywhere I can do anything to it made me look to media media. Very very important Forever Young mind to feel that they are they can cultivate aspirations. They can reach Higher Grounds outside of the environments that they sometimes find themselves in jail. So that got me curious. I'm like, okay. I know I'm going to start a media company. I've been working in media but where and how and then the question was. Where are

where are they? Where are these people that look like me a consuming their content and I'm it's in their devices. So the digital media landscape provides blank canvas made me really excited to sort of navigating. So what I'm finding myself now doing I just lost my company two years ago, but it was just the first step now. It's about aggregating all of my assets and creating what I'm calling an ecosystem where I don't know. I don't know if it's a network. I don't know if it's a studio. I just know that I want to own my own content. I want to create my own

content. Americans and whether they're Americans that are a color with disabilities that are female that are queer. It doesn't matter if you have ever experienced any kind of other Rings, this is the space I want to be that content creator for you whether you need news whether you need Brands whether you need lifestyle like I want to be that I want to provide that space where you feel you feel seen and you feel like you are the one and you're not the other one. So I'm to me that's important because when you know what it's like to be excluded the last thing that you're going to do is exclude

others. So what we're saying is that inclusivity is our exclusivity and that you have to start I know that you know did investing in digital media and may be daunting and super scary. You know, we have Mission and we also have Investments. This is the mission we have to invest in our media because if we're not making good information that we can curate then where we going to be 5 to 10 years from now. I'll let you know. Three of us. We need like 3 hours, but you nobody like you haven't checked out Beast that you have to check it out. If not even not just cuz of your

let me know. It's amazing that he's telling and it really is when you do it from a different perspective as of content creator you go. Oh my God, that was so interesting. I didn't think about that. I didn't know that and that's all that's important because the content in the media so important it's not about it's two things what you put out. What is out there educates other communities about us, right? So if you live in Arkansas and you don't have a Latino neighbor and all you see about Latinos is what you see in the news or from this Administration, you're probably going to have a negative

view of that. So so, you know media educates other communities about us, but more importantly it educate our community about us. And so that's what the stakes are more for. I think for Zoe and I is making sure young little girl from from New York and go and look up. Sunscreen or look anywhere on online or in digital space wherever it is in and know that she can see it and she can be it right and I'll speak now the new majority of our country. I find a devastating two things that are kids who are

American don't see themselves anywhere, right? They're not validated as it's negative write and I I love the story that you once shared with me about the bus rides and being the other how that really motivated you to say. You know what I'm going to start my own company. I'm going to start my own foundation and it all started. Thanks to a Pop-Tart. Do you mind sharing that? I know thanks to a bean taco. I'm texting. I'm a text again and Mexican-American. I'm 9th generation

Mexican-American. My family came to New Spain in 1603. We are on this. Inland as that Spanish land grant today that we are more Americans than Donald Trump and that is but we didn't cross the border the Border crossed us and there's a hole in the term. I pick my family is under five different Flags without ever moving and if you know history and if you know immigration all history, it's important to be literate on this before you go and you know protest

something about anti-immigration. And so yeah, I my mom made me take the gifted and talented test to get into a better school that was across town and I had to ride the bus and I did with people I didn't know until I get on the buses in third grade and it's like a sea of blond. I never seen how many blankets in my life and I had a bean taco to my mom a bean taco and everybody turned and stared at me and my bean taco and I looked out and everybody was eating the same thing and I didn't know what it was. I never seen any of the Pop-Tart.

I remember a little girl going. What's that? And I was like, what's what it will everybody in my neighborhood and I remember somebody in the bus clearly going. And it was like a fact that explain to me and I never heard that word cuz I was American and I don't live in Mexico. And so when you or any kind of hyphenate your Mexican-American, you know, dominican-american you straddle that - every day of your life. So people know you're half Mexican half American and Americans at the same time. So sometimes navigate and identities is

very difficult. But it definitely informed everything that I do which is making sure that you know, you're not defined by your culture and if it's me that works complex where a complex community and we're not monolithic you both are big advocate of our community and we talked a lot about who gets to tell her stories Beyond does wanting to see herself in a movie or in a TV show just for the sake of seeing someone that is Taking a toll in our community in real life,

right when we see what is happening and what the narrative is the recently-launched something together with Michael lavaughn them and mayor Garcetti to try to up this representation because although where 25% of the box office where 3% represented in the movies and 1% represent to the showrunner switch a really the people who are telling our stories right very excited to know that we have allies in this effort like JJ Abrams and Sarah Harden from How The Sunshine what is your view on how Hollywood is affecting real life issues for a community? And what can we do

together to change that? I think they just have to die to diversify your boardrooms. I think that you really am not who not only speaks for Hollywood because art is just an imitation of life, but sometimes ours has to take that leadership and and be that life so that you know, it is life and starts reflecting the art that way right. I mean take things to Gene Roddenberry. He was running has been in the area where the thought of an American a Russian a Japanese person having breakfast together was it was not it just was

