Eva Mendes (born March 5, 1974) is an American actress, model and homeware designer. She began acting in the late 1990s, and after a series of minor roles and performances in several smaller films such as Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998) and Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), she broke into the mainstream, appearing in leading roles in Hollywood releases, such as Training Day (2001); All About The Benjamins (2002); 2 Fast 2 Furious, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Stuck on You (2003); Hitch (2005); Ghost Rider and We Own the Night (both 2007); The Spirit (2008); Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009); The Other Guys and Last Night (both 2010).
Mendes is the creator of a home decor line, Vida, sold exclusively at Macy's. A bedding collection was launched in 2008 and a dinnerware collection was launched in 2010. She has also appeared as a model in advertisements for products including Revlon, Calvin Klein, Cartier, Magnum, Thierry Mugler, Reebok and Pantene. She is dating Ryan Gosling and lives in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Mendes was born in Miami, Florida to Cuban parents, and was raised in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale by her mother after her parents' divorce; Mendes has said that her mother (who was a stay-at-home mom until she became an accountant when Eva went to school) "suffered so much to make my life OK" during her early years. Mendes was raised a Roman Catholic and aspired to be a nun. She is also fluent in Spanish.
Mendes never saw herself as an actress while she was young and pursued 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 acting under Ivana Chubbuck.
Mendes appeared 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. Her first film appearance was in the direct-to-video Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror. In this period of her career, she also starred in A Night at the Roxbury, Mortal Kombat: Conquest, My Brother the Pig, The Disciples, Urban Legends: Final Cut and Exit Wounds.
Mendes' breakthrough role came when she appeared in Training Day as the wife of Denzel Washington's character. She had roles in All About the Benjamins, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Once Upon a Time in Mexico (which earned her a nomination at the Teen Choice Awards), Out of Time and Stuck on You.
She was the female lead in the 2005 comedy Hitch opposite Will Smith. She then starred in The Wendell Baker Story, Guilty Hearts, Trust the Man, Ghost Rider and Knocked Up.
In 2007, she starred alongside Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, and Robert Duvall in the film We Own the Night. She also starred in Live!, Cleaner, The Women, The Spirit, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, The Other Guys, Last Night and Fast Five.
In August 2010, Mendes appeared in a Funny or Die video spoof, selling her "S.E.X. tape". She also sang for the Funny or Die music video "Pimps Don't Cry," a song featured in The Other Guys, released on August 6, 2010.
Along with acting, Mendes is employed by Revlon Cosmetics as an international spokeswoman. She joins such actresses and models as Julianne Moore, Halle Berry and Cindy Crawford, who appear in Revlon's television and print ads. She is also a supporter and active participant in Revlon's campaign to raise funds for breast cancer research.
Maxim ranked Mendes #7 in its 2007 Hot 100 issue. She also made her second Maxim cover in the November 2007 issue. Maxim ranked Mendes #11 in its 2010 Hot 100 issue.
Mendes appeared nude in an ad for Calvin Klein's Secret Obsession perfume. Since there was exposure of her nipples in the ad, it was banned from airing in the United States.
In December 2007, 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.
Mendes was announced as the international face of Australia's 30 Days of Fashion & Beauty event in July 2008. She made guest appearances in that country at the month-long festival in September.
In October 2008, she toured various stores in Europe including Harrods to promote Calvin Klein's Seductive Comfort line of lingerie.