The Robinson Library
The Robinson Library >> Linguistics, Languages, and Literatures >> Dramatic Arts >> Biography: United States
Eva Mendes

movie and commercial actress

Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes was born to Cuban-American parents in Miami, Florida, on March 5, 1974. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 10, and she graduated from Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale in 1992.

Eva was a marketing major at California State University Northridge until a Hollywood casting agent happened to see her photo and encouraged her to pursue an acting career. Initially reluctant, she decided to take the agent's advice and dropped out of college in favor of acting classes in 1997. Her career began with appearances in music videos, including Will Smith's Miami and Aerosmith's Hole in My Soul. Her first major acting role came in 1998, in the direct-to-video film Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror. During this period she also starred in several other movies, such as A Night at the Roxbury (1998), Mortal Kombat: Konquest (1998), My Brother the Pig (1999) and Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000).

Mendes first caught the public's eye with a nude scene she did while playing Denzel Washington's wife in the film Training Day (2001). The publicity generated by that appearance prompted Revlon Cosmetics to make Mendes their international spokeswoman in 2002. That work has allowed her to help raise money for research into women's cancers, a cause she has become deeply involved with.

After Training Day, Mendes appeared in a string of successful movies, including All About the Benjamins (2002), Out of Time (2003), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), and Stuck on You (2003). In 2005 she teamed up with Will Smith in Hitch, the first hit romantic comedy to feature minority actors in lead roles. That movie was followed by The Wendell Baker Story (2005), Trust the Man (2006), Ghost Rider (2007), and We Own the Night (2007), among others. In 2007, Cosmopolitan named Mendes its Fun Fearless Female of the Year. The next year, Calvin Klein tapped her as its new face and body in its sexy and provocative ads.

In 2008, Mendes checked herself into Utah's Cirque Lodge rehab center for undisclosed issues. She resumed her film career later that same year, appearing in The Spirit (2008), The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009), The Other Guys (2010), Fast Five (2011), and Girl in Progress (2012).

A long-term relationship with filmmaker George Augusto ended in the late 2000s, but since September 2011 Mendes has been dating actor Ryan Gosling.

Biography Channel

Miami, Florida
Los Angeles, California

Questions or comments about this page?

The Robinson Library >> Linguistics, Languages, and Literatures >> Dramatic Arts >> Biography: United States

This page was last updated on 09/22/2017.