Eva Mendes

Born March 5, 1974, to Cuban émigrés, Mendes moved with her parents from Miami to Los Angeles at age 2. The story of her discovery is pure Hollywood: Mendes was attending Cal State Northridge when an agent spotted her photo in a neighbor's portfolio; she was subsequently cast in the straight-to-video Children of the Corn 5: Fields of Terror (1998).

Determined to make the most of her good fortune, Mendes began to study acting and found work in music videos, commercials and films. A turn as Denzel Washington's girlfriend in Training Day (2001) provided Mendes with her breakthrough role, and full-fledged stardom arrived with her portrayal of a customs agent in 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003).

Mendes continues to demonstrate her range in films such as Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), Hitch (2005) and We Own the Night (2007).