Jessica Marie Alba (born April 28,
1981) is an American television and film actress. She began her television
and movie appearances at age 13 in Camp Nowhere and The Secret World of
Alex Mack (1994). Alba rose to prominence as the lead actress in the
television series Dark Angel (2000–2002). Alba later appeared in various
films including Honey (2003), Sin City (2005), Fantastic Four (2005), Into
the Blue (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Good Luck
Chuck both in 2007.
Alba is considered a sex symbol and often generates media attention for
her looks. She appears frequently on the "Hot 100" section of Maxim and
was voted number one on AskMen.com's list of "99 Most Desirable Women" in
2006, as well as "Sexiest Woman in the World" by FHM in 2007. The use of
her image on the cover of the March 2006 Playboy sparked a lawsuit by her,
which was later dropped. She has also won various awards for her acting,
including the Choice Actress Teen Choice Award and Saturn Award for Best
Actress (TV), and a Golden Globe nomination for her lead role in the
television series Dark Angel.
Alba was born in Pomona, California to Catherine Alba (née Jensen) and
Mark Alba. Her mother is of Danish and French Canadian descent and her
father is Mexican American, though both of his parents were born in
California (on the December 1, 2009 episode of Lopez Tonight, George Lopez
announced that a DNA test showed Alba to be 87% European and 13%
Indigenous American). She has a younger brother, Joshua. Her father's Air
Force career took the family to Biloxi, Mississippi, and Del Rio, Texas
before settling back in California when she was nine years old. Alba
described her family as being a "very conservative family—a traditional,
Catholic, Latin American family" and herself as very liberal; she says she
had described 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 collapsed lungs twice, she had pneumonia 4-5
times a year, a ruptured appendix, and had a tonsillar cyst. Due to her
illnesses 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. Alba has also had asthma since she was a
child. Alba has said that her family's frequent moving also contributed to
her isolation from her peers. Alba has also acknowledged that she has
suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder during her childhood. Alba
graduated from high school at age 16, and she subsequently attended the
Atlantic Theater Company.
Alba expressed interest in acting since the age of five. In 1992, the
11-year-old Alba persuaded her mother to take her to an acting competition
in Beverly Hills, California whose 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 in a leading role
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 The 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 in the Drew Barrymore romantic
comedy Never Been Kissed, and as the female lead in the 1999 comedy-horror
film Idle Hands, opposite Devon Sawa.
Her big break came when writer/director James Cameron picked Alba from a
pool of 1,200 candidates for the role of the genetically-engineered
super-soldier, Max Guevara, on the Fox sci-fi television series Dark
Angel. Co-created by Cameron, the series starred Alba, and ran for two
seasons until 2002, earning her critical acclaim as well as a Golden Globe
nomination. Alba later revealed that she had suffered from an eating
disorder while in preparation for Dark Angel.
Alba has been well-received in popular culture. She received the Teen
Choice Award for Choice Actress and Saturn Award for Best Actress (TV) for
her role in Dark Angel. She has frequently appeared on Maxim's Hot 100
list. In 2006, Alba received an MTV Movie Award for "Sexiest Performance"
for Sin City. Her acting has also drawn criticism, however, as she was
nominated for a 2007 Razzie Award for Worst Actress for her performances
in Awake, Good Luck Chuck, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
She was also nominated for the same award in 2005 for her performances in
Fantastic Four and Into the Blue.
Alba's most notable film roles have included an aspiring
dancer-choreographer in Honey, exotic dancer Nancy Callahan in Sin City,
and as the Marvel Comics character Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman in
Fantastic Four, of which movie critic Mick LaSalle said that her
performance while talking for long periods of time was on "shaky ground".
