After eight years of portraying Dr. Maria Santos on the ABC daytime drama "All My Children," Eva La Rue was itching for a change. As much as she loved her character and daytime television, the grueling schedule of a soap star and the chilly east coast winters were getting to her.
So, La Rue packed up and ventured back to her native Southern California in search of a role on a primetime series or film. And with fate standing by her side, she quickly landed the role of Natalia Boa Vista, a lab specialist with a knack for grant writing, on the hit primetime series "CSI: Miami."
"I knew that it was time to move back to California, because this is where I'm from," the 41-year-old La Rue shares, reflecting back on her coast-to-coast transition. "My entire family is here and the majority of my friends are here, so I really wanted to come back. I just knew it was time to go and I knew that some way it would work out, so I took the big leap of faith."
La Rue was only back in her old California stomping grounds for six weeks when she got the call to audition for the CBS series. With a 6-year-old daughter, Kaya, at home, the actress says it was the ideal scenario.
"I could not have hoped for better," she says. "I didn't want something where there were 18-hour days. I wanted time for my baby as well. In all possible ways, it ended up being the most brilliant job for me."
However, the "most brilliant job" almost didn't happen. At the time CBS came calling, La Rue was still under contract as a co-host for E! Style Network's "Modern Girls Guide to Life." And sure enough, La Rue happened to have a commitment to shoot a final segment for the show in New Jersey on the very same day CBS wanted her to audition in L.A.
"I thought, 'Oh, this is so horribly unfair, but I guess if it's just not meant to be, it's not meant to be,' " she remembers thinking of the dilemma at the time.
So, La Rue went ahead shooting her final segment for Style, only to receive a call at the end of the day from CBS producers. They told her that the auditions had failed to produce what they were looking for, and asked if she could put herself on tape in New York the very next day.
Of course, La Rue ran over to CBS on a Friday and proceeded to have what she deemed a horrible beginning to the audition, thanks to the "foreign" language of the character she was reading for.
"They were all technical, all scientific, all a bunch of gobbly gook that did not make any sense to me," she recalls of her audition lines. "I thoroughly screwed up my audition so badly that the casting people, thankfully, erased each take that I did and did a new take. And on the fifth take, I actually got it right, and that was the version that they sent out."
Within a few days, La Rue was cast, solely on the merits of her initial taping.
"That never, ever happens for me," says La Rue, who is of Puerto Rican, French, Dutch and Scottish ancestry. "I'm the girl that drags behind the train at every audition. I'm the one that has to audition several times and go into the network, and then go into the studios, and then be put on hold, and then go in and be put on tape again.
"This was just one of those awesome, meant to be things — so serendipitous. It was lovely."