The breakthrough that Eva Mendes experienced from “Training Day” was a launching pad to bigger and better roles in a head-spinning array of movies. These included “All About the Benjamins,” “2 Fast 2 Furious” (and its blockbuster sequels), “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” “Hitch,” “Ghost Rider,” “We Own the Night,” “The Other Guys,” and even co-starring alongside “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David in the HBO comedy film “Clear History.” 

“Training Day” made Eva Mendes a movie star, something she’d never envisioned as a child but embraced wholeheartedly as an adult. She did, however, go through a period when she experienced a form of imposter syndrome, wondering why she deserved to suddenly become catapulted from obscurity to stardom. She did, she told the Toronto Star, eventually get past that. “Well I’m enjoying acting now, which is a big difference,” she explained. “I think what was happening was I still didn’t understand ‘why me? Why am I getting this attention?'”

Yet despite her talent and drawing power at the box office, finding good, meaty roles continued to be a challenge. As she explained to CinemaBlend in a 2007 interview, what few solid roles there were for women wound up being scooped up by a rarified echelon of female actors. “Seriously, all the good stuff, and understandably so, goes to the Winslets and the Naomi Watts of the world, and the Cate Blanchetts,” she griped. “There is just such a lack of female roles.”

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