Eva Longoria Bastón on Life after Finding Her Soul Mate & How She's Channeling Her Celebrity for Greater Causes

By Ingela Ratledge | October 28, 2016 | People Feature

Long a Hollywood icon on screen, actress-turned-philanthropist-turned-producer and now fashion designer Eva Longoria Bastón finds peace and tranquility in love, marriage, and quick jaunts to the Magic City.

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Lady O collar necklace, Alexis Bittar ($295). Saks Fifth Avenue, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-1100. 18k yellow-gold Tao necklace, Aurélie Bidermann ($1,080). The Webster, 1220 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-7899. 14k yellow-gold diamond bangle ($28,980) and 14k white-gold black diamond bangle ($5,783), Effy Jewelry. Macy’s, Lincoln Road Mall, 1675 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-6300. 34mm stainless-steel and mother-of-pearl Eva Longoria Collection watch, TechnoMarine ($450). Invicta, Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., 305-690-7398. Silver molten cuff, Jennifer Fisher ($915).

Eva Longoria Bastón isn’t the type to do merely one thing at a time. So it should come as no surprise, then, that her interview with Ocean Drive is taking place in an airport lounge. The busy 41-year-old star—whose portrayal of feisty bombshell Gabrielle Solis from 2004 to 2012 on ABC’s hit series Desperate Housewives made her a pop-culture fixture—is en route to Moscow, where she’ll be appearing on behalf of the beauty brand L’Oréal.

The spokesmodel gig represents just a tiny fraction of "Eva Inc.": Her ever-expanding job description also includes producer, director, restaurateur, philanthropist, and fashion designer for The Limited. "Acting didn’t make me feel like I was using my full potential as a human," she says of the evolution. "I’ve always been a super multi-tasker." Last May, she added yet another title to the list: wife. After a three-year courtship, Longoria tied the knot with José "Pepe" Antonio Bastón, the 48-year-old president of Televisa, Latin America’s largest media company.

The couple exchanged their sunset vows at his estate in the Mexican lakeside town of Valle de Bravo, as friends like Ricky Martin, Melanie Griffith, Mario Lopez, and Victoria Beckham—the bride’s closest pal and wedding dress designer—cheered them on. "Pepe and I are soul mates—I don’t even know how to explain it, because it’s like we’re two different sides of the same coin," says Longoria. "He’s compassionate, kind, handsome—he’s everything I wanted and didn’t even know I wanted."

Granted, it was a long journey figuring out what she didn’t want. Longoria has been divorced twice, first from General Hospital heartthrob Tyler Christopher in 2004, and then from NBA player Tony Parker in 2011. The latter split was splashed across the tabloids accusing Parker of infidelity. Still, Longoria denies that her past left her with any lingering trust issues.

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Suede vest, Roberto Cavalli ($2,105). Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-1749. Bodysuit, Fleur du Mal ($350). Eva Longoria overlaid A-line skirt, The Limited ($140). Dadeland Mall, 7535 N. Kendall Dr., Miami, 305-668- 0437. Necklace, Pluma ($455). 34mm stainless-steel and mother-of-pearl Eva Longoria Collection watch, TechnoMarine ($450). Invicta, Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., 305-690-7398

"No," she replies to questions about regrets. "I think every relationship is a path to where you are today. Every wrong turn led you to the spot where you are, so it wasn’t necessarily the wrong turn at the time. I wouldn’t change anything—never." Admittedly, the spot where she has found herself does sound worth the wait. "When Pepe and I met, I said I didn’t ever want to get married again," recalls Longoria. "He said, 'Great, me neither.' And here we are!" Bastón’s kids from his previous marriage—daughter Tali, 21, and 13-year-old twins Jose and Mariana—only sweetened the deal. "They are amazing children—I’m so happy to be part of their lives," she says.

