By Bonnie Siegler
Photography by John Russo
With her exotic wholesomeness and friendly smile, at first glance Eva La Rue doesn’t look like a diva, nor does she walk or talk like one. However, this Emmy nominated actress is proud to admit that she is, in fact, just that. The actress who portrays practical, analytical and organized forensic lab specialist Natalia Boa Vista on the über-popular CBS drama CSI:Miami has even started her own society with the launch of Eva’s Divas in Hollywood, an organization that educates women across the United States about ovarian cancer. The primetime star has a very personal connection to the cause, having lost both her grandmother and great-grandmother to the disease.
As the spokesperson for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, La Rue is well educated about the major issues that make this form of cancer so difficult to fight. “Unfortunately,” she says, “there are no precursor markers for this disease and no tests like pap smears. The problem with ovarian cancer is that 20,000 women will be diagnosed with it this year [in the U.S.] and because of the late diagnosis, 80% of these 20,000 women will die. It’s very deadly, not because of the disease itself, but because of the advanced stage in which women catch it.”
Common risk factors of the disease include genetic predisposition, personal or family history of breast, ovarian or colon cancer and infertility. If you have symptoms, La Rue recommends that you ask for a CA-125 test, a blood test that measures levels of a protein normally confined within a cell. “Don’t hesitate or wait because early detection is the key.” While genetics are cause for concern, they are not weighing heavily on La Rue. She has found joy and bliss with her CSI role, motherhood to seven-year-old daughter, Kaya, and her upcoming wedding to businessman Joe Cappuccio. “I’m being pulled in a million directions now,” she says with a laugh, “but there’s always the stress of trying to balance spending enough quality time with Kaya, working, charity commitments and things like that.”
So when stressed to the max, where does she head? “I hit the malls and eBay, unfortunately,” she admits. “They are my main sources of relaxation. It’s the only time I’ll give myself in the day to go and be alone, shop, veg out and think. I read an article that said statistically women blink less when they’re shopping because we enter a bit of a trance … so there is some cathartic, therapeutic [elements to] shopping.”
It’s clear this California-born actress is no diva — at least in the traditional sense — and certainly no bimbo. In fact, La Rue is a serious person who tends to read just as many health and relationship reports as scripts. “I’m going to sound like the statistic queen here, but I also read a study that said in couples who were married for a while, the women had more health problems than the men. I think what happens in a marriage is the wife becomes a mother, a soccer mom, the chauffeur, gofer, housekeeper, cook, maid and everything else, whereby in her single life, she wasn’t any of those. Taking on 15 jobs and the stress alone can deteriorate your health. I think being in love is one thing and being in a marriage with a lot of kids is yet another.”
This year has been a whirlwind of romance after meeting Cappuccio through a friend. “We were inseparable ever since we met,” gushes La Rue. After two failed marriages to actors John O’Hurley and John Callahan, La Rue is quite relieved that her new fiancé is not in show business. “We travel quite a bit together and that really balances out my day-to-day lifestyle. Travel helps me come back to my everyday life with a renewed perspective. When I get a chance to travel, it really helps keep me grounded because I so hunger to see and get another perspective of life from various parts of the world.” In fact, La Rue’s intimate June marriage will take place in Mexico.
While romance adds to La Rue’s longevity and retail therapy reduces daily stress, she also takes pilates and yoga classes for exercise and rejuvenation. At 5’7”, the actress would like to get back down to 120 pounds, which she achieved a year after having Kaya. “Since then and the divorce, my move from New Jersey back to California and everything else, I definitely crept back up the scale a bit. I would be happy if I got anywhere near that weight again before I get married.” To help her trim up, La Rue attends regular weight training classes. “I now know that at 41, I’m losing muscle mass and it’s said the more muscle you have, the more calories and fat you actually burn, so I’m trying to do more muscle toning. I wish I could say I’m better at a routine, but I try and squeeze it in when I can; the weight work is usually two days and I add something fun like horseback riding or dancing once a week. I grew up as a dancer so I’ve always been into that. That’s why pilates is so good for my body. That and yoga definitely are relaxing and both have a more zen-type feeling than working out with weights.” A healthy diet supports La Rue’s workout routine and general well-being. Lately she has also been drinking two ounces of pomegranate juice every morning, following in her heart-healthy father’s footsteps. “My father had to have three out of four arteries cleared out and he actually started incorporating a lot of holistic and herbal medicine afterwards,” she says. “He learned that pomegranate juice is like a cholesterol scrubber and lowered his bad cholesterol 30%. So I try to drink it everyday — sometimes with a martini and sometimes straight up,” she laughs. La Rue’s daily supplements include vitamin C, a multivitamin and astragalus, a herb that protects and supports the immune system. “The taste of astragalus is horrifying, but I really feel it lessens the severity of a cold or flu, especially at the onset.” Nutritional staples include ezekiel bread, protein and fresh veggies. “I love the taste of ezekiel bread, which is wheat free but still has a delicious grain taste to it. Lately my snack downfalls are the fat-free Lays baked potato chips and now they bake Cheetos, which is awesome.” La Rue is normally diligent about eating organically, especially when it comes to meat. She also makes sure to buy pesticide- and hormone-free items, including fruits and vegetables. “Again,” she laughs, “I’ve read studies where young girls are growing breasts and have early onset of periods due to hormones in foods.” La Rue is also teaching her daughter Kaya about living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and the pair recently teamed up on a public service announcement for The Sierra Club. “[It’s] about being more aware of the earth and what we, as parents, are leaving behind for our children,” she says. “Even if you do the simplest of things like teaching your children to recycle, you are going to lessen your carbon footprint. Kaya is coming home from school teaching me about reusing, recycling and being more aware of our environment.” The lessons have paid off and La Rue’s home is becoming greener by the day. Fuel-efficient cars have replaced gas-guzzlers. Compact fluorescent light bulbs “that look like a DNA strand” have replaced regular light bulbs. “If every person changed their light bulbs for these compact fluorescent bulbs,” says the actress/amateur statistician, “it would be the equivalent of taking two million cars off the highways.” Despite her sexy, exotic image thanks to her Puerto Rican, French, Dutch and Scottish ancestry, the CSI: Miami star is in fact one wholesome cookie who still remains close to her parents and dresses up her dog for Halloween. Aside from her daughter, who brings her instant happiness, La Rue finds delight in the small things in life. “If I find a great parking space or hit the freeway when there’s no traffic, I’m happy. If I don’t find a great parking space, that’s okay and I won’t dwell on it, but when I do, I’ll sit there for a second and say `wow, this is a great day.’ It’s all in your attitude because if you keep a positive outlook on life, you’re on top of things.” And it seems like this non-diva diva is sitting on top of the world right now.