This fall on ABC's Desperate Housewives, Eva Longoria plays Gabrielle, an unhappy young trophy wife who's steaming up the sheets with her teenaged pool boy. But the 29-year-old actress — best known as jealous schemer Isabella on The Young and the Restless — feels anything but desperate these days. As part of an ensemble that includes Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross, Longoria says, "I love going to work. I pinch myself every day." Here, the ex-soap starlet talks about taking her shot at the big leagues.
TV Guide Online: Were you intimidated to suddenly find yourself working with those famous prime-time actresses?
Eva Longoria: I was terrified coming in! These women have been in prime time for a long time. Everybody knows Marcia's [Melrose Place] character, everybody knows Teri's [Lois & Clark] character. Everybody knows Felicity is a talented, talented actress [from Sports Night]. To be a part of that group is unbelievable. And it's turned out to be great fun.
TVGO: What attracted you to the show?
Longoria: It was one of the few shows that showcased females [as] complex, interesting characters, instead of just "the wife" or "the girlfriend" or "the hot chick" in the ensemble. And I like [that] all the characters are at an impasse.
TVGO: Why are the women "desperate"?
Longoria: We all thought a certain way of life was gonna make us happy, whether it was me marrying rich, Bree [Cross] being Martha Stewart, Lynette [Huffman] being a mom or Susan [Hatcher] being divorced. Even though the situations are heightened, the morals of these stories are very true to life: Be careful what you wish for because you may get it, and it just might not make you happy.
TVGO: There's a great scene in the first episode, where you mow the lawn in a glamorous party dress and heels in an effort to hide your affair. How was it shooting that?
Longoria: Awful. It was three in the morning, and it was freezing because it was March. That dress is beautiful but it's lace, and the heels kept getting caught on the dress. And the lawnmower is one of those old-fashioned ones, so it was so hard to use. But I loved that moment in the script. It's one of those moments that's gonna make this show, you know? She's so desperate, thinking, "What the hell am I gonna do? How am I gonna solve this problem? I need to solve it now in any way possible. And if that means mowing the lawn in four-inch heels, so be it."