Longoria is open to expanding the family further, but understandably reluctant to discuss the oft-broached topic of her pregnancy plans. "If it happens, it happens—if it’s meant to be, it would be a blessing," she says. In the meantime, she has her various nests to feather. Longoria and Bastón mostly alternate between Los Angeles and Mexico, although she would prefer to log more hours in the Magic City, a place they seem to end up often.

"If Hollywood were based in Miami, I would be in heaven. I love everything about it: what the humidity does for your hair and skin, all the Latin influences. You can get a café con leche on every corner!" she says. "In LA, I never go to the beach. Our place in Miami is on the beach, and it’s almost like it beckons you to come outside and exercise." She attributes her slim figure to a mix of Pilates, SoulCycle, and running—plus healthy, home-cooked meals like her go-to roast chicken and salad.

"There’s no secret formula—diet and exercise take work," she says. "I’ve always had a good metabolism, but at some point, everyone’s stops. For me, it was at around 35. You eat a bowl of pasta, and you’re like, 'Oh, this doesn’t just go away anymore.'" When she’s in Miami Beach, Longoria avoids driving around town, preferring to walk or bike to regular hangouts like SuViche on 16th Street.

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Jacket, Missoni ($2,550). Intermix, 634 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-531-5950. Brinkley swimsuit, Kopper & Zinc ($220). Nic del Mar, 475 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables, 305-442-8080. Sunglasses, Alain Mikli Paris ($405). Edward Beiner, 5817 Sunset Dr., South Miami, 305-661-1205. Origami necklace, Alexis Bittar ($295). Saks Fifth Avenue, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-1100. Bangles, Lynn Ban (price on request). Alchemist, Miami Design District, 140 NE 39th St., 305-640-5842. Platform sandals, Le Silla ($750).

"It’s amazing Peruvian ceviche and sushi—I probably eat there twice a day, and they know my order by heart," says Longoria. "My husband’s favorite restaurant in the world is Mr. Chow’s in Miami Beach. Not all Mr. Chow locations are created equal!" Her appreciation for the local flavors extends far beyond eateries. "Miami is such a diverse place—it’s beautiful that anywhere you go, you’ll hear different languages being spoken. It’s just really eclectic."

In case there were any doubt, Longoria places a premium on inclusiveness—which explains her decision to play such a prominent role in this year’s presidential election. “From the minute that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump announced their candidacy, it was clear to me that there’s only one person in the race who respects everybody,” she says. Longoria took the stage at the Democratic National Convention in July to convey that sentiment to millions of viewers. “It was the most nervous I’ve ever been,” she admits. “It’s a privilege and honor to have the entire country as an audience, so I thought long and hard about why anyone would want to hear from me.”

Well, maybe because she actually knows what she’s talking about: Longoria earned a master’s degree in Chicano Studies in 2013—she hails from Mexican ancestry—and runs a foundation that fosters education initiatives for Hispanic women. In other words, she’s the perfect choice to address Trump’s characterizations of her community.

"The fact that he uses the word 'Latino' to be synonymous with 'illegal' is a mistake," says the Corpus Christi, Texas, native. "I’m ninth-generation American—I’m way more American than Donald Trump!" While it’s obvious that Trump’s words—he’s been quoted referring to Mexicans as "criminals" and "rapists"—have stung, Longoria refuses to dwell. "I have to turn my offense and anger into a vote, not just complain about it," she says.

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Bill Mio swimsuit, Norma Kamali ($345). Big Drop NYC, 2321 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-532-8800. Earrings, Dori Csengeri ($375). Biella printed metal bracelets, Max Mara ($395 each). Miami Design District, 106 NE 39th St., 305-770-6200. Cuffs, House of Emmanuele ($199 each).

Unlike some Americans, Longoria didn’t become pro-Hillary simply by virtue of being anti-Trump. She’s with her—and seems perplexed by the negative refrains that have dogged Clinton. "I have no idea why people don’t find Hillary likable," she says. "I know her on a personal level, and she is one of the most likable, amazing, engaged, compassionate human beings. It’s a matter of pulling that out and letting everyone see it." Besides, wonders Longoria, why is Clinton’s likability—or lack thereof—dominating the collective conversation in the first place?

