It Takes All Kinds

a Few Stories and Profiles by Erik Hedegaard
mainly from inside the pages of Rolling Stone
(with additional commentary and folderol provided by the author aka Charlie, sometimes)



All about Eva (Longoria)

Posted on | October 22, 2008 | No Comments

Eva Longoria is TV’s hottest, youngest and least desperate housewife

These days, lots of people want a piece of Eva Longoria, who is probably the biggest thing to come out of the biggest must-see water-cooler-type program to arrive on network TV in years: ABC’s weird and warped suburban soap opera, Desperate Housewives. Let’s say she steps onto the red carpet at an awards show, wearing a white Halston pantsuit, nothing on top but the jacket, naturally brown breasts barely hidden. The photographers go wild. "Eva, come over here, right in the middle!" they shout. "Eva! Eva! Eva, once more! Eva, smile! Eva, one time right here! Eva, straight ahead, please!"

So, they want her. As do all the TV talk shows; she’s already sat next to Jay Leno ("an A-class guy"), Oprah Winfrey ("my favorite interview"), Conan O’Brien ("hilarious, funny"), and Regis and Kelly ("I wasn’t so hot on Regis"). As do any number of companies hoping she’ll agree to hawk their goods; Crest toothpaste, for example, supposedly wanted to give her $250,000 just to mention, on two national talk shows, Crest Whitestrips — an offer that Eva turned down not only because she’s a Colgate girl but also because "it’s really hard to slip something like that in. What am I going to say, ‘You know, if it wasn’t for Crest Whitestrips, I would never have gotten my part in Desperate Housewives!’ " The tabloids also have a thing for her and sometimes hide themselves in the bushes across from her house. Usher digs her too; at last year’s American Music Awards, he cornered her and hard-pitched her the idea of doing a video together ("It was so Hollywood!"). And so do a variety of guys; first it was singer JC Chasez, formerly of the boy band ‘NSync, whom she reportedly ditched; after him, San Antonio Spurs basketball player Tony Parker; after him, actor Butch Klein, from TV’s 24.

In all regards, then, she’s highly, absolutely desirable. She’s also Mexican-American, a veteran of the daytime soaps and the proud possessor of any number of good, short off-color jokes ("Why do rabbits screw so quietly? They have cotton balls!"). And, finally, at the end of most days, she’s all tuckered out from all the action going on around her, so tuckered out that this morning she woke up fifteen minutes before sunrise saying, "Where am I?" She didn’t even know that she was living in a rented Spanish-style pad in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles. Momentarily, everything was a blur. But then her surroundings resolved themselves. There, next to her on the bed, was her beloved white Maltese, Jinxy; there, all the scripts she was reading, scattered about; there, on the bedside table, a bottle of water, more scripts and her vibrators.

Awake now, she rolled out of bed — as usual, she was naked — and wobbled into the bathroom. She took a leak, unspooled a few squares of Charmin, then jumped into the shower, where she washed her hair and brushed her teeth. Shortly thereafter, she worked up a sweat with her personal trainer, changed clothes (into tight, designer-expensive Hudson jeans, over a pretty pink G-string, the only kind of underwear she owns, with Uggs for her feet), hopped into her white Mercedes, zoomed off, stopped for coffee, cruised over to see her acting coach, went to see her lawyer, palavered with her manager on her cell, and that was only how her day began.

Clearly it’s no cakewalk being the freshest face and the youngest star, at the age of thirty, on a hit show like Desperate Housewives, with more than 25 million viewers tuning in each week to see what naughtiness her character, hotsy-totsy ex-model Gabrielle Solis, is up to. It’s also no party being a lust object for teen boys everywhere, largely due to Gabrielle’s sweaty seduction of her seventeen-year-old gardener, played with a look of rapt appreciation by Jesse Metcalfe. But does Eva complain? Eva does not. Eva has been working toward this for seven years, ever since she made it to L.A. from her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas; and if nothing else, Eva is ambitious.

"This industry positions you to want more all the time, and it works well with my personality, because I’m very aggressive and driven," she says forthrightly. "I think that scares some people, because I will get things done no matter what. I’m always moving. I barely dot my i‘s, and I never cross my t‘s. I don’t have enough time."