inconceivable. So he created Star Trek and I gave people a vision of isn't visible reflection of what we could be if we just continue to try to get to Know Thy Neighbor and I'm so life imitated arts and that moment and then it ended up affecting life. So I think that art needs to do you know when I 6 + apartments with subject diversification aboard room in positions of leadership when you're that Co when you're that VP that CMO that whatever ooouu maybe and you see that young boy that just reminds you of a younger version of yourself, but with

better ABS or something, I'm in addition to taking him under your wing and grooming him so that he can be that future CEO give yourself that rule for everyone young man. Did I take under me that I see myself in him? I'm going to take a woman and even be crazy or take a woman of color. in your company Thank you. And for everyone token person of color that you go I checked my box for a company. You know what this year should be relentless say I'm not just going to check that

one boss. I'm going to check 10 start this year just for 10 and then next year double it and then next year double it like we have to the change to not come from the from the ground up as a woman. I'm 41, and I'm tired of fighting. I don't want a revolution. Play I want to run a song this and that has to come from the top and trickled down from to the bottom. I just have to be that way and I think it's smart to do that. There's a great activist. Y'all should look her up or her name is Fabiano Rodriguez,

and she explains speaking about how kind of our rules is that how policy never changes in government? Until culture changes so cultures have to change before policy-making can change. So if you see what happened in the 1960s with the Cuban Refugee crisis that happened to that time and demons were welcomed and and supported when they got to this country 10 years before that. What was on TV I Love Lucy Ricky Ricardo. If you look at the defensive the Defense of Marriage Act and when that we gay marriage pass what was on TV 10 years before that Roseanne The Ellen Show queer eye and so we made

culture comfortable with these people. So what we have to do the natives do it now because it's going to take 10 years to change the fact that this is the norm. We're harmless. We're not here to Ito do what what some people say we are to do until I think you know, those aren't and images that we do put out from our industry can actually Change what? I think. I'm very soon the lead to Big historical moments one that you'll be the first Latina ever in the history of Hollywood to us born Latina for a Subaru Forester. Yeah. Yeah.

That's a lot of qualification a person from Corpus Christi, Texas before me so before me Sylvia Morales has an amazing Chicana filmmaker who came way before me sheet. She may be didn't work at did and major motion picture, but she is an amazing. There's so many and I think that's a problem is I don't know him from Mexico Studio. You will be the first one and I love the fact that it is a biopic about a latino man, right who did not go to Harvard, but did not drop out of Stanford. He was a janitor and he's given Pepsi more money than anybody else. Add more money, right

and it was because of that inside that he had from being a Latino and knowing what the community really like. How did you pick this movie? What makes you excited about it? And I didn't pick this is what you think about is the Flamin Hot Cheetos story and if you guys are familiar with it amazing story of the American dream about the Mexican janitor who worked at the factory and came up with the idea of Flamin Hot Cheeto, which is now the number one snack in the world and one of the only products at Frito-Lay Pepsi that is continuing to grow because of our

GDP in our buying power. So his stories amazing, but his story is many people stories and that's the beautiful thing that we're going to show is Richard Montanez a story is your story. It's my story and it's about perseverance and Andrea Lee what you do when the infrastructure of opportunity is not there and when when opportunity is not distributed equally, it's not in a pull yourself by your bootstraps and work hard and you're going to get ahead because there's so many doors closed off to our community and if you think about in

technology and you think about the systematic This is America prussians that we face whether it's a pay gap an opportunity Gap access to Capital Access to business knowledge. We face so many barriers as women and his people of color that need to be remedied because we have to work twice as hard me or three times is hard even me getting this job. I had to prove myself ten times more than the other Direct Mail director that was going against me because I didn't have the body of work to say I can do this, but

let me get the job but there's so many systematic errors that we go through and if you think about technology there are so many there's this wonderful woman who spoke at Sundance recently talked about the coded by us noticed Snapchat or Instagram filters. They don't recognize dark faces. They don't recognize Black Faces dark faces, but not the coded by it says there's a bias things that for Latinos for any voice-activated technology my Husband who from Mexico? He's like Siri. What is

the weather and there is like I have no idea. So there's like a hundred Wentzville Missouri to tell you I like this week in Spanish or English in English with a Spanish accent. Anybody was in here and doing any kind of voice Technologies. Just keep that in mind even something as simple as that and not even not having somebody with a seat at the table when you are developing that technology to go. I have a problem with this because I'm different. Yeah, so you need that Innovation at the table at the Forefront of your

own conventions. Let's talk a little bit about your foundation so big on education and everything you do and your philanthropy work supports children and their learning you have made a big bet on Latino women right talking a little bit. We are about you know, the lack of capital maybe the lack of access. We always stayed Talent is equal opportunity. If not, and you made it your life's mission to make sure that does not happen. I love the work that you do. I love everything about it from the after-school stem programs for a girls trip Latina entrepreneurs

