A growing interest in Latin American film and TV talent during the 1990s helped propel actress Eva Mendes from B-movie supporting player to Hollywood star and sex symbol. Her supporting role as Denzel Washington's girlfriend-on-the-side in "Training Day" (2001) put Mendes on the map, and she continued to woo male fans with action offerings like "2 Fast 2 Furious" (2003) and "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" (2003). Mendes' pop-culture presence rapidly grew out of proportion to her actual on-screen time, and she became a favorite fashion model, Revlon spokeswoman and a boon to the animal-rights cause PETA when she posed nude in an advertisement that claimed the actress would rather go naked than wear fur. Regardless of the hype surrounding the leggy starlet, Mendes proved that she had real acting talent, offering up increasingly well-received performances in the hit comedy "Hitch" (2005) and the comic-strip-based crime drama "The Spirit" (2008). With over a dozen film credits to her name and an increasing number of successful business ventures, the tough trailblazer emerged as an important role model for the growing ranks of aspiring Latin American entertainers.