As it happens, though, she’s a few other things, too. For one, she’s newly orgasmic, having had her first only four or five years ago; currently, nose to the grindstone, she is diligently working to make up for lost time. For another, she’s in love with love. "I am totally about love," she says. "It’s my vice. I love the whole roller coaster of emotions that come with it, the good, the bad, the simmering. I’ve only been in love twice. The rest have been crushes. But I think you should fall in love as often as you can. And, oh, honey, I have many more to go. In fact, my motto is ‘Fall in love a lot and fall hard!’ " That being the case, it seems reasonable to suspect that any guy who hooks up with Eva will not be hooking up with Eva for long. In a sense, right now at least, she’s making herself constantly available, which is an interesting thing to ponder, a constantly available Eva, and what you might get if you got Eva as your girl.

She’s on her way to The Ellen DeGeneres Show and displaying some of herself in the back seat of a limo. Today’s jeans are hip-hugging, pre-ripped True Religions. Her eyes are cocoa, her hair the same, glossily. She’s the tiniest thing, five feet two without spike heels, but when she speaks, it’s loudly, and when she laughs, which she does often, it’s a full-on bray. Her hands like to flutter. She has a tendency, whenever there’s a lull in a conversation, to nearly yell, "What else? Bring it on!!!!!" If words don’t cut it — and almost all of her sentences end with an implied exclamation point or five — she will stab the air with her crossed leg, adding even more emphasis. "I just have this natural adrenaline going through me all the time," she says. "I’m very energetic and very passionate about everything: life, the weather, work, love, everything." At the moment, of course, she’s most passionate about Desperate Housewives and soon launches into the tale of how she got cast, which pretty much follows the line of a typical Hollywood success story. In 2003, she’s on ABC’s L.A. Dragnet when it gets canceled; the network wants to keep her, so it sends her every new script for the 2004 pilot season; the one that stands out as being "twenty times better than anything else" is Desperate Housewives; she goes in on the first day of casting, ends up being the first one cast, and then starts worrying that the show is too good, "so dark and so different" that it’ll never get picked up for a full season; it does; it’s huge almost even before its first hour-long episode airs; and almost immediately thereafter, the free bottles of shampoo start rolling in.

"I haven’t paid for shampoo in five months," she says, happily. "The perks of being on a number-one show are good!!!!!"

What she brings to the show is a kind of manic ennui that leads her character to mow the lawn in an evening gown and hide from her husband the job failings of the family gardener who doubles as her lover. What she brings to the lineup of other actresses on the show — Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman and Nicollette Sheridan — is her relative youth. She’s more than ten years younger than any of them and has taken to calling them "seasoned women." As she told Vanity Fair, "There might be more pressure for them — as their ‘comeback’ from their ‘has-been’ days. I have nothing to prove yet."

On the other hand, what she brings to a bright California afternoon is a lot of warmth, because that’s just the kind of person she is, which in her case can be both good and bad. "I’m very accessible, very open, and very like, ‘Hey, how are you?’ And sometimes people mistake that as ‘She’s flirting’ or ‘She’s interested,’ when I’m just openly talkative and touchy-feely affectionate. I had a very jealous relationship where the guy couldn’t stand it, but I’ve had others where that’s what they loved so much about me. I love holding hands and giving people I meet a hug and a kiss, and the people who know me know ‘Oh, that’s just Eva,’ but those who don’t, they’re sometimes like, ‘Hey, baby, what’s your number?’ Anyway, I don’t think you should censor yourself in life, and if I’m not myself that’s what I tend to do." `

Who she is today, exactly, is still a little up in the air. For a while she talks about her first big acting gig, playing Isabella Brana Williams on the soap opera The Young and the Restless, from 2001 to 2003. There was only one thing she didn’t like about it: the soap formula of every day either having to cry or pretend to have sex. "The sex scenes were easier for me, because I can tap into my sexuality," she says. "But the crying was hard. Some soap actresses can turn it on like a faucet. Oh, Melody Thomas Scott, she’s an amazing crier. She’s like, ‘What eye do you want it out of?’ But I didn’t have that, and I would fear scenes that called for it." She says that when she first moved to L.A. — having never acted before in her life, though she had won a beauty contest or two back home — she wasn’t sure if she could hack it in the business. "I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m never going to be a good actor, because I have no darkness to draw from.’ I don’t know if you’ve ever met Jack Nicholson or Al Pacino, but they’re off. And it makes them geniuses. And I’m like, ‘I want to be like that!’ But I never will be, because I’m normal. I had the happiest upbringing ever."

