Eva Mendes Doesn't Want to Just Be 'Sexy'

07/13/2010 at 12:30 PM ET

Courtesy Allure

With a slew of racy Calvin Klein ads and steamy movie roles under her belt, it’s hard not to think of Eva Mendes as a sex symbol. But it’s a label that the actress seems reluctant to accept. “I’d love for my ambition and will and intellect and sense of humor to define me as well,” Eva tells Allure in its August issue. “I’m definitely responsible for the image that I put out there. But it does become frustrating, because I don’t want ‘sexy’ to be my defining characteristic,” she says. The actress’s own idea of sexy is surprisingly low-key in comparison to the bombshell characters she frequently assumes in front of the cameras. “To me, sexy is either nude or with very basic Calvin Klein underwear, and maybe a white, ribbed tank top with no bra,” says Mendes, who notably wore Dolce & Gabbana before, during and after her Allure cover shoot in New York City. But more than any physical characteristic, Eva credits her sex appeal to attitude. “I have worked hard to love myself, and I do. And I think that’s what people to respond to with me.” To hear more of Eva’s interview, pick up the August issue of Allure or check out allure.com. —Gillian Koenig

Courtesy Allure

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