Eva queen of style
Eva Longoria is in Melbourne for the city's fashion festival. Picture: Julien Lutt / StoryBox

She is admired and envied as one of the world's most beautiful women but Hollywood bombshell and L'Oreal Paris global brand ambassador *Eva Longoria *insists that "a village of people" deserves the credit for her show-stopping sense of style.

"Oh God, I have a whole team that style me . . . a lot of people who care about what I wear," the Texan-born Latina laughs over the phone to _AAA _ from Melbourne.

"My style motto is comfort, so I have to feel comfortable in it both physically and mentally. I have to mentally feel comfortable in my skin carrying it off but I also have to physically feel comfortable. It can't be restrictive."

The former Desperate Housewives star is L'Oreal Paris' VIP special guest for this week's 2014 Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, joining the Australian face of L'Oreal Paris, Perth's own *Megan Gale *, in the front row at select events.

However, there is much more to this screen siren than the glamorous veneer of red carpets and runways.

The Golden Globe-nominated and three-time Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actress combines sass with serious smarts and is also a passionate philanthropist and activist.

Among her many charity achievements is establishing The Eva Longoria Foundation in 2010, with the goal to help Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education, entrepreneurship and support programs.

Longoria, who turned 39 last week, says she developed her sense of community and social justice while growing up as the youngest of four girls in the Texan coastal city of Corpus Christi.

"I grew up with a special-needs oldest sister . . . it meant we were very aware of organisations and community programs that benefited families and people who were different," she explains.

"Being one of those families who used community programs or volunteers, I knew what volunteer meant at a very early age."

In contrast to today's world of celebrity worship, Longoria instead looked within her own family for role models.

"I come from a family of a lot of women - nine aunts and four sisters. I really didn't have to look far," she says.

"Also, I didn't grow up with the culture of celebrity. We didn't have cable; we only had three channels and we didn't really go to the movies so that world wasn't really in the zeitgeist at the time.

"So I grew up looking up to women who were very close to me, educated, strong and empowering."

An accomplished producer, director and writer, Longoria also heads up her own production company, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, and recently wrote, directed and starred in short film Out of the Blue alongside Hollywood power filmmaker *Ron Howard *.

She also steered the documentary Food Chains, which screened at the Berlin International Film Festival last month and highlights the plight of migrant farm workers in the US.

"I like to use documentaries as a political tool for change," Longoria adds.

Among other projects keeping her busy are next month's US airing of the second season of TV dramedy Devious Maids (Longoria is executive producer and directs the season two premiere) and her casting in horror flick Visions, which she has just finished filming alongside *Perth * star *Isla Fisher *.

"Oh, Isla's amazing! She's so much fun," Longoria gushes.

As for Desperate Housewives - the show that shot her to international stardom a decade ago - Longoria says she never tires of being asked about her long-running spell as Gabrielle Solis on the hit series.

"I am so proud of that time in my life and it was actually 10 years ago almost to the day that we shot the pilot, so no, I celebrate it."

EMILIA VRANJES

'I have to

mentally feel comfortable in my skin carrying it off but I also have to physically feel comfortable. It can't be restrictive.'

The West Australian

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