Jessica Marie Alba (/?ælb?/; born April 28, 1981) is an American actress and businesswoman. She began her television and movie appearances at age 13 in Camp Nowhere and The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994), but rose to prominence at 19, as the lead actress of the television series Dark Angel (2000–2002), in which she received a Golden Globe nomination.
Her big screen breakthrough came in Honey (2003). She soon established herself as a Hollywood actress, and has starred in numerous box office hits throughout her career, including Fantastic Four (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Good Luck Chuck (2007), The Eye (2008), Valentine’s Day (2010), Little Fockers (2010), and Mechanic: Resurrection (2016).
She is a frequent collaborator of director Robert Rodriguez, having starred in Sin City (2005), Machete (2010), Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (2011), Machete Kills (2013), and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014). Since 2019, Alba stars in the Spectrum action crime series L.A.’s Finest.
In 2011, Alba co-founded The Honest Company, a consumer goods company that sells baby, personal and household products. Magazines including Men’s Health, Vanity Fair and FHM have included her on their lists of the world’s most beautiful women.
She will star in and executive produce a new documentary series for Disney+ called “Parenting Without Borders” (working title) which will focus on families around the world and their beliefs and culture.
Early life – Jessica Alba
Jessica Marie Alba was born in Pomona, California, on April 28, 1981, to Catherine Louisa (née Jensen) and Mark David Alba. Her mother has Danish, Welsh, German, English, and French ancestry, while her paternal grandparents, who were born in California, were both the children of Mexican immigrants. She has a younger brother, Joshua. Her third cousin, once removed, is writer Gustavo Arellano.
Her father’s Air Force career took the family to Biloxi, Mississippi, and Del Rio, Texas, before settling back in Claremont, California, when she was nine years old. Alba has described her family as being a “very conservative family – a traditional, Catholic, Latin American family” and herself as very liberal; she says she had identified herself as a “feminist” as early as age five.
Alba’s early life was marked by a multitude of physical maladies. During childhood, she suffered from partially collapsed lungs twice, had pneumonia four to five times a year, as well as a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst.
She has also had asthma since she was a child. Alba became isolated from other children at school, because she was in the hospital so often due to her illnesses that no one knew her well enough to befriend her. She has said that her family’s frequent moving also contributed to her isolation from her peers. Alba graduated from Claremont High School at age 16, and she subsequently attended the Atlantic Theater Company.
Acting career – Jessica Alba
Alba expressed an interest in acting from the age of five. In 1992, the 11-year-old Alba persuaded her mother to take her to an acting competition in Beverly Hills, where the grand prize was free acting classes. Alba won the grand prize, and took her first acting lessons.
An agent signed Alba nine months later. Her first appearance on film was a small role in the 1994 feature Camp Nowhere as Gail. She was originally hired for two weeks but her role turned into a two-month job when one of the prominent actresses dropped out.
Alba appeared in two national television commercials for Nintendo and J. C. Penney as a child. She was later featured in several independent films. She branched out into television in 1994 with a recurring role as the vain Jessica in three episodes of the Nickelodeon comedy series The Secret World of Alex Mack.
She then performed the role of Maya in the first two seasons of the television series Flipper. Under the tutelage of her lifeguard mother, Alba learned to swim before she could walk, and she was a PADI-certified scuba diver, skills which were put to use on the show, which was filmed in Australia.
In 1998, she appeared as Melissa Hauer in a first-season episode of the Steven Bochco crime-drama Brooklyn South, as Leanne in two episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210, and as Layla in an episode of Love Boat: The Next Wave. In 1999, she appeared in the Randy Quaid comedy feature P.U.N.K.S..
After Alba graduated from high school, she studied acting with William H. Macy and his wife, Felicity Huffman, at the Atlantic Theater Company, which was developed by Macy and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and film director, David Mamet. Alba rose to greater prominence in Hollywood in 1999 after appearing as a member of a snobby high school clique tormenting an insecure copy editor in the romantic comedy Never Been Kissed, opposite Drew Barrymore, and as the female lead in the little-seen comedy horror film Idle Hands, alongside Devon Sawa.