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Eva Mendes on the inspiration behind daughter's name and why she kept pregnancy private

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Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling have famously kept their relationship out of the spotlight. You would struggle finding a picture of the actress during her pregnancy with their first child, Esmeralda Amada, whom she gave birth to in September.

And now Mendes, 40, has given a rare interview opening up about the inspiration behind their daughter's name, why she and Gosling have chosen not to have a nanny and why she is so private.

“I’m completely exhausted,” she tells beauty website Violet Grey on becoming a first-time mum. “I thought my wild nights were over but these are some of the wildest nights I’ve ever had.”   

Speaking about why she and Gosling, 34, have chosen not to have hired help, the star said: “I’m doing it without a nanny for now but I’m open to the idea of having a nanny in the future. Esmeralda has two amazing grandmothers and incredible aunties who come over and really help me. But as far as a nanny or a night nurse, for me that part of being a mother at this early stage is the struggle of not being able to sleep and not knowing what I’m doing and really going through it with her and battling out those nights.”

“But I’ve learned that it’s way harder to be a baby. Everything is a struggle for her. For instance, I haven’t thrown up since the ‘90s and she’s thrown up twice since we started this interview. Motherhood is cake compared to what it’s like to be a baby.”

The actress also divulged the meaning behind Esmeralda's name, saying the couple “were really excited about naming her”.

“We both love the Esmeralda character from the Victor Hugo novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame and just think it’s a beautiful name. Her middle is Amada, which was my grandmother’s name. It means “beloved” in Spanish.”

Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes at the premiere of The Place Beyond the Pines in March 2013

Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling at the premiere of The Place Beyond the Pines in March 2013

However the star was relatively reserved on any more pressing questions about her pregnancy. When interviewer Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey asked Mendes if she and Gosling were trying for a baby or whether it took them by surprise, and when she found out she was pregnant, she replied, “You're killing me, Cassandra...I just broke into a mini-sweat”. 

But, Mendes did address why she has stayed inconspicuous throughout her pregnancy. “Whether we like it or not, privacy is going to be very difficult for Esmeralda. I think it’s unfair but that’s our reality. So Ryan and I decided early on to give her as much privacy as we could. And my pregnancy was the first opportunity to give her that. It’s such an intimate time for the mother, too.” 

“I know that it seems all very innocuous when you’re flipping through a tabloid at the doctor’s office or see a photo of a pregnant lady online,” continued Mendes, “But I find the media’s “bump watch” obsession to be both intrusive and stressful. So I made a decision to eject myself from it completely. I was like, “Annnnd I’m out.” 

She says she's conscious of the reputation she'll leave behind for her daughter, adding, “I do consider how my own actions now will seem to her later on. For instance, with the Violet Grey photo shoot, I thought, “Is this something that she’s going to be proud of?” The idea that I would ever embarrass her is really heartbreaking for me.” 

As the conversation moved on, she spoke about her go-to beauty treatments at home - "I use coconut oil as a moisturiser and I combine yogurt and sea salt to exfoliate. If I’m going out and looking tired and puffy (which happens a lot these days), I dip my face into a bucket of ice water" - her favourite item of clothing, "I love a waist. I love a beautiful dress," and her hopes for the future. "In a perfect world all women would be paid as much as men whether they were in a tailored trouser or lady dress."

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