That happiest upbringing consisted of being properly raised by her schoolteacher mom, Ella Eva, and her Army engineer dad, Enrique; attending Catholic school; learning to hunt with her dad; never getting in much trouble but for the time she stole some gum, which her mom made her return; not losing her virginity until the late-blooming age of seventeen; graduating from Texas A&M, Kingsville, with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology; and, before trying acting, planning to become a sports trainer for the Dallas Cowboys.

Normal, though, is in the eyes of the beholder, and soon she’s running in a different direction, talking about her various likes and dislikes, revealing more of what condition her human condition is in. "My favorite drink now — I usually drink it virgin, because I drank it once in college and had a bad experience — is called Come in My Panties," she says, with a teasing smile. On a scale of one to ten in the kissing department, she says, smolderingly, "I’m a fricking fifteen, man!" From there, it’s a short leap to the bedroom itself. What’s the position she likes best? "Missionary! I love the closeness of missionary, because I love kissing." And, as regards doing it doggy-style, she says she’s generally not for it, the exception being "when you’re in that space of passionate screwing. If you’re there, then hallelujah, go on with your bad self. But most of the time when I have sex, it’s in a relationship that is intimate, special and beautiful."

That noted, a moment of silence follows, after which she begins speaking to the limo driver, a handsome, middle-aged African-American guy. "What’s your name?" she asks him.

"Billy."

"Billy. I love to learn from people, and Billy’s going to teach me something today. Tell me something profound later, Billy."

"You got it."

"Oh, tell it now, Billy," she says suddenly. "Give me a lesson in life. What do you live by, Billy?"

"What do I live by? I’m a spiritual guy."

"Are you really? So am I. In college I went from being a Catholic to being non-denominational to being a Christian, but now I just want to believe in a higher power. That’s a good way to live."

"You try," Billy says. "But it’s hard."

"Yes, it is hard," Eva says thoughtfully. "Oh, the demons pull you. Oh, yeah. Oh, God, yeah."

And then, briefly, she is quiet again.

Until partway through last year, she was married to former General Hospital star Tyler Christopher, and the divorce led to considerable pain, with lots of tears.

"It was the death of something, and you have to mourn it, or else it will remain unresolved," she says. She goes on, "He was an amazing man, but it just didn’t work. I’m in a selfish part of my life right now, and in a marriage, you have to be selfless 100 percent of the time, even with stupid things, like going to the supermarket and wondering if he’s going to want something. And unfortunately, because of my career, I don’t have a lot to give right now. But even today, I don’t mind falling in love. I just don’t want to get married. I wouldn’t mind having a baby. I just don’t want to get married. I’ve come to realize that marriage is hard. That’s why I just want to date now… and have a good time!"

The first tabloid-worthy guy she dated after her marriage fizzled was boy-bander Chasez. His nickname for her was Chacha. Her nickname for him was Lover. She likes to paint hearts, in colorful acrylics, on canvas, and once gave him one of those paintings. He once gave her a love poem he’d written. That was all to the good, of course; but they did have their differences: She’s touchy-feely, he not so much. "Yeah, that’s another one of my vices," she says, confessionally. "I need constant attention and affection. I’m a huge fan of PDA. One guy I was dating" — that was Chasez, though she doesn’t mention him by name — "he was always like, ‘Jesus Christ, you’re suffocating me!’ Because I was constantly kissing him. But I think it’s great. I want to be making out at the dinner table and making the people around us uncomfortable. Ha, ha, ha."

