As the youngest of four sisters, Eva Longoria was known as “la prieta faya” (the ugly dark one) around her family’s Texas ranch. That nickname was rendered obsolete when she was crowned Miss Corpus Christi 1998 contest and sent to compete in an LA beauty pageant that she also ended up winning. She stayed in Southern California to work as a corporate headhunter and run the audition gauntlet. After guest spots on Beverly Hills, 90210 and General Hospital, she booked a two-year recurring role on The Young and The Restless in 2001. After a season on the under-performing L.A. Dragnet, ABC hired her again. This time she was one of the four leads and this time the Emmy-winning series, Desperate Housewives, was a mega-hit that ran for eight seasons. Onscreen as Gabrielle Solis, she courted her teenaged gardener, but offscreen it was Longoria getting the full-court press from San Antonio Spur Tony Parker after she attended an NBA game with her dad. The L’Oreal spokeswoman and two-time top-spot getter on Maxim’s Hot 100 won her first big award, A People’s Choice trophy for Favorite Female TV Star, in 2007. The same year she and Parker have two ceremonies in his native France to make their union legal. Three years after the lavish nuptials, amid rumors of his infidelity, she filed for divorce. Longoria, now a partner in several restaurants with chef Todd English and very involved in both Obama presidential campaigns, has since dated Penelope Cruz’s younger brother Eduardo Cruz and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.
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