Ever since she starred opposite Denzel Washington in 2001’s Training Day, Eva Mendes has been widely regarded as one of the sexiest women in Hollywood. She followed that breakthrough role with memorable turns in Hitch, The Women and The Spirit, to name just a few—but with her recent castings in Leos Carax’s beguiling Holy Motors and Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, the latter of which opens next weekend, it seems Mendes is more than ready for meatier roles. Pines, directed by the man responsible for Blue Valentine, similarly stars Ryan Gosling (with Mendes’ character as his love interest) and is already building major buzz—including that of the Oscars variety.
Offscreen, Mendes is a bona fide red carpet favorite, with a penchant for major labels like Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Lanvin and Oscar de la Renta. And although superstar stylist Rachel Zoe counts her as a client, Mendes clearly possesses innate fashion savvy—which explains why Vogue Eyewear recently tapped her as its new face. Read on to learn about the basic sunglass styles Mendes recommends, the riskiest thing she’s ever done and her favorite musical genre (it’ll surprise you—seriously).
Lucky: As the new face of Vogue Eyewear, do you remember the first pair of sunglasses you ever owned? Tell us about them!
Eva Mendes: My first pair of sunglasses were my mom’s! They were big 1980s shades that I used to wear around the house. I would walk around and pretend I was her. I was only about 10, but I wanted to be like her so badly!
What are a few sunglass styles every woman should own—and why?
I live in Los Angeles, so sunglasses are a necessity for me. I like ones that have a vintage feel—nothing too retro, but with a nod to that old-school style. So for me, that’s a cat-eye or Wayfarer style, but I also really love oversized sunnies. They can pull an outfit together and leave you looking sophisticated, even if you’re not feeling that way. I really loved all the colors incorporated into the new Vogue Eyewear sunglasses and optics. I think colorful frames are a great way to stand out. I know this sounds funny, but I’m also really excited to wear eyeglasses. Ever since I was little, I was always in awe of the kids who got to wear optics and admired all of the different shapes and fun colors. So I’m very excited that they can now be a real accessory for me!
You’re well known for your awesome red carpet style. Are you comfortable on the carpet? What do you look for in the perfect dress for a big-deal event?
My red carpet style isn’t calculated. I go with my moods. I tend to feel good in one dress one day, and then I don’t feel as great in it the next day for whatever reason. I’ve learned that having just one dress for a big event isn’t enough—I need a couple of options! But it’s important for me to feel comfortable in whatever I wear. I’ve also learned if you’re going big with the dress, you want simple hair and makeup and vice versa.
You also have one of the best heads of hair in the business. Walk me through your hair care routine—any styling tips or tricks you can share?
I wash my hair with Pantene’s Nature Fusion Shampoo. Being an actress and working on different movies and projects, my hair is frequently curled, straightened or dyed. Over a period of time, this can be damaging, so I am all about using amazing conditioners. When I have the time, I use triple the amount of conditioner that I normally would and don’t rinse it out. Instead, I pin up my hair and put on a shower cap, and sleep that way. In the morning, I rinse out the product. It’s my own do-it-yourself hair treatment! I’m also always putting my hair up. I love the way hair looks when it is tied up the right way. Seeing a woman’s neck is beautiful.
You spent lots of time in both LA and NYC, and were born in Miami. What are some of your favorite shopping destinations in these cities—or any others?
I was born in beautiful Miami, but my parents left when I was a baby—so unfortunately I don’t know it much! But if I’m in LA or NYC, I’m always looking for a great thrift shop or flea market. I love finding old dresses and then tailoring them to my body. It’s so fun and creative!
In The Place Beyond the Pines, you play opposite Ryan Gosling’s character, a motorcycle stunt driver. Have you ever ridden a motorcycle yourself? If not, what’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done?
Yes! I’m actually not much of a physical risk-taker, so riding a motorcycle is up there for me. Although I do love good scary roller coaster…
Your career trajectory’s been such an interesting one—you’ve gone from playing very sexy female roles in movies like Hitch and Ghost Rider to much more serious work, like The Place Beyond the Pines and Holy Motors. Has this been a conscious decision on your part? Tell me about how your role of choice has changed.
Yes, it has been partly conscious—but it has also been a natural progression. I love what I do—I even still go to acting class! I feel so fortunate to be able to work with talented directors who challenge me. For The Place Beyond the Pines, I was over the moon about joining forces with Derek Cianfrance. He’s an incredible filmmaker who really inspires me.
You’ve starred in a few music videos over the years, Will Smith’s "Miami" being our personal favorite. Any musical guilty pleasures, past or present, that you can share?
Wow—the "Miami" video! That’s crazy—it was one of my first jobs ever. It was a blast. I actually think that when it comes to music, there are no guilty pleasures. Whatever resonates with someone is what they should listen to. I happen to love opera and classical music. My favorite composer is Beethoven, and my favorite piece of music is his Moonlight Sonata. It’s heart-wrenching.
The Place Beyond the Pines hits theaters on March 29. Click through to check out more snaps from Mendes’ Vogue Eyewear campaign!
All photos courtesy of Vogue Eyewear
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