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Eva Mendes on beauty, Ryan Gosling and ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

EvMendes 'The Place Beyond Pines.'

Eva Mendes in "The Place Beyond the Pines."

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Updated: May 1, 2013 2:06PM

One of the most gorgeous women in Hollywood doesn’t fear losing her va-va-va voom.

“Cuban woman are encouraged to look sexy way beyond the time other cultures tell women they’re sexy,” says Eva Mendes, the daughter of Cuban parents.

“We’re encouraged to feel beautiful in our 40s, 50s and even 60s. That’s why I have a healthy attitude about aging.”

Mendes, who turned 39 this month, won’t discuss her rumored romance with Ryan Gosling, her co-star in “The Place Behind the Pines,” opening Friday. In the movie, she’s low-octane sexy as Romina, a waitress who gets pregnant by a drifter (Gosling) and then must deal with the fallout when he starts robbing banks but still wants to be a father.

1 What was the appeal of “The Place Beyond the Pines?”

I’m able to play such a complete, raw, heartbreakingly real woman with flaws. She’s not an idealized version of a woman. I’m so thankful this came my way, and I did really research what women would like another woman to do in this scenario: You’ve had a baby with a handsome drifter, but you live with a responsible man. Who do you choose? I spoke with my good friends who have been with me since seventh grade. I had them to my house to have a little focus group about this situation. My girlfriends said, “If this drifter wants to be a father and commits, then you have to go with the bio dad.” Most women said you have to try your best to work it out with the bio father. They told me, “Your child has a right to know that father. You can’t deny it.”

2 What was it like to work with Ryan Gosling?

I have a scene with Ryan where he comes to comfort me. We stand outside as two people in pain. We’re young and filled with shame. When he walks away, nothing has been accomplished. It’s my favorite scene. How many times are you in real life in a conversation with a family member and you’re just talking and nothing is said? Ryan played it brilliantly. So, what can I tell you? He’s one of the greats. He will challenge you and make you a better actor. It’s such gritty stuff. Ryan made me feel like athletes do. I had to really up my game.

3 What is the secret to your look?

I do watch what I eat, yet I’m still addicted to sugar. It’s my poison. I did give up smoking for health and vanity reasons. It really does so much damage. I do like my supplements. I think beauty starts from the inside out. I don’t eat meat and chicken. In one year, I had better skin older than I was younger from giving up meat and chicken. It wasn’t an ethical or moral choice for me. I don’t like eating the hormones injected into the meats.

4 Who encouraged you to do something so risky with your life as acting?

My mother. One day when I was a little girl, I told her that I wanted to be an actress and she said, “Fantastic! Be an actress! You’re such a little actress around the house.” It was true. I was always running around the house singing, dancing and putting on shows. My mother would tell me, “You were born to be an actress.” I’d stand on top of her bed like it was my stage. I also credit my Cuban culture. Anyone who goes to Cuba will tell you that the people are happy under incredibly difficult situations. They still have a spirit and lightness to them. I have that in me and it made me want to perform.

5 You’re about to jump into the fashion industry. Can you give us a preview?

I’m going to do something for New York & Co. I’m excited. I love fashion and I strive not to be a fashion victim. I feel things are too expensive out there. You won’t find me shopping Yves St. Laurent. It’s criminal to spend tons of money on a T-shirt. I like cuts inspired by the ’50s and ’60s with the circled waist and high skirt. Women looked beautiful back then. They were dressed age-appropriate for their body types. That’s what I love.

Big Picture News Inc.

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