Eva Mendes©Alexi Lubomirski

Eva Mendes reflects on how family is a big influence for her fashion line

The Cuban-American star opened up about growing up in a strict Cuban family

For a look at more exclusive photos from our special edition, pick up the December/January issue of HOLA! USA - available to subscribers now and on newsstands December 6.

Six years ago Eva Mendes and New York & Company joined forces on an exclusive fashion line. The Cuban-American beauty, whose style is evocative of her ultra-feminine, vintage-inspired designs, takes her role as a designer very seriously as evidenced in HOLA! USA's December/January issue. Eva opened up exclusively about how lucky she feels to be doing something she loves, and how her and Ryan Gosling's families are big influences when it comes to designing her pieces. “I feel so lucky to be doing something that I can be creative with and that gives me another way of expressing myself,” she tells HOLA! USA.

Eva Mendes, New York & Company©Alexi Lubomirski
Eva shares she grew up in a strict Cuban family

Besides working with the brand, the mother-of-two (Esmeralda, five, Amada, three) holds a special place for New York & Co. in her heart, as it brings back special memories about her childhood. “I grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and as soon as I turned 12, my mom would let me go to the mall with my girlfriends because it was only a few blocks away,” she said. “I have a very strict Cuban family, and all we would do is hang out in malls. So the fact that I’m in an actual brick & mortar store means a lot to me because it is a dying breed.”

Ryan Gosling’s leading lady has her mother and older sisters to thank for inspiring her before she even knew she ever wanted to go into fashion. “I have two sisters that are older than me, and I remember seeing them and my mom when they would put a little bit of effort into what they were wearing. I would stare at them, and I loved to see them feel good about wearing something beautiful,” she said.

Eva Mendes, HOLA! USA©Alexi Lubomirski
Eva is one of our December/January cover stars

Today, Eva and her mom have special mother-daughter moments in which they discuss Latina fashion icons from past eras like María Felix. “My mom helps me with a lot of women that I personally didn’t know growing up,” she articulated. “I get a lot of inspiration from Latin women from that era, and then me and my mom will start to talk and look up to stuff, and it’s just fun. That’s a way for me and my mom to bond.”

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