She then appeared in its sequel, in Into the Blue later that year, and
Good Luck Chuck a few years later. Alba went on to host the 2006 MTV Movie
Awards and performed sketches spoofing the movies King Kong, Mission
Impossible 3, and The Da Vinci Code. In February, she hosted the Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Science and Technical Awards. Alba
has been represented by talent agents Patrick Whitesell and Brad
In 2008 Alba made her acting transition to the horror-film genre in The
Eye, a remake of the Hong Kong original. The film was released on February
1, 2008. Though the film was not well received by critics, Alba's
performance was both positively and negatively received. Alba won a Teen
Choice for Choice Movie Actress: Horror/Thriller and a Razzie Award for
Worst Actress-nomination. Also in 2008, Alba starred alongside Mike Myers
and Justin Timberlake in "box office bomb" The Love Guru. Both the film
and Alba's performance were panned by critics. Alba was nominated for a
Razzie Award for Worst Actress.
In late 2008, Alba signed on to star as the lead role in An Invisible Sign
of My Own. The movie finished filming in November, 2008. The film is
currently in post-production and is set to be released in 2009. Ugly Betty
star America Ferrera was originally set to star as the lead but had to
pull out due to filming commitments with her television show Ugly Betty.
Alba is set to star alongside Kate Hudson and Casey Affleck in the film
adaption of the book of the same name, The Killer Inside Me. In the movie,
currently filming, Alba will play Joyce Lakeland, a prostitute. The film
is set to be released in 2010. Alba has signed on to star in the 2010
romantic comedy Valentine's Day. Alba will star alongside Julia Roberts,
Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Emma Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, and Jennifer
Garner. The film is currently in pre-production and is set to be released
February 12, 2010.
In 2001, Alba was ranked No. 1 on Maxim's Hot 100 list. She said that "I
have to go to certain lengths to use sexuality to my advantage, while
guiding people to thinking the way I want them to." In 2005, Alba was
named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People, and also appeared
in the magazine's 100 Most Beautiful list in 2007. In 2002, Alba was voted
as the fifth Sexiest Female Star for 2002 in a Hollywood.com poll, #4 in
the Top 10 Sci-Fi Babes, #6 in FHM's Sexiest Girls for there poll, and
ranked at #12 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World" 2002
edition. In 2005 Alba was ranked at #5 on the Maxim magazine's Hot 100
On the cover of the March 2006 issue, Playboy magazine named Alba among
its 25 Sexiest Celebrities, and the Sex Star of the Year. Alba was
involved in litigation against Playboy for its use of her image (from a
promotional shot for Into the Blue) without her consent, which she
contends gave the appearance that she was featured in the issue in a "nude
pictorial". However, she later dropped the lawsuit after receiving a
personal apology from Playboy owner Hugh Hefner, who agreed to make
donations to two charities that Alba has supported.
Alba at the 2007 Spike TV AwardsIn 2006, Alba ranked #3 on E! Television's
101 Sexiest Celebrity Bodies. In 2006 readers of AskMen.com voted Alba No.
1 on 99 Most Desirable Women, while in 2007, Maxim Magazine placed Alba on
the number 2 spot of their "Top 100". Both GQ and In Style had Alba on
their June covers, and in May, after eight million votes, FHM (UK and USA
editions) named Alba the winner as "2007’s Sexiest Woman in the World".
Alba has been regarded as one of the world's most attractive women, being
named to Maxim's Hot 100 in 2008. In 2007 Alba was ranked in at #1 in
FHM's Sexiest Girls of 2007 poll, in the magazine's Latvian edition. Alba
was ranked #4 on Empire Magazine's 100 Sexiest Movie Stars in 2007. In
2006 and 2007 Alba was voted #1 as the most sexy woman in the world by the
Norwegian FHM. Alba appeared in the 2009 Campari calendar. Campari printed
9,999 copies of the calendar featuring photos of Alba posing sexually in
swimsuits, and high heels. In 2008 Alba was ranked #34 on Maxim's
magazine's Hot 100 list, was ranked #2 on Wizard magazine's "Sexiest Women
of TV" list, and was named in GQ Magazine one of the 25 Sexiest Women in
film of all time
Alba fears being typecast as a sex kitten based on the bulk of parts
offered to her, commenting, "Somehow, I don't think this is happening to
Natalie Portman." In the interview, Alba said she wants to be taken
seriously as an actress but believes she needs to do movies that she would
otherwise not be interested in to build her career, stating that
eventually she hopes to be more selective in her film projects. Alba also
maintains a strict no-nudity clause in her contract. She was given the
option to appear nude in Sin City by the film's directors, Frank Miller
and Robert Rodriguez, but declined the offer, saying, "I don't do nudity.
