We first fell in love with Eva Longoria as the feisty Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives. Now, the actress and star of our August issue, currently on newsstands, is working behind the camera, creating and producing—as well as starring in—a new comedy for NBC called Hot & Bothered, set to premiere next year. So with a career as enviable as hers, we wondered, what's the best advice she has ever received?
"My parents said, 'If you're going to do something, do it well,'" Longoria told us at her cover shoot at a private estate in Oyster Bay, N.Y. "I knew I was going to be successful at whatever I did, whether I was going to be a dentist, lawyer, in Corporate America, or an actor. I knew I would be disciplined because of the work ethic they taught me."
And though she didn't discover her Hollywood calling until after she graduated college, it was the determination that she learned early on that helped her thrive in the cutthroat entertainment industry. Starting as an extra on set, "I got one line and then two lines—and now here I am," she says. But a life in the spotlight still has its challenges. "I get nervous every time I speak in public," she shares. "You have to know your audience, be mindful of the time, and always end it sooner than you think."
The star, who turned 40 this year, also got candid about the perks of aging. "Your mind is the best thing about getting older," she says. "The evolution of your wisdom, the lessons you've learned, and the failures you've made. I love being in my 40s. I wish I had my 20-year-old body, but I do love my 40-year-old mind!"
For more from Longoria, watch the video above, and to read her full interview, pick up the August issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.