At age sixteen, she began her career as a fashion model, contracted with modeling agency Elite Model Management. For the next few years, she worked around the world for contracts such as with major companies, modeling for designers such as Calvin Klein and Levi's. When she was 17 years old, she was featured on the front cover of the July 1990 issue of the magazine Seventeen.  Acting Diaz at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio for the movie Gangs of New York. Tom Cruise and Diaz at the MTV Movie Awards, June 6, 2010 At age 21 Diaz auditioned for The Mask, based on the recommendation of an agent for Elite, who met the film's producers while they were searching for the female main actress. Having no previous acting experience, she started acting lessons after being cast. The Mask became one of the top ten highest grossing films of 1994.Diaz's performance as the sultry lounge singer "Tina Carlyle" earned her nominations for several awards and launched her as a sex symbol.