July 14th, 2010
10:10 AM ET
Between Eva Mendes’s sensual Calvin Klein ads and her sexy roles in movies like “We Own the Night,” it can be hard to see the actress as anything other than a sex symbol - but Mendes is the first to admit it.
“I’m definitely responsible for the image that I put out there,” she told Allure magazine in their August issue. “But it does become frustrating because I don’t want sexy to be my defining characteristic. I’d love for my ambition and will and intellect and sense of humor to define me as well.”
Allure points out that Mendes isn’t lacking for intellect: she name drops photographer William Eggleston and author Ayn Rand in the interview, calling “The Fountainhead” one of her favorite books.
Yet just because she doesn’t want her sex appeal to be her defining quality doesn’t mean she doesn’t recognize its power.
“I have worked very hard to love myself, and I do,” Mendes said. “I think that’s what people may respond to with me. ‘Cause there are a ton of beautiful girls in this business with beautiful bodies.”
That self-confidence is what Mendes taps into when she has to display her sexuality in a film for the world to see.
“If a negative thought pops into my head, I talk to the voice within me and say, ‘I know that you want to tell me that I’m less desirable, but not now. You can come back in a couple days and cut me down when I’m done with this shoot.”
If that sounds easy - to turn on the sexy for ad campaigns or movies - think again, Mendes said.
“[When] other actresses who aren’t thought of, maybe, as being quite as attractive do full-frontal, they’re called brave,” the 36-year-old said. “Nobody has ever said, ‘Eva, you’re so brave for doing full-frontal nudity.’ Just because I’m attractive doesn’t mean it’s not scary! Why am I not brave?”
Got questions for Eva Mendes? You can now get an answer from the actress herself by submitting a question via iReport!
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