"I don’t want to go have a beer with Obama—I want him to run the country," she says. "I look for quality in a leader." Longoria has no trouble reading between the lines for possible motives behind the mud-slinging, either. "There’s a reason we haven't had a female president in our history," she says. "There is a gender bias in politics, in the workplace, and in the society—and to say there's not is very naïve."

As the old saying about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire goes—she did everything he did, except backwards and in high heels—the expectations for men and women are different. At this point, navigating the challenges of being a female in a power position is familiar territory for Longoria. "I don’t have a problem telling people if something’s not quite right, or course-correcting—but it has to be done in the right way," she says. "I’m cooperative, respectful, and very honest. Just because I’m a boss lady doesn’t mean I have to be a bitch."

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Coat, DSquared2 (price on request). Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-866-7880. Limited-edition Louxor necklace, Baccarat ($23,000). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 305-865-6161

She’s employed those skills to move seamlessly between careers: After Desperate Housewives’ final bow, she took a self-imposed breather from acting, serving as executive producer for four seasons of the Lifetime dramedy Devious Maids, among other behind-the-scenes projects. "In my head, I was always a director and producer—it’s in my nature to be in charge."

With her acting hiatus over—last season, she starred in the sitcom Telenovela, and has wrapped filming of the indie movie Refugio and the upcoming BBC miniseries Decline and Fall—these days Longoria enjoys taking turns on both sides of the camera. She also co-owns the restaurant Beso in Hollywood, and her latest endeavor, an eponymous clothing line for The Limited, launched in the fall. "That’s been a longtime dream of mine," she says. "A lot of people don’t know that I sew."

Putting herself out there on so many platforms poses a certain risk—but Longoria has thick enough skin to handle the accompanying scrutiny. "I learned this from Hillary Clinton: Take criticism seriously, but not personally," she says. "Whether it’s that someone doesn’t like a piece of clothing I design, or my acting, or my restaurant, it’s important to hear the complaint."

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Beaded fringe gown, Jonathan Simkhai ($11,950). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-6161. Idle ring, Eddie Borgo ($150). The Webster, 1220 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-7899

While Longoria has seemingly cracked the code for drowning out negative background noise, she acknowledges that for plenty of people—especially in the entertainment industry—that might not be so easy. "Luckily, I’ve never been on the receiving end of something really horrible, but a younger actor could be destroyed by the comments that you read online," she says, expressing gratitude that her own rise to fame pre-dated the era of ubiquitous Internet trolls and vulgar emojis.

"I’m glad that there was no Twitter or Instagram when Housewives started, for sure. It was definitely a different world back then. Social media can be overwhelming." Longoria’s approach to posting would be best described as strategic. Where does she land on the oversharing spectrum from, say, zero to Kardashian? "I don’t really have rules for myself—it’s just common sense," she says. "I have a very private husband, so I don’t really post with him, and of course I don’t post the kids for security reasons. But I share a lot, and I use it for charity and my clothing line. It’s a great tool when used correctly."

Recently, Longoria let fans behind the curtain by releasing some wince-inducing footage on Snapchat of herself undergoing tattoo removal. "Oh my God, it’s such a painful process, I needed to document it for people who are thinking of getting tattoos!" she says. She’d already had a few mementos from her marriage to Parker successfully zapped off, and was ready to erase the last remaining vestiges of ink, however innocuous. "It’s like, 'What was I thinking when I got this star on my wrist?'" she muses. "I removed all of my tattoos—I didn’t want them anymore"—proof that inside and out, Longoria is forging ahead with a clean slate.

Categories: People Feature

Potography by James White Styling by Emma Trask at Opus Beauty; Styling assistance by Cydney Griggs and Sara Medd; Hair by Robert Vetica for The Magnet Agency; Makeup by Elan Bongiorno for Exclusive Artists Management; Manicure by Sarah Chue for ABTP; Digital capture provided by DFLA

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