Eva Longoria may have left Wisteria Lane, but the "Desperate Housewives" actress has forged a new path. Longoria served as a co-chair of President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign and has become a passionate advocate for Latino causes through her eponymous charitable foundation. She's also been busy working with Ron Howard to direct a short film for Canon’s Project Imaginat10n and partnering with Lay's for its “Do Us A Flavor” contest. We caught up with Longoria to discuss snacking habits, first kisses and what she really looks for in a date.
What potato chip flavor would you like to create?
I used to eat pickles with potato chips, and when I started this campaign, I said, you know what would be great? Dill. And they said, yeah, we have that. I like Dill, I like Salt & Vinegar. I like Chile Limon. They have all the ones I would've created. We had some pretty tame submissions, compared to other countries. Japan had fish eggs, Egypt had shrimp, and New Zealand had cajun squirrel. The ingredient submitted the most in America was bacon.
What's your typical diet like? Do you really eat potato chips?
I do. I don't have a sweet tooth. I don't really like candy and cookies. I like salty things -- chips, olives, nuts. I'm pretty good with my diet. Usually I go on a month or two of a cleanse of some sort -- no sugar, no carbs.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Potato chips. I’m not just saying that. I remember every step of my life having some Lay's brand in it. My first kiss, I always remember, because the guy I kissed ate Cheetos, and he had Cheeto breath and I remember the taste of Cheetos. And that's my memory of my first kiss.
Valentine's Day is this week. What’s your dating deal-breaker?
Probably ignorance. I guess what I like in a good date, I love people with a great vocabulary. I really get fascinated when I hear new words and I’m like "Ooh, that’s a fun word!" I look things up and I’m like, hmm, I’m going to use that.
What have you learned from past relationships that's changed your approach to dating?
I’m no longer jealous in my life. Jealousy’s a form of wasted energy, that’s one thing I’ve learned. And patience. Also, when you’re younger, you’re not your true self yet. And if you’re dating somebody that age as well, they’re not evolved yet, to the human being they’re supposed to be. So, I think now you have an appreciation for that process, and you understand people’s mistakes when you see where they are in their life.
You were active in President Obama's re-election campaign and have become a spokesperson for Latino causes. Do you feel it's your duty, as someone with such a large following?
I do all of my civic work because I was raised in these communites and they gave a lot to me. I started giving back to the special-needs community because my sister benefitted from so many programs that were in our community. I grew up with the Boys & Girls Club and LULAC and National Council of La Raza and applied for scholarships. So these are the organizations and communities that helped me evolve and grow as a person.
What's your focus for the coming year?
My foundation focuses on Latino education. That's what my thesis is on -- helping break the cycle of poverty through education and making sure Latinos reach their educational potential. We do that through a number of different programs, whether it's parental involvement or effective teaching strategies, curriculum change, college prep courses. I also have an arm that focuses on entrepreneurship -- making sure that Latinos have the tools to open up a small business, whether it's how to find capital, how to manage your business, how to apply for a small business loan. Latinos start businesses at six times the national average. So they’re one of the most driven, ambitious groups in this country.
Do you see more TV in your future, post "Desperate Housewives"?
I love the medium of television and I’ll definitely be back. I like the rhythm of working on television. I like going somewhere every day. I like seeing the same people. I like seeing the same crew. I like playing the same character. TV goes fast, so it's at my pace. I'm very efficient with my time and my days, so TV is conducive to that. But I love producing and directing, which I'm doing with my production company now. I like being behind the scenes, because it exercises a different muscle that you don't really use as an actor.
What's your hidden talent?
I can sew really well. I make dresses for my friends and my nieces. They’re starting to get to the age when they don't want to wear those dresses anymore. Now they're like, "Can you just go buy me a gift certificate?" But I make their Halloween costumes, I make their Easter dresses. I told my girlfriend who’s getting married that I’d make her wedding dress. She was like, “Please don’t.”
Your pal Mario Lopez recently lost a Super Bowl bet and had to streak. Have you ever lost a bet and had to do something crazy?
I did. My ex-husband and I bet on some soccer game. It was France versus Mexico. I just remember I lost and had to something, but I don’t remember what. No nudity involved.
Eva Longoria and chef Michael Symon introduce the three Lay's "Do Us A Flavor" contest finalist flavors at the New York Stock Exchange Feb. 12.