Mendes hopes her new role in thriller Bad Lieutenant brings her to the attention of directors who want to find Hollywood's new tough girl - and then maybe she'll be considered for films Winslet doesn't land.
She says, "Kate Winslet gets all of the gritty roles, understandably so! She is my idol and I just think she's done it the right way.
"She is not only an amazing actress but she knows how to run her career and I respect her so much, but there's got to be room for more, for all women. I want more roles out there for women that have more colours and layers, like men have.
"They are hard to come by, so sometimes I create them. I produced a film called Live! which I gave myself a great role in, playing a television network president. It's coming out on DVD next month."
But even that's not enough - and her new role opposite Nicolas Cage made her long to be in his shoes: "F**k, when do I get to be the Bad Lieutenant? I get a little role envy if I'm being honest."