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Not everyone has a soft spot for cleaning — but Eva Mendes does.
“I love doing the dishes, it’s totally meditative for me. It’s mental wellness for me,” the 48-year-old actress and businesswoman tells The Hollywood Reporter. And during the pandemic’s early days, she scoured the Internet for the best sponges that could withstand heavy scrubbing without turning into a smelly, soggy pad.
That search led her to Skura Style, maker of a “smart” antimicrobial, quick-drying sponge with a colorful, non-abrasive scrubber and a fading monogram that indicates when it’s replacement time. (The brand’s name translates to “scrub” in Swedish.)
“I, like most people, went crazy with the cleaning and went overboard, and I’m sure did more harm than good,” says Mendes. “But I went through a lot of sponges. I ordered a bunch of different ones, and Skura Style was one of [them]. It was the only one that stuck with me, and it was so funny because when I was using it, [I thought], ‘Oh, that fade-to-change technology is cool.’ It tells you when it’s time to change, by fading.”
“I had a weird reaction — like a good weird reaction when I sudsed it all up. I’m such a weirdo who likes squishing a sponge,” she admits. “I love the product; it does what it says. When do you really get that — whether it’s skin care or whatever it may be?”
The Cuban-American star was so absorbed by the home-cleaning company — which was founded in 2017 by former media and advertising executives Alison Matz and Linda Sawyer — that she signed on in May as an investor and celebrity ambassador. The star recently fêted her new role with an intimate brunch at Michelin-starred restaurant Ardor at West Hollywood Edition hotel, where she was joined by Skura’s co-founders and close friends.
The sponges are $15 for four and are available as monthly and bimonthly subscriptions ($12 per delivery). Skura also offers heavy-duty scouring pads, reusable microfiber wipes, drying towels and cleaning sets. The products are all made in the U.S. and can be found at Amazon, Target, Walmart, Sur La Table and other online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
Skura Style is in line with Mendes’ past entrepreneurial endeavors in the lifestyle category. She previously designed a home goods line for Macy’s and a fashion label with New York & Co., and she was creative director of the Old Hollywood-inspired drugstore beauty brand Circa. She has also starred in campaigns for Estée Lauder, Revlon, Calvin Klein’s Secret Obsession fragrance and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Matz and Sawyer (who also happen to be childhood friends) tell THR that the cleaning-obsessed Mendes was a match made in heaven for them. Adds the actress, “The relationship blossomed through Zoom [during the pandemic] and we decided to go into business together. It was very natural.”
There’s a camaraderie that Mendes says she shares with Skura’s co-founders as a working mother of two (she shares daughters Esmeralda, 7, and Amada, 6, with partner Ryan Gosling).
“[I love] how amazing it is to work with women who have children and who understand what it means to be a working mother. [They understand] when your kid runs into a Zoom, and how I can see that as adorable, but other people may see that as unprofessional,” says Mendes.
She continues, “It’s really amazing to have Linda and Allison understand all of those things — if I’m running late because of school drop-off, or something like that. I don’t have to overly explain myself. I don’t have to feel bad [and feel it’s a] mom fail or business fail. It gives you so much more freedom to be creative and to feel that you’re appreciated, and you don’t feel shame around that.”
Mendes at the moment is focusing on Skura, and her most recent role was in the Australian animated children’s show, Bluey. (Natalie Portman and Lin-Manual Miranda have also lent their voices to the series.) She was last on the big screen in Gosling’s 2014 film, The Lonely River, alongside Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith and Saoirse Ronan.
At her Los Angeles brunch, Mendes sat down with THR to chat about what drew her to Skura Style and the lessons she’s learning in life and business. Read more from our conversation and shop Skura’s products below.
You’ve had other business ventures in fashion, beauty and home decor. What was so compelling about Skura?
It’s a female-owned business; that was a big interest to me and I wanted to be a supporter. I’ve had a lot of experiences with starting my own businesses now — being a part of existing businesses, coming in as a partner, having licensing deals. The one thing I always hold onto is that I’m not scared to fail. I like to quote-unquote ‘fail,’ and this is how I try to raise my girls too. ‘Fail’ is not a bad word.
That’s a great lesson for everyone. It’s not “failure,” it’s a learning experience.
Exactly. It’s really what you do with those quote-unquote ‘failures.’ Life is full of ‘failures’— again, I use quotes around that word, it’s like you’re saying, they’re experiences to learn from. And I’ve learned way more from my business ‘failures’ in the past than I have with my successes. It’s great when something hits, but when something doesn’t, that’s a learning opportunity.
Back to Alison and Linda, what have you loved about working with them so far?
They’re teaching me a lot about things that I don’t about, things that I’m still learning about — inventory and shipments, especially post-COVID, what that mean. So I’m a student of them in that way.
And then we have a really great symbiotic thing going on. I have the value that I bring, and I get to share with them what I know, and they get to school me on that whole part of the business that I really don’t have experience with.
Switching gears to Hollywood — we love that you were on the Australian children’s show, Bluey. How did that come about?
I love that you know that. It was literally two lines as a yoga instructor. The producers from Bluey called [and said] listen, ‘We know you love Bluey,’ and I’m like, ‘Say no more! I’m doing it.’ So I went to a little studio and [recorded] it. My kids loved it, Bluey‘s amazing, it’s so deep. You think it’s all fun — it is fun, it lands it and there’s some really cool stuff there.
Speaking of which, do you have any other film or TV projects coming up?
I don’t, I’m focusing on [Skura] right now. I have some other side hustles — I’m so superstitious — that I can’t talk about. As far as acting, it has to be right. It has to be exciting, because at this point I mean, it’s gotta be something super exciting. That door’s not closed — it’s slightly ajar! But it’s not shut.
Last question — what’s a life or business “hack” that’s really working for you right now?
Right now, and especially with my kids, I’m not trying to talk anyone out of their feelings, including myself. I’m like, “Okay, I feel this right now, and that’s more than fine, I don’t have to figure out why I feel it or how I’m not going to feel it anymore.” And I’m trying to do the same thing with my children and acknowledge, “You’re frustrated right now, I get it, I get frustrated too,” and not try to come up with a solution, and not try to fix anything — to just be in it. It sounds so simple, but it’s harder for me to do than it sounds. But [practicing this] has been less pressure on me, less pressure on the kids.
I also want to not feel that I have to explain myself all the time. I have no problem explaining myself if somebody thinks I was rude. But if I’m just not up to something, I don’t need to write a novela in a text. Sometimes I re-read my texts and [think], “Oh my god, this is a whole thing, let me just say, ‘Oh sorry I can’t be there. Lots of love.’”
I don’t know if it works for other people but right now, because I have two little girls… and we ride the roller coaster of emotions all day together. I think, How am I going to navigate this especially when I get older? A big part of it is to just ride it. Don’t try to stop the ride.
Skura Style Sponge Set, 4-Count
Skura Style Clean Happy Bundle
Skura Style Clean Happy Bundle