Eva Mendes is the kind of woman who elicits sighs from cab drivers.
We're doing this interview during the few free moments she has these days. She's backstage at "Ellen" waiting to make her appearance. I'm in a cab going from LAX to an interview with Will Smith.
"Is that really Eva Mendes on the phone," cries my cab driver, a 50 year old whose jaw has dropped all the way to the gas pedal. For a second, I think we're going to get into a fender bender.
"She's so smoking hot. Even her voice is smoking hot!" cries my driver.
For her part, Eva just laughs ...and she doesn't lose that tone at all when we talk about aging.
I tell her my age and she says that it fits perfectly into her new movie opening this weekend called "Girl in Progress."
Eva believes that she IS a work in progress - and that we all are at every age.
"We changed the title of my new movie, and I love what we have now," says Mendes. "I've called myself a work in progress many times. It doesn't matter what age you are. Everyone is still a work in progress.
"How boring to get there and have it all figured out," she cries and then let's out a loud, "Ewwwwww."
MOTHER'S MOVIE....MOTHER'S DAY
In her new film "Girl In Progress," Mendes plays a single mom named Grace whose life is a combination of her teenage daughter, work, bills and an affair with a married doctor.
"I thought this was a great opportunity to play such a flawed character," she says.
"This is a mom who is a disaster. She has a lot of bad and good stuff going on. I thought that it would be fun to play, but also more truthful than a mom who was absolutely perfect."
Meanwhile her daughter wants to grow up already and finds the inspiration in books. Mendes says the movie hit home because she's very close to her own mother.
"First of all, I'm such a sucker for mother daughter stories because I'm so close to my mom," she says.
"Growing up, we would sit there and watch 'Terms of Endearment.' I'd watch with my mom and we'd cry together.
"There was also this great '80s movie called 'Stella' where Bette Midler is a mother who gives up her daughter," she says. "Another movie that just made us weep."
GROWING UP WITH HER MOM
Eva is one of four kids, and the only one in her family born in the US.
"I was definitely a little ham," she says. "My mom definitely encouraged me to perform. She was my loudest audience.
"But it wasn't all about performing," says Mendes who was born in Miami, Florida and then moved to Los Angeles as a child. The Cuban-American says that her Mom helped her succeed.
"Mom was cool. Anytime I'd take a test or write something or get an A, it was definitely going up on the fridge. She was that Mom. She was always showing complete strangers my report card until I got to be a teenagers and she didn't want to show that report card. It didn't go on the fridge. Funny, how that happened at about 15."
WHAT DOES SHE KNOW NOW?
Eva says that her mom taught her what she knows now that she didn't know at 20. "My mother has a great sense of humor. She says if you can't laugh at yourself first then you're in trouble."
DEALING WITH OLDER PARENTS
Of course, she's just like the rest of us dealing with parents who are getting older.
"We got into a little bickering thing the other day. Mom is older now and the roles are reversing. I'm acting like the mom and she's acting like the kid.
"I'm like, 'Did you take your medicine?' She says, 'You're not my mother!' I'll say, 'If you didn't act like a child...' We're in that stage," she says.
"We bickered for a good 15 minutes and then burst out laughing."
EVA MENDES BEAUTY SECRETS
"My secret to that...oh my God," she cries. "I do take really good care of myself. I watch what I eat and I don't eat meat. I'm constantly hydrating. I know that sounds like, 'Come on, give us a better answer, but drink your water.
"I don't drink out of plastic bottles either," she says. "I also go in and get a little microdermabrasian and a facial.
"You can't smoke either. No smoking," she says.
At that moment she must stop. Ellen is calling.
"I'm so sorry, but I'm being told I have to get off the phone. Happy Mother's Day to all the ladies out there!"