Modern icons: This week Metro talks to elegant yet funky Hollywood actress Jessica Alba.
Heads turn as Jessica Alba breezes into the Beverly Hills hotel. A Californian native, it appears the 29-year-old inherited the perfect genetic combination from her Mexican/American father and her Danish/French/Canadian mother.
Now mother of Honor, aged two, Alba got her break in US sci-fi series Dark Angel, bringing a gritty sexiness to the role of renegade super soldier Max Guevara. Film roles followed, including Sin City, Fantastic 4 (where she met her producer husband Cash Warren), Into The Blue and Valentine’s Day. Alba also starred alongside Kate Hudson and Casey Affleck in The Killer Inside Me.
In her new film, Machete, Alba shares the screen with Lindsay Lohan and Robert De Niro and gets the chance to put her footwear to good use when she stabs her stiletto into her rival’s eye. ‘Yeah, walking in 3in heels wasn’t as much fun as putting one in someone’s eye,’ she laughs. ‘It was 104 degrees where we were shooting in Texas and they were not comfortable.’
Alba graced the cover of Playboy in 2006 and was voted ‘most desirable woman’ by Maxim in 2001. The list goes on but the sex symbol label doesn’t sit comfortably with Alba. ‘I don’t really pay attention to that sexy image,’ she says. ‘It just goes with the character in the movie. At the end of the day, it’s all a part of selling a product.
‘It’s always been weird because I grew up in a very traditional, Catholic household,’ she continues. ‘My parents were very strict but I broke away from that at an early age. I was a feminist when I was five. These days, I am much more liberal-minded but I still respect their beliefs.’
It may be sweltering outside but Alba is dressed simply in an off-the-rack grey woollen long-sleeved babydoll dress, black opaque tights and heels. Her flawless olive complexion is almost make-up free, just a dab of bronzer, some brown mascara and a slick of cherry lip gloss. And, after experiments with blonde in various film roles, Alba is back to her natural chestnut brown.
‘I’m enjoying being brunette again as I hate getting my roots done,’ she grins. ‘It was so annoying because that’s not who I am. I’m the girl who wears a pony tail and baseball cap every day.’
Alba’s style has always veered towards the understated: ‘Classic, elegant and a little funky,’ as she describes it. ‘Yeah, I’m kind of modest in my fashion choices: I’m not somebody who puts on push-up bras and mini-skirts. I’ve played those girls in movies but I’ve never been that girl.’
Like any girl, though, she still likes to dress up once in a while. ‘There’s not much I don’t like by Prada, especially their shoes and dresses. I like Marc Jacobs bags. For casual wear, I like Juicy Couture, Diesel and Triple 5 Soul. One of my favourite dresses was one by Versace which I wore to the MTV Movie Awards.’
In a world where skinny is revered, Alba once said: ‘Thank God for women with curves. I love women like Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé who embrace their curvaceous bodies.’ Today, she elaborates: ‘I’ve always had curves, especially since having Honor. I used to feel embarrassed by them but now I feel like a woman.’
Machete is out in cinemas on October 29