CANNES — Behind the scenes of L’Oréal’s first Brush Contest, which is to air on YouTube on June 11, Eva Longoria takes turns between power naps in a leopard-printed fauteuil and bringing the crew to its knees with her jokes, signature laugh and shrewd comments about anything that is happening on the set, arranged in the basement of the Hotel Martinez in Cannes.
She is the host of the show yet surprisingly she admits: “I’m good at it, but I don’t like doing it,” she says, as she is kicking off her Christian Louboutin heels and exchanges them for a pair of comfy lambskin slippers.
This is her tenth year as a spokeswoman for L’Oréal Paris and it’s likely she will stay on board for at least another ten.
“Eva is the third longest serving L’Oréal spokesperson, after Aishwarya Rai, who has been with us for 12 years, and Andie Macdowell, our ambassador of 30 years,” said Cyril Chapuy, global brand president at L’Oreal Paris.
Longoria’s assets are, according to Chapuy, what has driven the company to prolong her contracts. “She is connecting extremely well with consumers around the globe, she speaks to the camera and is very open. We don’t want our mega-stars to be divas and distant with the audience.”
“Also,” he notes, “she is more than 40, but an incredibly beautiful woman, and we do sell beauty.”
Between takes and a pink storied cake decorated with lipsticks and the number ten on it, the “Desperate Housewives” star caught up with WWD to talk TV, make-up and her roots.
WWD: What has changed in the last decade, since you joined L’Oréal Paris?
Eva Longoria: Everything. When you look at the commercials we did years ago, you wouldn’t even recognize the company. It progressed into a fashion-forward direction. It made makeup cool again, and edgy and young and hip. For so long, there was a style associated with L’Oréal that needed updating, but in the last five or six years there has been a diversity of thought and product we had never thought of before: Contouring kits and ombré hair kits, and you’re like: ‘What?!’ They are not only keeping up with the trends but setting them.
WWD: Can you immediately tell a good makeup artist from a bad one?
E.L.: Oh, I can spot a good hairdresser and a good makeup artist from a mile away. I can tell by the tools that they use and their products. There are techniques and styles that are modern. It’s not just the look but the way they apply makeup to the skin. Everybody can do a smoky eye and lashes, but it takes a real artist to do skin, whether it’s for the red carpet or an editorial. [And as for] hairdressers: Do they use round brushes, do they blow you out before they straighten you, are they applying product before the blowout? And are they creative and bringing their own vision to the canvas of your face or hair?
WWD: You grew up as the youngest of four sisters. When did you take in makeup?
E.L.: I started with my watercolors at three years old (laughs). I would paint my face blue on my eyes, red on my cheeks and lips. I would steal my mother’s lipstick, she always bought the red L’Oréal lipstick, and I remember the scent of it. I wanted to eat it, because it smelled so good. It was Color Riche, which I think is celebrating 30 years today. Growing up with older sisters, too, you always want to grow up faster: They were wearing makeup, I wanted makeup; they colored their hair, I wanted color on my hair; they were wearing the cool Madonna style, I wanted to wear Madonna style – even if it wasn’t age-appropriate (laughs).
WWD: What is your beauty routine?
E.L.: I went through a whole natural phase where I was just into tinted moisturizers. Now I’m more into a whole-face makeup – that’s who I am. Still, my beauty routine focuses mostly on skincare, using moisturizer and sunblock every day. I’m very much into serums as opposed to creams,because my skin absorbs them better, and I wash off my makeup every day, which is important. The skin you take care of in your 20s is the skin you will have in your 40s, and so I spend a lot of time putting a lot of sunblock on my face. People are like: ‘Oh you’re not going to the beach,’but I [do it] going from my home to my office.
WWD: Your good looks are part of your job. Do you sometimes ponder what will happen 20 years down the road?
E.L.: I’m lucky to have good genetics and great olive skin,so the process is not taking its toll on me – yet! That’s not to say I won’t have thoughts on it when it happens, but it’s not on the forefront right now. And I am welcoming it. I associate aging with wisdom, so the more wisdom I gain, the better.
WWD: I hear you are filming a new show?
E.L.: I’m going back to TV this year. I’ll be on a new comedy called “Hot and Bothered.” It will air in January on NBC, just finished shooting. I play a soap star, a big diva who is on a Spanish soap but doesn’t speak Spanish. It’s really funny. Her ex-husband comes back in the pilot and causes a bunch of havoc in the workplace, which is behind the scenes of a telenovela.
WWD: Lots of makeup, I imagine?
E.L.: Looots of makeup (laughs).