LOS ANGELES-‘Desperate Housewives’ star Eva Longoria says she was the ‘’black sheep’’ in her family and an ugly ducking whose mother discouraged her from entering beauty pageants. The 42-year-old actress grew up in Texas in a family of strong, independent women and admits she was always the rebel.

Despite now being considered one of the world’s sexiest women, Eva was not as pretty when she was younger and her mother Ella tried to discourage her from entering a beauty pageant, but she proved her parent wrong by going for it.

Speaking to Makers UK, she said: ‘’Every single woman in my family was educated and independent.

‘’I grew up as the youngest of four girls and I was considered the black sheep of the family. People used to come up to my mum and go ‘your daughters are so beautiful and who’s this...?’ I remember actually entering a beauty pageant in college and telling my mum and she goes, ‘Oh honey, are you sure you want to put yourself through that? Like you’re not gonna win.’ ‘’

But after winning the beauty pageant, Eva was offered a chance to read a script for the pilot episode of a new TV show, which turned out to be the hit series ‘Desperate Housewives’.

Eva recalled reading the script of Marc Cherry’s show and thinking it was ‘’special and magical’’ but says she would never have been able to be in the programme without the help of her co-stars Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross.

She said: ‘’I don’t think I could have done it without Marcia and Felicity because it was this runaway train that we were all on. I was always turning to Felicity and Marcia who just took me under their wins and was like ‘we’re gonna stick together, we’re gonna do this together.’

‘’I always loved the business side of entertainment. I used ‘Desperate Housewives’ and being on set for nearly 10 years as my film school.

‘’When I decided to direct, I was actually terrified.’’

The activist has now set up a foundation to help Latinas build better futures for themselves through education and entrepreneurship.