No doubt about it, Eva Mendes is one of Hollywood’s sexiest and coolest leading ladies. The red carpet siren is courted by the world’s most sought-after designers, but one thing she’ll never let them drape her in is fur. In fact, she’d rather go naked.

That’s why the talented beauty shed her clothes in peta2’s sexiest anti-fur ad ever, alongside the tagline “Fur? I’d Rather Go Naked.”

Eva admits that she wasn’t always aware of the ways animals are tortured and killed by the fur industry. She says, “I remember having my first premiere in New York City and being so naive that I didn’t have a coat with me. My stylist sent me a fur wrap for the evening, and I ignorantly wore it.” She continues, “PETA then wrote me a beautiful letter commenting on my less-than-educated choice. I was so impressed that I vowed to them and myself to never wear real fur on the red carpet or in my life again.”

Read what else Eva had to say in this exclusive interview.

How did you come to get involved with helping animals? Did you have any animal companions growing up?
I love animals, but I hadn’t had a pet since I was a kid. I recently got a dog, and he’s not only made me a happier girl, he’s made me much more sympathetic to animal rights. I look at my beautiful dog and think, “Of course I’d never eat him or skin him for his fur, so why would I be OK with eating a cow or wearing a cheetah?” It’s just not right. It’s a contradiction.

I was raised as a meat-eater, but in the last year I have given up red meat and chicken.

Do you have any animal companions? If so, what are their names? Can you tell us something about them?
I recently got the most beautiful dog in the world! He’s the sweetest thing ever. He’s fully trained and all his commands are in French. Too cute! So I’m learning French, and he’s learning Spanish!

As a fashion icon in Hollywood, do you find that people put pressure on you to wear fur on the red carpet? If so, how do you handle that?
A lot of the high-end designers are unfortunately still big on fur, but I simply let them know that I won’t wear it on the red carpet or for photo shoots. People are pretty respectful and don’t try to pressure me to wear fur—smart for them … haha.

Can you tell us about the projects you’re working on right now and also about your film We Own the Night?
We Own the Night is a crime thriller set in the late 1980s about two brothers on opposite sides of the law. I play the girlfriend of Joaquin Phoenix, a manager for a club involved with the Russian Mafia, whose brother, played by Mark Wahlberg, is a cop targeting the Mafia for drug involvement. It’s a great cast, and it was such a thrill to play opposite actors like Joaquin, Mark, and Robert Duvall.

I have also just finished filming The Women, which was very cool, and am just starting a really amazing project called The Spirit.

What issue involving animals is dearest to your heart? Also, you have a lot of fans out there, which gives you a powerful platform to reach people and make a difference. What is your message to them about having compassion and getting active to help animals?
I’d say the closest animal rights issue to me right now is being anti-fur. I feel like in recent years, because of pop culture, fur has made a comeback. Some people still see wearing fur as glamorous and as a sign of prosperity. Personally, I think wearing a baby chinchilla says “I’m ignorant,” versus saying “I’m a badass.” I don’t think you can force people to change their attitudes, but you can help to educate them and lead by example.

There are way too many amazing faux fur options out there for people to still be wearing real fur. I want people to know that there are options—that killing a poor animal and wearing it isn’t cool. Respecting all life forms is cool. Very cool.

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See? I told you she was cool. How about following in Eva’s footsteps by refusing to wear fur? Foxes, minks, rabbits, chinchillas, and other animals—even dogs and cats—are strangled, beaten, electrocuted, drowned, and often skinned alive just so their fur can be made into clothing. If you agree that animals should never be victims of the fashion industry, click on the fox below and take the fur-free pledge.