I just don't. Maybe that makes me a bad actress. Maybe I won't get hired
in some things. But I have too much anxiety". She remarked of a GQ shoot
in which she was scantily clad, "They didn't want me to wear the granny
panties, but I said, 'If I'm gonna be topless I need to wear granny
While filming Dark Angel in January 2000, Alba began a three year
relationship with her co-star Michael Weatherly, which caused controversy
due to their 12 year age gap. Weatherly proposed to Alba on her twentieth
birthday, which she accepted. In August 2003, Alba and Weatherly announced
that they'd ended their relationship. In July 2007, Alba spoke out about
the break up, saying "I don't know [why I got engaged]. I was a virgin. He
was 12 years older than me. I thought he knew better. My parents weren't
happy. They're really religious. They believe God wouldn't allow the Bible
to be written if it wasn't what they are supposed to believe. I'm
completely different." Alba had at one time said she envisioned a much
older man as her ideal partner, making references to Morgan Freeman, Sean
Connery, Robert Redford, and Michael Caine. She said, "I have this thing
for older men. They've been around and know so much."
Alba met Cash Warren, son of actor Michael Warren, while making Fantastic
Four in 2004. On December 27, 2007, Alba and Warren announced that they
were engaged. Alba married Warren in Los Angeles on Monday, May 19, 2008.
On June 7, 2008, Alba gave birth to a baby girl, Honor Marie Warren, at
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. The first pictures
of Honor Marie appeared in OK! magazine, which paid a reported $1.5
million for them. Alba has said that she would like to have more children.
"I'm really good at being
sarcastic with guys. That's the best way to hang out with them,
because that's what guys like. They don't want the quiet, prissy
"I like Spongebob Squarepants. He's goofy, like me."
I just don't have a great feeling about what we're doing in Iraq. I
don't know why we're there. Didn't we just give the power back over
there? Why are we still there? [July 2004]
"My father is Mexican and very dark; my mother is very fair. I used
to always get [script] breakdowns for things like Maria, the
janitor's daughter who hangs around with white kids. I was born in
the United States. I never thought about it until the industry made
me think about being a Latin girl. It seemed like such a bizarre
thing." (commenting on racial stereotyping).
"My grandfather was the only Mexican at his college, the only
Hispanic person at work and the only one at the all-white country
club. He tried to forget his Mexican roots, because he never wanted
his kids to be made to feel different in America. He and my
grandmother didn't speak Spanish to their children. Now, as a
third-generation American, I feel as if I have finally cut loose."
"Men are much bigger divas than women. When I used to do the action
scenes in "Dark Angel" (2000) I would have to play it rough. If you
hit an actress accidentally, she would usually take it on the chin
and say, `Don't do that again.' But with the guys, they would put
ice on it, take a 20-minute break and ask for X-rays. It was
unbelievable. I would tell them, `Come on, man, get over it.' That's
actors for you."
"There is always an unspoken problem about casting Latina actresses.
I have heard Jennifer Lopez talk about how it was for her, always
being up for the role of the Latina chick."
"What happens when the looks fade?. If I don't establish myself as
someone who can act a part rather than look the part, I will soon be
"I love listening to Coldplay. But sometimes I listen to it too much
and it depresses me. I call it a 'reflective' mood."
"The most important thing I have learned in life was that being a
teenager wasn't forever. I had a hard time being a teenager."
