BIG CHIMNEY, W.Va. -- On Nov. 6, the phone jangled to life at 7 a.m. at Debra Vickers' house near Big Chimney. A very excited daughter was on the other end. She'd just learned Eva Longoria, former "Desperate Housewives" star, had been on "E! News" the night before and had shown a photo Vickers had taken.
Knowing the entertainment news program would be rebroadcast at 7 a.m., they scrambled to find the channel it was on. "Just as we found the channel, the story was coming on," Vickers said.
And that is how Vickers learned Longoria had just granted the 57-year-old West Virginia native her very own 15 minutes of national fame.
Longoria is one of several celebrity judges taking part in Canon's Project IMAGINAT10N, which solicited photographs nationwide for a filmmaking project led by director Ron Howard. Each judge was to pick 10 photos from the slew of entries as inspiration for an 8- to 12-minute film they'll direct and debut in 2013, mentored by Howard.
Among her choices, Longoria picked Vickers' photograph "Alli's Dream." The photo depicts Vickers' granddaughter, Allison Miller, playing dress-up in a veil while lying in a splash of sunlight on a carpet.
In the "E! News" interview, Longoria explained why the photo was a favorite and her reaction to it as the actress held the image up to the camera:
"From the time when we're this little, women are kind of socially constructed to have marriage and babies as the goal in their life. So, I think my movie is going to be the counter of this. Success is not defined on when or who you get married to."
Actually, it's not a wedding veil but a confirmation veil her granddaughter -- 5 years old at the time -- borrowed from a friend to play dress-up, said Vickers. "It looks like a wedding veil."
Vickers came out of her bedroom and saw Allison in the veil on the carpet. An enthusiastic amateur photographer, she ducked into her room to nab her Canon Rebel T1i, knowing she had only one chance to photograph her granddaughter unawares.
"At her age, the minute you snap the picture, they're up and posing," Vickers said.
"I had no control of the light coming in from the window shade. I stepped out from my bedroom, saw her and, as quiet as I could, got my camera and tried to set it for what I hoped would be the right setting. I had to step out and take it instantly. I didn't even get to take more than one. It was one quick picture."
Given Longoria's reaction to the photo, it's a tad ironic why it almost never saw the light of day -- let alone national TV. "I was going to frame it and have it given to her on her wedding day," Vickers said.
She said she could see how Longoria might take the picture to merely signify a girl dreaming of marriage. But that imaginative granddaughter might in the next moment be in a different outfit, dreaming of being the artist the little girl has said she hopes to grow up to be, she said.