Eva Mendes is an American actress. She began acting in the late 1990s, and became known after a series of roles in several major Hollywood films, including 2 Fast 2 Furious, Hitch, Training Day, Ghost Rider, and We Own the Night.
Mendes was born in Miami, to Cuban parents and was raised in Los Angeles by her mother after her parents' divorce; Mendes has said that her mother "suffered so much to make my life OK" during her early years. Her father was a car salesman and her mother, also named Eva, is now an elementary school principal. She is the youngest of four children (she has two sisters and a brother). She was raised Roman Catholic and aspired to be a nun. As a child, Mendes was teased about her "buck teeth".
Mendes never saw herself as an actress while she was young and decided to pursue other interests. She attended Hoover High School in Glendale and later attended California State University, Northridge to study marketing, but dropped out after wanting to begin an acting career. She studied with Ivana Chubbuck.
One day she caught the eye of an agent who convinced her to pursue acting more steadily. Mendes worked her way up through commercials to music videos, including an appearance in Will Smith's video "Miami" and the Pet Shop Boys music video for "Se a vida é (That’s the way life is)" in 1996 and Aerosmith's video "Hole in My Soul" in 1997, to guest roles in soap operas and supporting film roles. Her first film appearance was in the direct-to-video Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror.
She received her first big-screen break when she appeared in the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Training Day. That performance led to roles in Stuck on You, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and as the female lead in the comedy Hitch opposite Will Smith. Her role in Once Upon a Time in Mexico also gave her a nomination at the Teen Choice Awards. Mendes has also been in commercials for Gushers, Revlon, and Levi's. Mendes costarred in Ghost Rider with Nicolas Cage, and most recently starred alongside Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, and Robert Duvall in the film We Own the Night.
Along with acting, Mendes is employed by Revlon Cosmetics as an international spokeswoman. She joins such elite actresses and models as Julianne Moore, Halle Berry and Cindy Crawford, who appear in Revlon's television and print ads. She is also a passionate supporter and active participant in Revlon's fight against breast cancer.
"Maxim" ranked her #7 in its 2007 Hot 100 issue. Mendes also made her second Maxim cover in the November 2007 issue.
Mendes, despite resisting offers from Playboy, appeared naked in Flaunt Magazine. Although her breasts weren't exposed, readers did get to see her bare back and buttocks. Mendes said about the shoot, "I actually did a little nude shot. You won't see anything. I was covering myself... but I love 'Flaunt.' I think their artwork is some of the best artwork out there as far as photography is concerned, so I took it off. I felt really comfortable, it was fun. There's something really liberating about it." She also appeared nude in an ad for Calvin Klein's Secret Obsession perfume.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) used a nude photo of Mendes for their anti-fur campaign alongside the tagline "Fur? I'd rather go naked." Mendes is also a spokesmodel for the 2008 Calendar of Campari, inspired in fairy tales, by photographer Marino Parisotto.
In 2008, Mendes starred in The Women, a comedy ensemble film featuring Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Debra Messing. The film, which was produced by Victoria Pearman and Mick Jagger of Jagged Films, Bill Johnson of Inferno Productions, and English, is being released by Picturehouse, a joint venture of HBO and New Line Cinema.
Mendes was voted as No. 4 in the 2008 edition of AskMen.com's Top 99 Most Desirable Women.
Eva Mendes posed topless with her breasts exposed for "Vogue Italy" in May, 2008.
Mendes was announced as the international face of Australia's 30 Days of Fashion & Beauty event in July 2008. She will make guest appearances in that country at the month-long festival in September.
On September 4th, 2008, Mendes announced she was launching a line of bed linens that will hit Macy's stores later in the month. In October, she will also be touring various Harrod's stores across Europe to promote Calvin Klein's Seductive Comfort line of lingerie.
Mendes is in negotiations to star in the American remake of acclaimed Mexican film Y Tu Mamá También. She is also rumored to star in Last Night with Keira Knightley,Sam Worthington and Guillaume Canet.
She also appeared in the music video The End Has No End by the Strokes.
In early 2008, Mendes was reported to have been in a rehab facility in Utah for several weeks. In a statement, her representative said that she had been "working hard for the past year and made a positive decision to take some much-needed time off to proactively attend to some personal issues that, while not critical, she felt deserved some outside professional support. Out of respect for Eva's privacy, we do not wish to discuss further details."
Mendes is in a long-term relationship with producer George Gargurevich.
In 2008, she was outspoken in her support for Barack Obama for President of the United States.