Eva Mendes (born March 5, 1974) is an American actress and model.
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); 2 Fast 2 Furious, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Stuck on You (all 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 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 "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. As a child, Mendes was teased about her buck teeth.
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 the acting teacher, Ivana Chubbuck.
Eva Mendes @ 24 Hour Plays in Santa Monica