"I don't hang out with the Hollywood cool people. I'm not out trying
to make friends with people because they're famous."
"I have my own spiritual thing, but am not part of an organized
religion. I think religion is very special and individual to each
"I don't need to be in the press or seen. Just because I'm not in
magazines or because I'm not in a movie doesn't mean I'm going away.
It just means I have some sense of integrity."
"Living in L.A., everyone likes to mold you and change you. I don't
care about fame, I don't care about being a celebrity. I know that's
part of the job, but I don't feed into anyone's idea of who I should
'I used to come to Beverly Hills for auditions as a kid and think,
"Why don't I live here? Why don't I drive that car?"'
'I wasn't given a whole lot in my life. I was on the bottom of the
class system. But I got wisdom. I never just did what people told
me. I questioned everything. When I look back, it is really no
surprise that I started working at 12.'
'From a very early age, I remember thinking that adults were always
acting like assholes. I couldn't understand why I had to respect
them. My pre-school teacher forced me to write right-handed when I
was left-handed. I didn't get why I had to change. Nobody could give
me a reason. I have had a big problem with authority ever since.'
On being raised by young parents: 'We all grew up together. My
parents were so young. My dad hates it when I talk about our past,
about not having things, living with Grandma, wearing thrift-store
clothes, cutting coupons.'
On learning Spanish: 'I have a great accent because I grew up
hearing it in the neighbourhood. But I have no idea what I'm
On growing up in L.A.: 'I never really belonged anywhere. I wasn't
white. I was shunned by the Latin community for not being Latin
enough. My grandfather was the only one in our family to go to
college. He made a choice not to speak Spanish in the house. He
didn't want his kids to be different.'
'It's not always so great to be objectified but I don't feel I have
much of a choice right now. I'm young in my career. I know I have to
strike when the iron is hot. I look forward to the day when I can do
a small movie and act and it's not about me wearing a bathing suit
"One of the reasons why I chose not to be a devout Christian is
because a lot of people gave me a lot of grief for just being a
woman and made me feel ashamed for having a body because it tempted
men. I didn't understand what that meant because I was like, 'God
created this...' That was a hard time in my life."
"I just didn't like the damsel-in-distress thing. I could relate to
young girls wanting to see her take care of herself. And because I'm
so good at action, I talked the writer and producer and director
into throwing together a little fight sequence. It ended up taking
three more weeks to shoot it. But at least I'm not tied up and
asleep until my knight in shining armor comes and saves me. So I
thought it was cool."
"My whole life, when I was growing up, not one race has ever
accepted me. So I never felt connected or attached to any race
specifically. I did grow up in a Mexican-American culture, but my
mom [who's of French and Danish heritage] was there the whole time.
I mean, I had a very American upbringing, I feel American, and I
don't speak Spanish. So, to say that I'm a Latin actress, OK, but
it's not fitting; it would be insincere. If you're going to look
genetically, I'm actually less Latin than Cameron Diaz, whose father
is from Cuba. But she's not getting called a Latin actress because
she's got blond hair and blue eyes."
"The movies that I do are usually physically demanding in one way or
another. It's a good way to keep your health on track. Especially
when you've been on- set for 14 hours, it's nice to relieve that
stress in another way than having to rely on a big meal and wine."
"Thank you to the fans. I do movies for you. Practice safe sex and
drive hybrids if you can."
"My first kiss was when I was 7, and it was scandalous because he
was 10! I only did it so he would pick me on our neighborhood
baseball team. And at the time, I thought it was great, but then it
sucked because he didn't even pick me!"
Men's magazines have nipples so why don't women have a magazine
where men show their penises? There's Playgirl but not a fashion
magazine like Elle. If there was a magazine like that I'd buy it.
Nudity's not a big deal to me . . . I've said I won't go naked in
any of my movies, because I don't want to. But that doesn't mean I
don't want to see other people strip off!