Diaz was born and raised in San Diego, California. After pursuing a modelling career, she was cast in the successful 1994 Jim Carrey film The Mask. Her first appearance placed her as just another tall, attractive, (natural) blonde with (natural) blue eyes—not the only one to be found in Hollywood.
However, she subsequently appeared in films that tried to appeal to slightly more sophisticated audiences such as Feeling Minnesota. She later enjoyed success in the romantic comedy My Best Friend's Wedding (1997) and comedy There's Something About Mary (1998). She took risks when accepting a role in Being John Malkovich (1999) and Oliver Stone took risks when he gave her a role in Any Given Sunday (1999). However, Diaz succeeded in both roles, proving that she has the requisite talent of an actress.
She has topped the FHM Sexiest Woman poll, and continually places highly, and is the overall 'Sexiest Woman' by virtue of their points system.