Eva Longoria is an award-winning Hollywood actress and an accomplished director, producer and writer, best known as Gabrielle Solis on the hit US television series Desperate Housewives. The L’Oreal Paris global brand ambassador was in Australia this week as this year’s celebrity international guest for the Melbourne Fashion Festival. I caught up with Longoria to chat about moving from acting to producing, her love of cooking and how, at 39, she feels sexier than ever.
What is a typical day for you?
It depends on the day. I’ve been producing and directing a lot more. I usually wake up, I run and then I meditate … then I have meetings all day long.
Having formed your own production company [UnbeliEVAble Entertainment], do you prefer being behind the scenes or in front of the camera?
They’re different muscles. Acting is very different to producing and directing. But I do like being behind the camera. I like having control of the final product because as an actor you show up and you say your lines and then you leave. As a producer and director you cast it, you score it, you write it, you everything. You’re in charge of everything from beginning to end. I kind of like that.
Will we see you return to TV any time soon?
There are a couple of things in development that I’m interested in, but not yet. I mean, I really hit the lottery with Desperate Housewives and so it’s kind of hard to compare the next project to that.
You must get recognised everywhere you go. Does that get frustrating?
No it’s flattering, for people that have seen the show and been a fan. I get more surprised when people haven’t seen it.
Is there anywhere in the world where you don’t get recognised?
No, I remember talking to a friend of mine about this, saying, ”Where could I go on vacation that nobody would know who I was?” and we couldn’t think of a country. I mean, I’m sure there are villages in Africa that I could go to and they wouldn’t know Desperate Housewives.
What is the secret to your success?
I have no idea [laughs]. I think that I’m driven and ambitious. And I’m highly curious just about the world in general. So I’m constantly exploring and trying new things and going out on a limb and experiencing new adventures, and I think that’s important in life.
Being a global brand ambassador for a beauty company, do you feel the pressure to always look your best?
You know, ”this” is an illusion … I’ve hair and make-up and stylists and it is a lot of work when you’re working … my everyday life is not as high maintenance. I’m like a jeans and T-shirt and flip-flops girl. I wear tinted moisturiser and mascara maybe, but I’m not a big high-maintenance girl. But when I do have to work, I love hair, makeup, dresses and heels.
Can you actually walk out of your house in your tracksuit pants, no makeup and messy hair?
Absolutely, oh yeah!
Is it quite daunting when you have to get ready for big red carpet events?
Yeah, I do actually get nervous sometimes, like in big red carpets like Cannes and the Golden Globes, everybody is watching every detail: your manicure, your earrings, your shoes, your purse, your date, your hair, everything, and so sometimes it could be high stress. And it’s work for us. People think, ”Oh! It’s fun.” No, it’s a lot of work.
When do you feel you’re most confident?
I feel my best every day when I’m going into the office and I’ve got jeans and a blazer on and heels or flats, but just my everyday comfort, go-to outfit … [On the red carpet there is] so much superficiality in it. You have the eyelashes and you might have some hair extensions and you might have a hairpiece … it’s all an illusion. When I say it’s an illusion, it really is an illusion. So you can’t really aspire or attain that level of perfection. That took four hours to do.
You were recently voted again as sexiest woman alive …
I was really proud … because it was exactly 10 years after the first time.
Do you feel sexier as time goes on?
Definitely, I feel sexier now because I’m much wiser, I’m older, I’m more experienced in life, I’m more worldly. I’ve travelled to more places, I’m more educated … I’m just more literate about a lot of things.
What do you do for fun?
Cooking is very therapeutic to me and I love to be at home with my friends and cook.
What’s next in the pipeline?
I produced Devious Maids, which premieres in April in the US, and I directed the first episode and I’m very excited about that.
WE WENT TO No.8 by John Lawson, Crown Casino, Melbourne.
WE ATE Ora king salmon with soy salt, crab and sweet corn succotash; jicama ravioli salad with avocado, chilli and pistachio and Flowerdale Farm summer salad with wheat berries, baby carrots and pea shoots.
WE DRANK Sparkling mineral water and Josmeyer pinot gris.
EVA WORE An Alex Perry dress.
I WORE a Camilla and Marc blazer.
For video footage see: smh.com.au