Hoover’s brightest star

Eva Mendes went from serving as director of assemblies at Hoover to starring in movies


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Eva Mendes was a Tornado before she became a Hollywood star

By Monet Nadimyan, Staff Writer


As a high school student, students are always told to dream big and reach for the stars. 

The famous actress, model, and entrepreneur, Eva Mendes, has exceedingly surpassed these goals. She reflected on her times at Hoover High School and shared the memories and influences towards her present-day success in an exclusive interview with the Tornado Times.

For the class of ‘92 Hoover alumni, Mendes’ fondest memories of high school are with her three friends. Mendes continues to keep in touch with her girlfriends today, and mentioned that being surrounded by people like them, who always support her, was key to breaking through hardships and attaining success.

“The [main] thing, and it started in high school at Hoover, is to find yourself a group of friends that love you and support you,” Mendes said during a Zoom call with her. “Friends are everything.”

In high school, Mendes did not have a particular interest in acting or entertainment and decided to pursue a career when she was 24 years old, after she attended Hoover and two other local colleges. Mendes found her calling in the entertainment industry after taking an acting class during college. 

Although a principal part of Mendes’s process was to take the time to explore her interests and passions, she sparked an interest in entertaining crowds through her position as Director of Assemblies in Hoover’s ASB.  

“She ran for the lowest office there was and she won!” said Kirt Kohlmeier, Mendes’ former ASB director. “As the time went on, she elevated, got more confident, and blossomed. What always fascinated me about her is that she always had a drive to be somebody much better than everybody else.”

Mendes’ greatest piece of advice for students looking to follow in her footsteps is to keep persevering and staying focused despite any rejections or let downs one might face. Having a support system, aside from her friends, has been a resource for Mendes to improve herself and discover a new side of her through a different perspective. 

According to Mendes, Kohlmeier had this therapeutic influence on her during high school.

“Kohlmeier was like a guidance counselor to me and many other students,” said Mendes. “We’d go to him with problems and he never judged us, and he definitely acted, in a way, as a therapist, somebody you can trust.”

Mendes’ incredible potential and talent has extended far past high school and has landed her many opportunities in both the entertainment field and the fashion industry. She starred in many hit movies, including Hitch, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Ghost Rider, and many more. 

Mendes’ favorite roles have been in The Place Beyond the Pines and Lost River, both opposite her partner Ryan Gosling. Mendes shared that her work in The Place Beyond the Pines allowed herself to open up and share a piece of her on the screen that she never had before.

“I felt like I finally shared a little bit of myself on screen, and it was because of him,” said Mendes. “Acting opposite [Gosling] is like nothing else. I can’t wait until I can do it again in the future.”

Mendes’ role on the set of “Lost River,” which was directed by Gosling, has also been one of her favorites because it was similar to theatre production and it “felt like a big family.” Mendes’s work with the costumes and production design on the set of Lost River influenced her passion for the fashion industry and her current clothing line with New York and Co.

“Because I was working on the set of Lost River and I was so creatively stimulated, it opened my mind up to that,” Mendes said.

Mendes’ work and success have left a lasting impression for students at Hoover and has inspired many to follow in her footsteps. She brilliantly surpassed the expectations of a Hoover Tornado and has left the community buzzing about her with pride and honor. 

“You have to have dreams, and you have to push yourself and work hard. Those are things that [Mendes] did,” said Kirt Kohlmeier. “She is everything that I always thought a Hoover Tornado should be.”