The moment Eva Mendes stepped out with Ryan Gosling in September, the actress instantaneously became the envy of women everywhere (especially this one), and in the March issue of Marie Claire she really rubs it in. OK, not exactly. She coyly refuses to admit the two are an item — "It's too personal," she claims — but her constant giggling and smiling when the topic comes up are dead giveaways.
The ridiculously good-looking twosome met last year on the set of their drama "The Place Beyond the Pines," and it was an experience that benefited Mendes in more ways than one. "He's your dream co-star," she gushes with yet another broad smile. "I have never felt so creatively satisfied on a film…He's amazing."
Though she remained somewhat tight-lipped on Gosling, the 37-year-old actress is very open about her career — which got a huge boost when she appeared nude in 2001's "Training Day," starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. "I have taken the opportunities that have come my way and made the best of them," Mendes says unapologetically. And while she's primarily played the sexy siren over the years in films including "We Own the Night" and "Ghost Rider," her latest character is anything but.
In next month's "Girl in Progress," Mendes plays a single mother who is so caught up in her own life, she fails to notice when her chess-champ teen daughter falls into the wrong crowd. "She's a disaster, a mess, which I really love," Mendes says of her character, Grace. And it's a role she believes will launch her career to that next level — the one where her idols, Julianne Moore and Annette Bening, reside. "I have a girl crush on them," she admits. "I'd kill to have half the careers they've had after 40."
Although Mendes is lauded for her curvaceous figure amid the skinny minnies of Hollywood, she insists she wasn't always so comfortable in her own skin. "I feel it's important to let women know that I have similar struggles," admits Mendes, who doesn't eat meat and runs four to five times a week to stay in shape. "What I tell girls is what they don't like about themselves now, they will probably end up loving as an adult, because that's what happened to me. When I am complimented on things that I didn't like when I was 13, like my overbite and my mole, that's when you realize that your imperfections are why people love you."