How Diana Maria Riva Landed Role In Eva Longoria's 'Telenovela'

Jan 18, 2016

Diana Maria Riva (left) plays Eva Longoria's costume designer on NBC's "Telenovela."
Credit NBCUniversal

How did Delhi Township native Diana Maria Riva get the role of Mimi, the costume designer on Eva Longoria’s “Telenovela” (8:30 p.m. Mondays, Channel 5, NBC).

Longoria, an executive producer, invited Riva to talk about the role when the former “Desperate Housewives” star was putting together the half-hour comedy about the star of a popular Spanish-language soap opera (Longoria) who doesn’t speak Spanish.

“I had never worked with her or met her. She asked me to come in and meet with her for this role," Riva says.

"She got up to read her part with me, in order to really test our chemistry. It was instant. We bantered effortlessly. She made the call that I was her choice for ‘Mimi,' and it’s been simply amazing ever since,” says Riva, known as Diana Uhlenbrock when she graduated from St. Ursula Academy and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Riva has become a big fan since then.

“Working with Eva is an absolute dream on many levels. She is hands down one of the smartest, most hard working people I’ve ever come across in this industry, and also one of the most loving, genuine and sincere person I’ve ever met,” she says.

“Telenovela” stars (from left) Amaury Nolasco, Alex Meneses, Jadyn Douglas, Jose Moreno Brooks, Eva Longoria, Jencarlos Canela, Diana Maria Riva and Juan Carlos Cantu.
Credit NBCUniversal

Costume designer Mimi is the common-sense best friend for Eva’s Ana Sofia. Eva’s character “doesn't speak a lick of Spanish, is from Wisconsin and has a personal life that's more of a hot mess than she plays in the ‘Telenovela.’ The ‘Telenovela’ is really just the backdrop and the characters have real life issues and problems. The audience will get a great laugh at the dysfunction of them all,” she says.

Since her debut in ABC's "Common Law' sitcom 20 years ago, Riva has enjoyed a mix of movie and TV roles in critically acclaimed shows: “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “NYPD Blue,” “The West Wing,” “What Women Want,” “17 Again, ” “The X-Files” and “Our Family Wedding.”

She recently appeared in “McFarland, USA” with Kevin Costner and "Love and Mercy" with Paul Giamatti and Paul Dano.

Her credits also include “The Bridge,” “Castle,” “In Plain Sight,” “The Hughleys,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Party of Five,” “Chasing Papi,” “Saint George,” “Less Than Perfect,” “Side Order of Life” and “The Ghost Whisperer.”

“This has been my dream as an actor. It’s what I wished for when I was getting my degree from the drama dept at CCM, to dive into the character world of diverse, colorful, dramatic, comedic characters. In other words, to have my cake and eat it too! I’m feeling very grateful for it all,” she says.