Eva Mendes W Magazine July 2010 yellow bikini

Eva Mendes raises temperatures on W magazine's July cover. Photo: Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for W magazine

In a fitting choice for a steamy month, actress Eva Mendes nabbed W magazine's July cover, due to hit newsstands June 22.

Mendes's print and television ads for Calvin Klein are notoriously hot. In promotions for Calvin Klein Jeans, she appears topless, with glistening skin and damp hair.

On the W cover, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, she dries off and channels both retro pinup and modern vixen in a citrus Miu Miu wool dress with flowered shoulder straps. A drooping bow calls attention to her plunging décolletage.

In the accompanying profile by Diane Solway, Mendes candidly discusses the balance between her voluptuous looks and her acting ambitions. She relishes the seductiveness of her Calvin Klein ads and is comfortable with her body, yet also wants to exercise her other skills.

"I'm proud of [the ads], absolutely, because why not?" she explains. "I can access that side quite easily, and I enjoy it, but certainly how boring if that was all I had to offer. The goal is to explore all sides."

Solway told StyleList of Mendes' surprising fashion inspiration: "Her style icon for a long time was Endora of 'Bewitched' -- she loved the theatricality of that character."

Will we see the bombshell in flowing purple chiffon and bright blue eyeshadow anytime soon? Probably not, but Mendes told Solway that she's become bored by red carpet fashion since "everybody looks too beautiful and safe and I can fall prey to that as well."

She championed edgier looks, saying "I miss seeing the Chers and Björks of the world marching to the beat of their own drum."

Mendes claims to be a ham, a side of her that will be revealed in her August comedy with Will Ferrell, "The Other Guys." Yet Mendes doesn't shy away from using her body to round out a character. After all, she does have more curves than Mulholland Drive.

For her breakthrough role in "Training Day," for instance, Mendes asked the director if she could appear nude in the opening scene, as it made sense in context. "I'm not an exhibitionist. But, honestly, for my art I'll do anything, almost. I'll go there," she says.

Eva Mendes W Magazine July 2010 velvet Louis Vuitton

Mendes smolders in velvet Vuitton. Photo: Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for W magazine

"I know I walk a fine line between being a respected actor and being what they call a sex symbol," Mendes continues. "It's a hard one to walk if you want to be known as a real, credible actor. But I've never felt objectified. Nothing you see me do is an accident."

Solway echoed this when recalling her impressions of the star. "I was surprised by the way she's warm, open and tough at the same time. She knows exactly what she wants to say and is very clear about her choices," she told StyleList. "I was also surprised by what a homebody she is. She's much more daring onscreen or in the pages of a magazine than she is in her personal life."

Although she may not want to be thought of as just a sultry go-to, Mendes joined in the fun at the W photo shoot. Stylist Alex White showcased her knockout figure in outfits like a velvet corset and skirt by Louis Vuitton (above) and a crimson silk dress by Nina Ricci. Mendes evokes old Hollywood glamour with winged eyeliner, strong brows, and by tilting up her perfectly curved chin just so.

As for those infamous denim ads, they're now in the rearview mirror. Model Lara Stone pulled on the jeans for the upcoming Calvin Klein fall campaign.