I had the chance to get “Up Close and Personal with Eva Longoria” and in talking with her it quickly became obvious that Eva is quite different than the spoiled, self-centered, ex-model, Gabrielle Solis, she plays to perfection on Desperate Housewives.
While Eva has graced the covers of Vogue, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar, she is much more than a beautiful, sexy woman. What impressed me most about her is that she is incredibly smart, articulate, and outspoken about important social and political issues that include immigration reform, labor laws for farm workers and the roles available for Latinos/Latinas in Hollywood, as well as in life.
While Gabby is busy lunching with the ladies on Wisteria Lane, Eva has been getting her Master’s Degree in Chicano Studies and Political Science. And while Gabby can barely boil water, Eva has written a cookbook, and owns two restaurants, one in Los Angeles and one in Las Vegas.
As Eva explained, she packs in every minute of every day. She says that she’ll sleep when she’s dead and I believe her. She called me to do the interview while she was in between scenes on the set of Desperate Housewives and she launched right in wasting no time with pleasantries. She was like a race horse anxious to get to the finish line.
I’m used to talking with my celebrity guests for at least an hour, sometimes more, but with Eva I was lucky to get half the time. Fortunately, she can say more in 29.36 seconds than some people do in an entire day.
She talked about growing up on a ranch outside Corpus Christi that has been in her family for nine generations. She talked about her mom who is her role model; her older sister Liza who is mentally challenged and was Eva’s hero growing up; her divorce from Tony Parker; her plans after Desperate Housewives ends this spring; what life lessons she’s learned; the philanthropic work she is most passionate about; and much more that might surprise you.
One of the films Eva produced is called “The Harvest” about the children of Latino migrant workers in America who travel with their parents from farm to farm picking the food that ends up on our table.
I think if people really understood the harm caused by the pesticides used on our food, they would be outraged. In my opinion most people prefer not to acknowledge the connection between what they eat and the diseases they get, because if they did it would be insane not to make wiser choices. It’s crazy not to read labels and know what we put in our bodies. And if people don’t care about their own health, why would they care about the migrant workers who breathe in and handle food that has been sprayed and contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals.
Who gets the risks? The risks are given to the consumer, the unsuspecting consumer and the poor work force. And who gets the benefits? The benefits are only for the corporations, for the money makers.”
LIFE LESSON: In my interview with Eva, she suggests people try and buy at least some organic produce. My husband and I have been buying organic produce whenever possible for probably the past seven years and I think the few extra pennies spent is one of the best investments we can make in our health.
Someone once sent me a basket of chocolate-covered strawberries. Because I know strawberries are on the Dirty Dozen list of foods that hold the most residual pesticide, I had to throw them in the garbage. We get to vote with our dollars. If we boycott companies and demand healthier products, sustainable farming and ways of manufacturing that don’t pollute the air and water, they will eventually have to comply or go out of business.
There was just a report that said that Hostess Brands, the company that makes Twinkies and Wonder Bread, is facing bankruptcy. I like to believe that’s because people have gotten smarter about putting sugar, fat, artificial flavoring, and empty calories into their children’s bodies and calling it a treat and less gullible believing ads that promise white bread will build strong bodies 12 ways.
In talking with Eva I gleaned another piece of wisdom that we all need to be reminded of. When I asked her what important life lesson she’s learned, she referred to her divorce from Tony Parker who she’d been with for seven years. She said her whole identity had been wrapped up in being his wife. She said marriage was sacred in her family, and she and Tony would kid each other and say that divorce wasn’t an option, and that she would kill him before she’d divorced him.
While it didn’t work out the way Eva had hoped, she wasn’t bitter and angry. In fact she has never said anything negative about her ex-husband who caused her public humiliation when the media revealed that she had found hundreds of texts from the wife of a former teammate on his phone. Eva has always exuded class and dignity by simply stating, “We really tried, but in the end we wanted different things.”
LIFE LESSON: FORGIVENESS is the key to peace of mind, good health, and happiness. It’s a hard thing to master whether we’ve been betrayed by a husband or disappointed by a friend. In the end forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves. If we don’t forgive than we go around carrying a lot of animosity, resentment, and anger, emotions that turn to poison in our bodies, and in the end, that person who did us wrong, does us wrong twice.
Forgiveness allows us to live in the present rather than the past. We can’t make someone love us. They might not even treat us fair or with respect. All we can do is be responsible for our own actions, choices and behaviors.
Since the divorce Eva has moved on. For the past year she has been dating Penelope Cruz’s brother Eduardo. In this clip from the “Ellen” show she appears to be very happy. Happy but wiser. Listen and you’ll hear Eva give some great advice to women about not wrapping your whole identity around your partner or even defining yourself by your career.
Just as my interview with Eva was about to end, she was getting ready to jump on a conference call with eight board members from one of the charities she supports. Then it would be back to the set of Desperate Housewives and after that she probably had ten more commitments lined up.
After we hung up I sat there for a minute, exhausted by the speed and intensity with which Eva spoke. Most people could not keep up with her schedule, and yet she inspired me to step it up a notch and do more. Do more to make a difference. Do more of the things I am passionate about. Do more to show others kindness and compassion. Eva says people have more time than they think, and that they waste a lot of it.
Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”
Thomas A. Edison
LIFE LESSON: How many times do you say you wish you had time to write a book, clean your house, take a class, cook a healthy meal rather than get take-out, keep a journal, exercise, learn to paint, study Italian, or start a business; yet some of you spend hours on Facebook or chatting with friends on the phone. Be selective about how you spend your time. Clip coupons, iron clothes, or exercise while you’re watching Desperate Housewives or Dancing with the Stars. Also try and do something each day that moves you closer to your dreams.
Here is my entire interview with Eva Longoria.
Let me know what you think.