Eva Longoria has been named Maxim’s Woman of the Year. On the scale of Actual Things, this is somewhere below a Nobel Prize but roughly the equivalent of any Golden Globe with the phrase “Comedy or Musical.” It’s entirely possible that you are a human person who could care less. Maxim as a magazine sort of stands for a very specific something: It’s one of those things about which you are either passively offended or vaguely nostalgic, depending on your perspective and whether you happened to be a teenage boy in the era immediately before the internet turned everyone naked all of the time.
Let’s overthink this for a second. Eva Longoria is 38 and looks, well, like Eva Longoria. She is also, I believe, the first Maxim Woman of the Year to be named Maxim Woman of the Year a few months after a glowing New York Times profile cast her as “a highly regarded political advocate.” She is also finishing her master’s degree. In fact, her profile features Longoria admitting that she had to reschedule her interview in order to present her master’s thesis.
Which means the profile features Eva Longoria saying this sentence: “My brain can’t jump that fast from a Maxim interview to a thesis!” I almost can believe the entire history of the world happened specifically to bring humanity to the point where that sentence was said aloud.
The master’s thesis is only the most obvious hint that Longoria is going Full Franco. She produced Devious Maids and is producing another sudsy-ish show on the horizon at ABC. She released a cookbook. She spoke at the Democratic National Convention. In the Times profile, she officially entered that rarified stratosphere of Actor Who Must Constantly Deny Political Ambitions, joining Warren Beatty and Ashley Judd and, well, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Steven Seagal.
In the interview Longoria just sounds happy to be on the cover again, and she reminisces about her “beautiful relationship” with Maxim, and she says that in high school she was a cheerleader and a band geek, which is the kind of thing you might usually sniff at if the person saying it were not a master’s candidate on the cover of Maxim. This could be meaningless, or it could be a snapshot of a moment: Maxim growing older, politics getting sexier, the complete destruction of any fragile archaic separation of high and low culture, the basic truism that if one has got it one ought therefore to flaunt it. It feels like a victory for everybody, except nobody knows what game we’re playing.