A fiercely independent actress who refuses to be pressed into
a conventional mode or typecast, Eva Mendes was studying marketing
in the late '90s when an agent stumbled across her photo while
perusing Mendes's neighbor's portfolio. Soon appearing in
an Aerosmith video and making her film debut in Children of
the Corn V: Fields of Terror, Mendes worked her way through
the gamut of aspiring actors to appear in such high-profile
films as Urban Legends: Final Cut and Once Upon a Time in
Dropping out of school soon after being randomly discovered
by an agent, Mendes appeared in a few made-for-television
productions and hammed it up with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan
in A Night at the Roxbury before being cast in a prominent
role in Urban Legends: Final Cut. Working against typecasting
despite her teen horror resumé, Mendes next took roles
in Exit Wounds, Training Day, and All About the Benjamins.
Mendes next began work on a children's book titled Crazy Leggs
Beshee in which she wanted to introduce art, history, vocabulary,
and values to children in a fun and easily comprehendable
In 2003, Mendes' career took off, with the actress taking
on large roles in an ecclectic quartet of high-profile films.
In 2 Fast 2 Furious she played a customs agent working with
Paul Walker to bring down a Miami drug cartel. Out of Time
found her reteaming with Training Day costar Denzel Washington.
Flexing her comedic chops, Mendes was the love interest of
half a pair of conjoined twins in the Farrelly brothers' Stuck
on You. And in Once Upon a Time in Mexico she played another
government agent, this time opposite Johnny Depp.
2004 saw no signs of Mendes slowing down, with the Cuban-American
beauty starring as the ex-girlfriend of Luke Wilson in The
Wendell Baker Story, a film Wilson cowrote with brother Owen
Wilson and codirected with sibling Andrew Wilson.