By day she digs up evidence to solve some of the world’s craziest crimes, by night there’s nothing she fears more than her kid’s science homework. For Eva La Rue – CSI: Miami‘s sultry DNA analyst – splitting time between working on a hit prime-time show and raising seven-year-old Kaya is nothing short of exhausting. La Rue gives the dirt on faux wounds, universal prophets and looking for love as a single mom. – Christina Couch
CSI: Miami is in its eighth season. That’s a hell of a run. Has your daughter ever seen the show? Does she have any idea that her mom deals with fake dead people all day?
I don’t let her watch the show because it’s a little scary. It’s a little dark and people are always dead in the beginning and it’s a little gruesome but she does come to the set a lot. The hair and makeup department will always sit her in the chair and give her wounds or black eyes or scrapes so that she can see that it’s all pretend. She LOOOOOVES that. The only problem is that she walks around and says, “My mama did this to me.” I have to tell her “Hold on a second. That wasn’t quite the deal.”
You’ve got CSI going on, you’re a full-time mom and you’ve got music and charity projects on the side. How are you balancing it all?
It’s tough. Any mom who tells you that she does it effortlessly is not telling the truth. You feel like you’re never quite doing enough or giving 100 percent to one or the other. Something is always going to slide, so you kind of pick your spots. If it’s a really important episode, you give 100 percent of your attention to the episode and if it’s not, then you’re giving 110 percent to your kid and your life and the rest of your family.
Any advice for moms trying to do it all?
Forgive yourself. You’re always going to feel guilty about something. If there’s one piece of valuable information I wish I had in the beginning, it’s this – allow yourself the guilt. It’s okay. There’s no way around it.
So who are you taking your cues from? Who’s your parenting role model?
Nobody really. Nobody has it down and everyone’s struggling to keep the balance. There are people that look like they’re doing it brilliantly and maybe they are, but maybe they just look like that from the outside. Unfortunately if you measure yourself up against other people that look like they’re doing it well, you’re never going to feel like you’re doing okay. You’re always going to feel like you’re at a deficit.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
Navigating the single-mother waters with a little girl. I was engaged last year and Kaya was very attached to him and I really didn’t know how to walk her through the break-up. She didn’t get a say in that and yet she was pretty heart-broken. When someone gradually leaves your life, that’s one thing because you get used to the end of it. When somebody disappears, it takes all of your control away. It leaves you frantic and that [break-up] left her in a frantic space because she had no control over it.
How do you even begin to get through something like that with a kid?
I really lobbied for him a few months later to make contact with Kaya. He was great about it and the thing is, it really changed her. It put her back in the power position of saying “I’ll call him when I want to and he’ll talk to me and say he misses me and we’ll have a conversation that doesn’t include Mama at all.” As soon as she was able to have those conversations whenever she wanted to, she didn’t want to anymore. She controlled the situation again. A lot of my friends were against that. A lot of them said she’ll just get over it but she really wasn’t and she really needed to get closure herself.
Your daughter isn’t at an age where she can comprehend a painful break-up. How did you talk to her about it?
I made it a point to never say anything bad about him or Kaya’s dad. When people do that, they’re not hurting the ex, they’re just hurting the child. I want her to always think well of the people that are in her life and the people that she’s chosen to love. Otherwise you’re saying that the people she’s chosen to love are not good and that’s confusing. In the end, I didn’t tell her the truth. I told her that he couldn’t be in our life anymore because he needed to move away for work and that it was upsetting and heartbreaking but that was the situation. I didn’t know how to explain what was happening. It was too adult. Some people said that I should have just told her the truth, but why? To what end? What does that gain except for more confusion on her part?’ I thought that she would feel less hurt and less abandoned to know that he still loved us and was equally heartbroken that he couldn’t be with us.
How is dating now? “If somebody has never been married, they don’t know compromise.”
I’ve been dating somebody for about five months and what’s good is that he’s got two kids that are also Kaya’s age. We’ve definitely kept our lives more separate. She knows him and we spend time together with all the kids playing and hanging out and stuff, but it’s a friendlier relationship where there’s no chance of getting super attached to anyone.
Is it easier to date someone who already has children and who understands what goes into dating as a single parent?
I have a rule of thumb now and that’s that somebody has to have been married and they have to have had kids. Everything boils down to perspective. If your potential mate does not have the same perspective that you do then you’re going to be lost. If somebody has never been married, they don’t know compromise. They don’t know the pain of divorce, the self-healing or the therapy that it takes to get through a divorce. They don’t know how people can get in a divorce. Even if their friends have been through it, it’s not the same as going through it yourself. If they don’t have children, they don’t know the absolute self-sacrifice it takes and what it means to be a parent. Their perspective would not be the same as my perspective and it’s just too vast a difference.
Speaking of perspective, you’ve been very outspoken about joining the Baha’i faith. You must get a lot of questions about that.
Ha ha ha, yes. A lot of times people will tell me what they think it is, and I’m like “Wow, Where did you get that information?” It a nutshell, we believe in everybody’s prophets. All the prophets of God came to teach the same thing and that the only difference between Muhammad and Buddha and Moses and Jesus is that they came to different parts of the world, so there were different cultural laws, but the spiritual laws were the same. One planet and one people.
Has that influenced what you hope to teach Kaya?
I want to make sure she knows what charity is. Whatever money she gets, she puts some of it in our family’s donation jar we give away at Christmas time every year. We go to a shelter for battered women once a month with the Baha’i community and bring dinner. I think that’s good for her, because I want her to learn that we need to take care of other people who are not able to take care of themselves. I also wanted her to see that the people you help should also be helping themselves and that charity should always be a constant. It’s not just “Oh, let’s show up to a charitable event.” which of course there’s tons of when you’re a celebrity. You show up and you walk a red carpet, but to me that’s not necessarily giving back. I think that if you start teaching about giving back and helping other people young, that will be a given for your child their whole life. That’s what I really want for Kaya.