After stepping back from her Hollywood career a few years ago to focus on raising her two daughters, actress and entrepreneur Eva Mendes is back in action today and ready to “dish out” all the ways your kitchen can become a cleaner and healthier space.
Mendes, 48, is the new co-owner and brand ambassador for Skura Style, a kitchen-centric company with products that she calls “disrupters” in the cleaning supply industry. So, how did Mendes initially come across Skura Style?
“During the pandemic, I was like a lot of people, cleaning obsessively. I’m not a clean freak by any means but I love having a clean house, and especially a clean kitchen and a clean sink. I feel like it’s part of mental wellness for me. I was going through so many sponges and so many cleaning products and I basically found through a friend Skura Style sponges, and I instantly loved it. Immediately, I responded to the touch of it and the design of it. Then, I responded to the technology of it, which is it’s made of polyurethane and not cellulose, so it harbors way less bacteria, so it never smells. It rinses really dry and on the scrubbing side, one of my favorite things about this is it has the monogram, the ‘S’ for Skura, and it starts to fade and it lets you know when it’s time to replace your sponge. It really is a smart sponge. It does the thinking for you.”
Mendes goes on to tell me that after reading the story behind Skura Style founders Alison Matz and Linda Sawyer, she decided to reach out directly to the brand leaders. What began as Mendes just wanting to express her appreciation for their kitchen products would ultimately turn into the founders expressing their interest in Mendes joining the Skura Style team. Mendes has since acquired an equity stake in Skrubby Hub LLC, the parent company of Skura Style.
When speaking about her responsibilities today with Skura Style, Mendes says, “My day-to-day goes between doing press – I’m endorsing the product. It involves me, Linda, and Alison talking about our shipment supply, our manufacturer. It goes from product development, what else we have coming in. I have my own ideas – certain things I’d like to add-on to the actual product itself. I’ve never cared so much about numbers (laughs).”
The mother of two says that this partnership feels rather full circle for her, with Mendes sharing that she comes from a business background of designing dinnerware with her former company Vida about 15 years ago. So according to Mendes, joining Skura Style and utilizing her passions in the kitchen felt like the right progression for her.
Since meeting on the set of their film The Place Beyond the Pines in 2011, Mendes and her partner Ryan Gosling have been together these past 11 years, as they continue to raise their daughters side-by-side. So with Mendes being the self-proclaimed dish washer in her home, I wondered what their family dynamic might be like today.
“I’m not an amazing cook – I leave that to Ryan. Hopefully it’s showing my girls that there are no gender-specific roles that one must take on and that we are partners in this and that we’re all partners in this, not just Ryan and I, but our children as well. It’s a team effort everyday, so if they see him and I switching off doing certain things that again aren’t specific to stereotypical gender things, I think that just creates balance and harmony.”
In a world where many well-known Hollywood couples choose to post photos of themselves on social media, Gosling and Mendes have kept their personal lives alongside their daughters rather private. In fact, Mendes took a step back from social media a few years back and only returned recently to spread the word about Skura Style to the public.
So, I decided to ask Mendes the following question like this: Beyond your Skura Style promoting on social media over the past month, you really have not engaged so much on social media lately, nor does Ryan, something I very much admire and respect with your privacy. So, what comforts do you have now returning to social media with this positive purpose with the Skura Style brand being a large part of your focus on there?
“Jeff, thank you so much for asking that question that way. I took a break from social and I forget how long it was, but I just started feeling really phony before I took a break from Instagram and Facebook. I started feeling extremely like just not myself, because I was looking for content. I work with really amazing people that I respect but everything is content, and I started going about my day going like Oh, can this be content? Can this be content? I started thinking that was definitely the wrong way to do it. I had to check myself, and I did. Then of course when I took a break from it and I was working on Skura, like you said, I came back with a purpose and I feel connected now because I love connecting with people. This is what I believe in right now. This is where my efforts are.”
Beyond Skura Style and her previous Vida dinnerware creations, Mendes tells me that she has also had her hand over the years in bedding, cosmetic lines, apparel, and more. The part of our conversation that caught me by surprise was how open Mendes was in discussing the highs-and-lows of her entrepreneurial journey.
“I’m sure a lot of people that you talk to don’t want to talk about their failed businesses, but I love talking about my failed business because that’s where I’ve learned the most,” Mendes continues. “I’ve really gained so much more insight, so much more experience in the marketplace by failing – by having businesses be out there and not succeed in the way I wanted them to. I don’t hear enough people talking about that, because I want to make sure that I encourage women specifically, but anybody, that want to take risks. If you’re afraid to fail, that risk isn’t going to be so big, therefore the reward won’t be as big. I just want to make sure that’s not a taboo thing.”
Coming from popular films like Hitch, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and The Other Guys, Mendes says she is open to returning to Hollywood projects one day. Being now a mother at this stage of her life, however, the roles that would interest her seem to have evolved with time.
“I think that I watch so many kid films, a lot of animation films. There are so many beautiful ones right now like Encanto or Luca – I think something like that would be really fun because they’ve become so emotional. They’re no longer the animated films that I grew up with, although there are some good ones from my time. That world would be fun. I’m just not in the headspace to go to work and do anything dark.”
As we wrapped up our conversation about her ongoing efforts with Skura Style, the Miami-born Mendes credits her “major badass” mom Eva Perez Suarez for not only giving her the appreciation for a clean home, but for instilling in her a go-getter mentality in business. Growing up in what Mendes refers to as a lower-middle class family, she continues on about her mom saying, “She would always tell me No matter what you do, be financially independent. That is going to be your freedom. She was telling me that since I was maybe five or six years old. That’s how she raised me, so that’s where the hustler aspect comes in.”