"I've never had a problem with nudity, but I don’t put it out there without a reason," the 36-year-old tells W magazine in its July issue. "I'm not an exhibitionist. But, honestly, for my art I'll do anything almost. I'll go there."
In fact, Mendes says she was the one who suggested to Training Day director Antoine Fuqua that she should bare all in one of the movie's first scenes – even though the script didn't call for it.
"I know I walk a fine line between being a respected actor and being what they call a sex symbol," says the star, who also showed plenty of skin in her steamy Calvin Klein ads in 2008 and 2009.
"But I've never felt objectified. Nothing you see me do is an accident," she adds. "I might act like it's an accident but the opposite is true. I'm incredibly calculated when it comes to my career."
But her bold take on nudity is far from her more traditional views on love and relationships.
"I'm a modern woman in the sense of I take care of myself, I'm fiercely independent, and I'm really ambitious. Yet I have these old-school thoughts in my mind," she tells the magazine.
"I do like to belong to a man," says the actress, who’s currently dating music producer George Augusto. "I love having a man in my life, and being his woman at the end of the day. I know it's a dichotomy."