Mendes was employed by Revlon Cosmetics as an international spokeswoman and participant in Revlon's campaign to raise funds for breast cancer research.
She began acting in the late 1990s, and after a series of roles in B movies such as Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998) and Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), she made a career-changing appearance in Training Day (2001).
Mendes appeared in Will Smith's video "Miami" and the Pet Shop Boys' music video for "Se a vida é (That's the way life is)" in 1996 and Aerosmith's video "Hole in My Soul" in 1997.
She also appeared in the video for "The End Has No End" by The Strokes in 2004.
Since then she has co-starred in movies including All About the Benjamins, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Ghost Rider, We Own the Night, Stuck on You, Hitch and The Other Guys.
She has appeared in several music videos and sung with Cee Lo Green.