Some kids grow up wanting to be a teacher, a lawyer, or even a professional athlete. Eva Mendes, on the other hand, wanted nothing more than to be a nun. She aspired to serve God, living a humble life of modest means. Instead, she landed herself at the number 10 position on the “Maxim Magazine Hot 100 of 2010.” Mendes’ story serves to exemplify the notion that sometimes we have to let go of the life we have planned to have the life that is waiting for us. While her thriving career as a model and actress remains a far cry from living in a convent, she has always endeavored to remain down to earth, never allowing fame to disparage her character.
Born on March 5, 1974 in Miami, Mendes is the daughter of Juan Carlos Mendez and Eva Perez Suarez. Juan and Eva are both of Cuban descent, having immigrated in 1959 prior to the Cuban revolution. Shortly after their daughter’s birth, the Mendes family moved to Glendale, California. Mendes was raised by her mother after Juan left the family when she was just 10 years old. Mendes cites her father’s departure as a turning point in her life, as she was strongly influenced by her mother’s uncompromised devotion to raising her as a single parent. In 1992, Eva graduated from Hoover High School and would matriculate at California State University in the fall of the same year. Up until that point, she had not even considered a career in acting. However, Mendes was presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity when a casting agent requested to meet with her after seeing her picture in a modeling portfolio.
She was immediately cast to play the role of Kir in the low budget horror film “Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror.” While Mendes would later joke about feeling extremely embarrassed watching herself as Kir, the role nonetheless provided her with an initial experience to build on. The persistence paid off three years after a lackluster performance in “Fields of Terror” when she was asked to play Sara Harris alongside Denzel Washington in “Training Day.” The film has grossed over $70 million worldwide and succeeded in taking the young actress’ career to a whole new level. Mendes went on to star in “2 Fast 2 Furious,” “Ghost Rider,” and perhaps, most notably, “Hitch.” She most recently finished working on a fantasy drama titled “Holy Motors,” and launched her very own line of dinnerware at Macy’s.
Joshua Shapiro is a second-year student majoring in English and education. He can be reached at JS762110@wcupa.edu.