Ryan Gosling Talks Eva Mendes, Being a Feminist Role Model for Baby Esmeralda

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Though he’s notoriously quiet when it comes to discussing his personal life, Ryan Gosling can’t help but to gush about Eva Mendes even when speaking on a professional level.

In an interview with Sunday Style, the Canadian actor revealed that “there’s more” respect when it comes to working with the mother of his child. Gosling, who met Mendes on the set of The Place Beyond the Pines, teamed up with the actress again for Lost River and enlisted the help of some of his previous co-stars.

According to the 34-year-old, it was this intimacy between himself and the cast that helped elevate his movie.

“Everybody in this film, for the most part, I had worked with before,” he said. “For me, it was crucial to work in this intimate, low-budget, small way, with people I had worked with before, because I feel like in my experience that’s where everyone was at their best.”

“They know what is at stake for you personally, and all the work that’s gone into getting there,” he continued.

Gosling also explained that Mendes, 41, assisted him a lot behind-the-scenes in his directorial debut too. Recalling the time they went to a Salvation Army together to go costume-shopping, Gosling said that Mendes was “was very helpful in so many ways.”

“[Eva] picked this gold sequined jacket,” he recalled. “Matt Smith saw destiny staring him in the face and he made that his character’s uniform. And that happened a lot in the film, where she indirectly picked things that became very important to different people involved. Never wanting credit. She hates credit and she’ll even be mad that I’m giving her that credit.”

Gosling, who welcomed his first daughter with Mendes in 2014, also added that he finds himself constantly surrounded by strong women. With his infamous “Hey Girl” and Feminist Ryan Gosling memes still making its rounds online, the actor admitted he finds feminism “more important” than ever now that he’s the father of a baby girl named Esmeralda.

“I have very strong female characters in my life. I grew up with strong women and the amount of them grows exponentially as time goes on, in my world. And that’s my reality. So, I just tend to gravitate towards stories with strong female characters,” he said, adding that he didn’t make the memes and that “it’s not a conscious thing” when being named the poster boy of feminism. “But I do have a little girl now and it’s important to me. These things are becoming… not more important to me, but more important in general, I think.”

“There are lots of great women out there who I really admire: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, the Broad City girls [Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer], Lena Dunham and Kathryn Bigelow,” he continued. “I don’t know, it just seems like it’s happening.”