Like most actresses, Eva Mendes was thin … then she lost another 15 pounds.
And don't think she didn't hear about it from at least one of the three most important women in her life: her mother and two older sisters.
"I'll do anything for a role," Mendes tells Lucky magazine. "For 'A Place Beyond the Pines,' I exercised a lot. I wanted my character to feel really depleted. But my mom didn't understand why I would want to look that way. She's constantly telling me I'm too skinny!"
Weight aside, the 39-year-old Mendes — who doesn't eat red meat or chicken, but professes a soft spot for meringue cake at a Cuban bakery, Porto's, in L.A. — listens to the Mendes ladies on most matters.
Her sisters were the ones who convinced her to design a collection when the moderately-priced clothing store New York & Company came calling. The looks hit racks on September 19.
"I never thought I would be a designer, if that's what I am," Mendes explains. "And at first, I wasn't sure I could do it … They were like, 'Evie, you have to do this!'"
Mendes says her pieces, which include a black shift dress with lace detail and a bodysuit with snaps at the crotch, are for women of all sizes, although they're not for those who enjoy a certain popular kind of fashion feature.
"My customer is not a fan of the way tabloids cover celebrity style: 'Who wore it best,'" she notes. "It's disastrous for women's self-esteem. With fashion, there is no right or wrong."
Great clothes can, however, change the way a woman feels about herself, the "Hitch" star shares.
"Of course, to feel beautiful, you have to have healthy self-esteem and work on yourself, and that can be hard," she explains. "And there are days when I don't feel great, but I put on my favorite dress and throw a scarf in my hair, and it makes all the difference. Hopefully my line can do that for women. Even if you're not feeling your best, let's admit it, the right outfit — it helps."
Actually, it would be pretty impossible for most people to feel bad about themselves if Ryan Gosling was waiting at home! Mendes and the actor, who co-stars with her in "Pines" and also directs her in next year's thriller "How to Catch a Monster," have dated for two years. Mendes was tight-lipped as usual about that, though.
"You can ask about my boyfriend. I just won't answer," she says with a wink.
But we shouldn't feel too bad about her relationship secrets. As close as Mendes is with her mom, it sounds like her famous daughter keeps even her in the dark about some things!
"The way my mother keeps track of me is looking me up," the L.A.-raised Mendes shares. "I say, 'Please, Mother, don't Google me!'"
Read the full interview with Mendes in the October issue of Lucky, on newsstands September 10.
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