05/08/2012 03:28 pm ET

'Girl In Progress': Eva Mendes On Her Own Mom, Family Life

In recent years, Eva Mendes has shown she is equally adept at comedy and drama, and that's evident in her latest film, "Girl in Progress." The 38-year-old actress plays Grace, a struggling single mom to Ansiedad (played by Cierra Ramirez).

Mendes spoke with The Huffington Post about her own relationship with her mom, what she really thinks of her overbite and her guilty pleasures when it comes to TV.

Can you relate to Grace and Ansiedad’s dysfunctional relationship?
Oh God, no, no, no. The reason I took the character on was, I thought it would be fun to play such a disgrace of a mother and a mess of a person. Her heart’s in the right place, which makes it fun. She’s trying to be a mother and she’s just failing miserably. It’s really difficult for me not to be judgmental when I hear mother-daughter stories because I have such an amazing mother. Growing up she was such a beautiful, dedicated, yet really strict and totally involved, mom. She holds a high standard.

But I want to clarify, my family was absolutely nuts. It was incredibly loud in my house. When my girlfriends would start calling over, I remember they’d be like, "Oh sorry, I’ll call back. You guys are fighting," and we’d be like, "No we’re not, we’re having dinner." So we were loud and nuts and we still are, but within that my mom was just a pillar.

You know, there is a trend right now toward mothers being best friends with their daughter, rather than being more like a parent.
One of the beautiful things about my mom is, she was a mother. I had plenty of friends -- that was taken care of. But my mom was always my mother, an authority figure, somebody that I couldn’t tell everything to.

Your character is a waitress. Did you ever waitress?
I had all kinds of odd jobs. I waitressed; I basically worked at every shop in the mall. I worked my way through the Glendale Galleria.

Were you a good waitress?
I don’t think I was great. I don’t think I’m good at multitasking, but my way of dealing with it was I just gave everyone free desserts. Somehow that made everything OK.

I love your overbite.
Oh my God, I love you for saying that. That’s so cute. I like it now, but it took me a while. We couldn’t afford braces when I was little; everybody had them, it was kind of the cool thing. Skateboards and braces were the cool things to have, but we couldn’t afford them.

I always try to tell my little niece -- she’s 15 -- that most of the things you don’t like about yourself now physically, you’re going to end up loving when you’re older because that’s what makes you different; it makes you unique.

What do you watch on TV?
Believe it or not, I’m one of those annoying people who don't watch TV. I only TiVo three shows: "60 Minutes," "The Daily Show" and "Antiques Roadshow." If somebody actually looked at my TiVo, they would think I was 68 with a lot of cats.

I love "Antiques Roadshow," though I don’t collect antiques. I just like the show. I get really excited for people who bring in something they think is just a little trinket and it ends up being like $18,000, which doesn’t happen as often as I would like!

Eva Mendes