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Eva Longoria may have lost her main gig now that “Desperate Housewives” has ended, but don’t expect the actress to wait by the phone. As if shooting movies, hitting the political campaign trail and completing her master’s degree were not enough, Longoria is about to become a dating guru, thanks to “Ready for Love,” the show she is executive producing for NBC this fall.
WWD caught up with the 37-year-old in Cannes, France, where she walked the red carpet as brand ambassador for L’Oréal Paris and held a fund-raiser with songwriter and philanthropist Denise Rich for their respective charities, The Eva Longoria Foundation and Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research. Longoria worked a decidedly casual look as she sat on the rooftop terrace of the L’Oréal lounge at the Hotel Martinez, dressed in a coral Elie Saab blazer that she paired with cream shorts.
WWD: How are you finding life after “Desperate Housewives”?
Eva Longoria: In the moment of doing the last episode, it was bittersweet, it was very emotional to leave this family I’ve had for eight years, our crew and our cast. It was really heartbreaking to know I would never play Gabby again. I mean, all of that was really sad, but at the same time, I’m so excited to turn the page and embark on this new journey of my career, of my life. You know, “Desperate Housewives” [was] all-consuming. It’s year-round filming. It’s always in L.A., you don’t have time to travel, you don’t have time to do movies, you don’t have time to do anything else. So now, I feel like a free bird.
WWD: It’s amazing to see the progression from when you started on the show eight years ago, because you are now active on so many different fronts, including producing your own shows.
E.L.: I’ve been producing for the last four years, but this is the first development season that we’re actually having some great progress going all the way. I’m producing the show “Ready for Love” with NBC, which is a dating show that is a contemporary take on relationships and how to find that authentic match. So I’m really excited about that one.
WWD: What’s different about this dating show?
E.L.: This one is more than girls and guys coming on a show trying to find love. We use three professional matchmakers and we have three potential grooms who want to be authentically matched up and want to find the one. And also, we only work with guys who are really ready. I mean, they are ready for this step.
WWD: You’ll also be helping President Barack Obama on his reelection campaign. Why is it important for you?
E.L.: I’ve always been politically active, even before I was famous, and so for me it’s just a natural extension of what I’ve always done. This is one of the most important elections of my lifetime, specifically being a woman and being Latina. The policies have disproportionately affected those two communities. He’s doing a great job advancing women’s rights, and advancing women’s access to health care and women’s access to higher education. Same thing with the Latina community. So I think it’s going to be a pretty clear choice, when the election comes around, of who is for the middle class, who is for women, and who is for Latinas.
WWD: You are also trying to complete a master’s degree. Is that right?
E.L.: I am completing my master’s degree. I’m already done with my course work. I just have my thesis left.
WWD: What is your subject?
E.L.: Chicano studies, which is Mexican-American studies, with an emphasis on political science.
WWD: How will you ever find the time to work on a thesis?
E.L.: I know, this is the question! It’s very time-consuming. I have to finish it by December, so hopefully I’ll be working on it this summer.
WWD: On top of that, you have several movies coming out. I hear your upcoming political thriller, “The Truth,” is about a whistle-blower.
E.L.: Forest Whitaker is my husband, and he’s the whistle-blower. But I’m his wife, so we’re kind of on the run. We shot in the Dominican Republic, we shot in Toronto, we shot in the jungle. It was a lot of fun. I shoot an AK-47 — it’s definitely not Gabby!