After spending the last part of the 1990s in TV roles, music videos and small parts in movies such as A Night at Roxbury and Exit Wounds (both 1998), Eva Mendes had a career breakthrough co-starring with Denzel Washington in Training Day (2001). Since then she's been one busy, sexy actor in half a dozen movies, including the car chase sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003, starring Paul Walker), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003, with Antonio Banderas and Johnny Depp), Out of Time (2003, also with Denzel Washington), the slapstick comedy Stuck on You (2003, with Matt Damon), the romantic comedy Hitch (2005, with Will Smith) and the relationship flick Trust the Man (2006, with David Duchovny). She is sometimes compared with her fellow Latinas Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek. Her other films include We Own the Night (2007, with Joaquin Phoenix), Frank Miller's film The Spirit (2008) and the spoofy cop movie The Other Guys (2010, with Will Ferrell).
Eva Mendes is sometimes confused with Eva Longoria, the Mexican-American star of the TV show Desperate Housewives. First names aside, they are not related.