Eva Mendes: Hitch a rising star
Eva Mendes knew she would make it big, but she didn't think it would happen so fast
By LIZ BRAUN, Toronto Sun
One of Eva Mendes' first jobs in show business was appearing in a music video for Will Smith. "He didn't remember me," says Mendes, who is on the phone from New York. Mendes laughs as she explains how she calmed herself before a big meeting with Smith by assuming their previous work together would stand her in good stead.
"I'm sitting there thinking that since I did his video a few years ago, it should all be okay. After we talked a while I realized he didn't even remember I was in it! So I brought it up, and he was, like, 'Oh, I remembered,' but he didn't. To this day he says, 'I do remember! I do!' "
Mendes is getting a manicure as we speak, multi-tasking like mad before the premiere of Hitch. The actress, who dropped out of college to pursue acting, has never had stars in her eyes. Her career is red-hot now, but of that Mendes says, without vanity, "I always had high hopes for myself. This didn't happen by accident."
She adds, "I didn't think it would be this soon, though."
Mendes, 30, got her first role in Children of the Corn 5.
"When I saw it, I thought I was so bad. I was so ashamed. With that movie, obviously, you could only do so much, but I thought, 'If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right. I don't want to have to squirm when I see myself.' "
She got an acting coach and worked hard.
"And then when I did Training Day, I felt something happening outside of myself. When I worked with Denzel Washington, I thought, 'This is what people meant about acting.' "
Since her debut in 1998, Mendes has been in 16 movies, including 2 Fast 2 Furious, All About the Benjamins, Out of Time, Stuck On You and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. This year she'll appear in Trust the Man, a Bart Freundlich film that also stars David Duchovny, Ellen Barkin and Freundlich's wife, Julianne Moore. She also stars in the Wilson Brothers' project, The Wendell Baker Story, and will be seen next year opposite Nicolas Cage in Ghost Rider, based on the comic book.
At the moment, the Cuban-American actress is part of a huge Revlon cosmetics ad campaign along with Julianne Moore, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry and Kate Bosworth.
"When I was younger, Cindy Crawford was like a role model for me," she says. "Most supermodels at that time were blue-eyed and very unlike myself. When Crawford came out, that was closer to me and my friends and we looked up to her so much.
"You know, when you're that age, 14, 15, it's all about perception and about how people look at you. And she was a Revlon face at one time. I don't want to sound cheesy, but hopefully I'm a role model for young girls now."
She mentions the everywoman appeal of Revlon. "When I was growing up I bought my makeup at the local drugstore. Not every girl gets to shop at the big, glossy department stores. There's a certain girl who doesn't grow up in Beverly Hills."
Don't you just love her?
Mendes is busy, she says, but also doing "girlie stuff" in preparation for the premiere.
"I have to learn to enjoy the process a bit more," she says, somewhat wistfully. "The nails, the hair, the fussing -- it's more like work."
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