But then she and Chasez fell apart, and Eva started hanging out with Spurs player Parker and 24 actor Klein, substitutes no doubt for two of her more famous crush interests — George Clooney ("I met him once, and he must have said two words to me, but he made me feel like I was the only woman in the world") and Johnny Depp ("He plays by nobody’s rule, and I love that"). How guys like Chasez learn that they’ve lost Eva is probably only in the most ugly and gut-wrenching of ways, because that’s another thing about her: She’s not good at breaking up, and she knows it. "And I’m not good at it because I never actually break up," she says. "I just become really, really mean and try to get you to break up with me. Or else I’m like, ‘Why don’t we break up? I mean, only if you think it’s OK. If you don’t, we’ll stay together. OK, let’s just stay together.’ So, I’ve never actually broken up successfully. But the problem then is, I end up overlapping people, because I know in my head that I’m over that relationship, so I move on without really telling the other person. That’s not good. That’s a bad demon I have. I’m an overlapper."

And yet, even knowing this, who could resist her? She has so much going for her. She makes a mean tortilla soup. She’s highly intelligent and a voracious reader, especially about Mexican history; her last book read was Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, by Rodolfo Acuna. She is willing to suffer for her man and is, in the modern way, completely clean and shaven down there. "It’s a Brazilian wax — everything’s off," she says one day. "Oh, it’s extremely painful, and the first time I had it done, I thought I was going to pass out. And the woman wants to conversate with you. I’m like, ‘I’m good, I’m good!’ It’s quite an experience, let me tell you." Plus, she’s aware of certain of her shortcomings and is entirely willing to work on self-betterment. "Like I told you, my favorite thing is missionary. Positionally, I’m pretty boring, so I’ve got to learn more — I’m afraid to even say it — is it tricks?" As well, let’s say you’ve had a hard day in the salt mines and are too tired to perform — she’s entirely capable of taking care of herself. In fact, the best sex she had last year was, she says, "probably with my vibrator. I own two. I have the rabbit, which I give as a gift to other girls all the time, because the best gift to give is an orgasm. If I can’t do it for you, I’ll give you the tools to succeed. I have a rabbit and a pocket rocket."

OK, so maybe that’s not too comforting a thought. And yet, for the less energetic, it’s probably a blessing, if for no other reason than, orgasmically, she’s been pretty late in coming but is now hellbent and on a roll. "I didn’t have my first one until I was twenty-five or twenty-six. It was that recent. Before that it was like, ‘I think I did.’ But when I finally did have one, I was like, ‘What’s going on with my body? Ohhhh. Heyyyy. Oh, my God!!!!!’ And I’m becoming more orgasmic with age. Which is awesome. I can’t wait till I’m forty. If it keeps increasing this way — watch out, world!"

Conversely, she has an unfortunate yen for Sally Field movies. "I love Sally Field movies!" she barks. "I love Soapdish! I’ve seen it, like, eighty times!!!!!" Also, the only time her bed gets made is when the housekeeper makes it, during her Thursday visits; otherwise it’s a mess, as is the rest of her house. "Huh, that’s interesting" — she tends to say that a lot. Also, she sometimes uses the word "dude," as in, over a bowl of tortilla soup at the ultraswank restaurant in the Hotel Bel-Air, "This isn’t very good tortilla soup, I have to tell you. Mine is, like, a hundred times better," she says. "Dude, we picked a dud!" Plus, historically, the kind of guys she has gone out with — "I’m attracted to damaged boys who have a severe flaw in them. I find it attractive. I find it real" — might be the kind of guy you are, whether you know it or not. She owns a jacket made special by the public appearance on it of the phrase fuck you, and owns a pair of shoes displaying the same sentiment: fuck you. She says things like, "I don’t regret anything I do." Through a mouthful of sea bass, she’ll say, "Do you mind that I’m eating with my mouth open?"

So that’s pretty much how she stacks up. A risk-assessment expert might suggest running the other way, but Eva herself thinks she makes for a pretty great girlfriend. "I think I’m incredibly giving. I’m a caretaker, a farmer. I like to plant seeds and watch them grow. I’m a girly girl and love surprises and leaving notes. I send flowers." She pauses for a moment. "But one thing that’s sad about me is, I’m impatient and have a hard time enjoying the moment. I’ve had times when I do for, like, a millisecond. But then I immediately get that panic inside of me saying, ‘You need to do something!’ Move on," she says. "Move on."

ERIK HEDEGAARD

 

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