of all ages. Can you share a little bit more about what you've been doing and what you have been doing this work for about 10 years cuz we recognized not only Latino communities and untapped talent pool, but not seen as specifically as Zoe said we are going to college at a greater rate than our male counterparts and graduating and finishing that but my Foundation focus on the stem field because For every there's 1 million Computing jobs this year that are going to be open and one of the United States economy can't even fill those because

there's not enough qualified applicants. So if you look at what is going to be the future Workforce of America, it's going to be Latina. And so we have to prepare these women for those jobs. We have to steer them in that direction because this is what the future is going to look like economically and if we want them to be economically mobile, this is where it's really rather shot. They bought it with after school programs at coding and Robotics and 3D printing and 8 year olds go.

I'm just like my mind to get blown away, but then I also feel so great. Cuz I go that that's a little girls going to create the technology for our community. The future Workforce. That is not that into the future right in the next 5 years one out of every two people entering the workforce will be a Latino. The when you're building your company's think about that culture think about how you're recording think about how you're building an inclusive work for it. And we also need to start preparing. Our kids are kids in our community. Which so many Baby Boomers are

retiring at a very accelerated rate. It is primarily kids of color led by Latinos who are going to be feeling these jobs and supporting and growing our economy. There's no GDP growth if there is a flat Workforce and it is precisely letting well that are going to be an entrepreneur side to I decided to do, you know education in my foundation and also entrepreneurship because Latinas start small businesses, six times the national average, then it over indexing fuels our economy people think it's these Big Apple and everybody it's not it's small

businesses still are the backbone of our economy and provide most of the job. It's interesting just be like wait who's leading that Latinas? And yet they still face barriers getting access to Capital or access to business knowledge. And so that's what the foundation doesn't say. Here are some alternate routes if you if you don't know what a VC is coming pitch and will show you if you don't if you're scared of the bank, if you don't know what credit rating is, if you don't know what you know back office and accounting means if you don't know how to do a payroll and we provide them all

of those tools for in education is made is everything amazing absolute resolve you talking about education and the power of Latinos and specifically Latinas, I know you two along with American Federal along with you. Did a big push during the last election to everywhere right everywhere the midterms everywhere to try to get Latinos out to vote talk a little bit about how you think we can rally better our community support better our community not only

talk to them when there is an election that's happening. And what are you guys focused on on this on this new cycle? I mean I'm not going to I'm not going to talk politics. I'd I definitely think the importance is to get all Americans out there to vote. I think it's important to reinstate trust has been lost specially with younger Generations because we have a problem if our communities becoming cynical I think I think it's very much like Houston serious issue

for me. It's it's that it's changing it sits at Exchange in a language, you know in the 1960s and the content that was being created that was given to Americans was to cater to an 85% community that was of Angela origin and a 15% That was foreign-born that was immigrant and still to this day there so many formats that are being treated across news entertainment sport series 4-3 diverse, but It's still catering to that model of the above demograss that can I think that I think that you know, like I like I've always had like it took us a long time to boot to learn bad habits.

It'll take us also a long time to outgrow them this thing about Latinos and Latinas. I think that or I think American is it is a vocabulary that is going to definitely win trust within our community because they were talking to younger Generations that are u.s. Born that are first second generation their children of immigrants, so to compel them in a conversation on a title to choose If they consider themselves Americans are Latinos is already using half of a half of the retention. I think it's knowledge and respecting that they

are from here and that their English first is you gaining their trust. It's the initiation of a dialogue that they're going to leave open just to entertain you for s h i t and jiggles, you know, the importance of its it's a it to me when I think about Latino filmmakers, I think if I can get more daughter I think about you know, I think about Roberto Rodriguez and Eva Longoria among Martin Scorsese and all these other people because they're us born. I think it's it's a it's a it's a language. It's a vocabulary that we just

have to acquire and get used to practicing but I hope I didn't Trail off but that's it. That's that's the way I am going to sort of encouraged the population to pay attention to National matters. And and how your singular vote is going to make a difference when we Americans and the number one American issues the economy number one letting you choose the economy people think our number on issues immigration and it's and it's not like number 5 on the rights. We

want Healthcare and education economy in do the thing specifically for these candidates that are currently running. No one has as really spoken to the Latino community and we're kind of like waiting back to go. Okay somebody so we just decided we're going to speak for yourself more tired of asking about time for somebody to speak to us and we're just going to go out and Empower our community to make their choice but to get an NB counted because then the voting booth is the only place where the top 1% has the same weight as as the janitor from Frito-Lay, absolutely.

16 million and strong fastest growing GDP of any mature economy. So do think of you as boring Latinos as an extraordinary business opportunity. Thank you so much.

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