Eva Mendes is one happy camper.
"I'm big on therapy," Mendes told me yesterday. "I've always said I love talking about therapy, because there's nothing wrong with it. Why wait until something goes terrible in your life to start fixing things?"
Mendes, 34, has never talked details about why she did a stint in rehab earlier this year, but she did tell me that one of her biggest issues was coping with her own success. "Up until recently, I was really uncomfortable with having success and enjoying it," Mendes says. "I just couldn't deal with that. How can I have so much? It's not fair. How can the world have so little?…I allowed it to mess with me in the sense that I just didn't know how to handle it."
Things are different now. "I've really broken it down to this simple thing: I deal with everything by giving it away," Mendes explains. "It's genius. It works."
She literally gives things away, like the new pair of Cartier sunglasses she insisted an elderly friend of hers keep when she tried them on. "I said, 'You need to have them. They look really good on you,' " Mendes says.
Speaking of looking good, Mendes has been the center of a censorship storm because of her new steamy ad campaign for the Calvin Klein perfume Secret Obsession. A 30-second TV spot was banned last month by U.S. television networks because it showed part of her nipple. (Above, the campaign's new billboard that was unveiled today in New York's Times Square.)
Mendes could have had the nip slip cut from the commercial (it's in her contract), but says she found the slight nudity "beautiful and tasteful."
In director and writer Diane English's upcoming The Women, Mendes plays Crystal Allen, a smokin' hot Saks salesgirl having an affair with married businessman Stephen Haines. Like Stephen's wife Mary (Meg Ryan), Mendes credits the women in her life for getting her through the tough (and happy) times. "I've run into some women in my life who are like, 'I don't have any girl friends. I only have guy friends,'" Mendes says. "And I'm like to the guys, 'Run for the hills when you hear a girl who says she only has guy friends.' That is a bad situation, because all women should have their base of girls."
Where does that leave her longtime filmmaker boyfriend George Augusto? "He actually grew up with all women in his family," Mendes says. "His mom has five sisters, so he gets it."
Mendes first auditioned for English about three years ago. "They were like, 'Oh, we're not sure if you can do funny. We're not sure if you're the right person for it,' " Mendes remembers "But then two years later, they told me I got the part. I'm like, 'Wait a minute, wait a minute. I don't know if I want it. Things have changed here, Miss Thang!' "
Obviously, she decided to go for it.
Since we never see or hear Stephen—as in the 1939 original, no men get screen time in the movie—did Mendes picture anyone in particular when thinking about him? "Yeah!" she says with a big smile. "It was a very specific person that I had in mind. But I can't tell you any of that stuff. Those are secrets of the trade."