Eva Mendes proves Hollywood naysayers wrong

"When I started out, people said that my appearance was not commercial, that I was too ethnic and that perhaps I could do a few good films but not sell a product," the actress told EFE. "And here I am years later," she added.

Eva Mendes. Pic/Santa Banta

The star of films such as "Training Day" (2001), "2 Fast 2 Furious" (2003), "We Own The Night" (2007) and "The Spirit" (2008) has become a regular face on the lists of the most beautiful people in the movie industry and has been the image of numerous advertising campaigns for top fashion and cosmetics brands.

That radical change makes her feel "very proud" for two reasons: being able to show her early critics how wrong they were and seeing how the concept of what it means to be an American has evolved. "That point of view has evolved and I'm part of that. I've been a witness to a great change," said Mendes, 38.

Soon, Mendes will also come out with "Holy Motors", by French filmmaker Leos Karax, and "The Place Beyond the Pines", in which she appears with her boyfriend Ryan Gosling.

"I'm at a point in my career where I only do films that mean something for me. I hope that 'Girl in Progress' is successful, connects with people and opens doors to more works with minorities," she concluded.

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