jessica Alba had recently given birth to her third child and taken a long acting hiatus when she heard about plans to make the femaledriven TV action series, LA’s Finest.
“I stopped working for a while as an actress, because I was focused on my business and family,” says the famous founder of The Honest Company, a successful consumer goods company specialising in safe and effective baby and beauty products. “I was waiting for the thing that just felt right in my gut to pull me back into entertainment, and I’d been offered many things in television before but it just never really sat right.”
Then came a call from her friend, actress Gabrielle Union, who wanted to revive her own badass role from the Bad Boys films starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and create a TV spin-off featuring two female detectives in the lead roles, pursuing some of LA’s baddest. “It felt right to do a two-hander,” Alba recalls of the conversation. “It felt right for it to be action and it felt right for it to have that Jerry Bruckheimer brand behind it but mostly I said yes because Gab was behind it as the creator and I knew we’d have a respectful relationship on set and she wanted me to help create my character alongside her.”
Bad Girls On Set
In the new series, Gabrielle Union’s Syd – an undercover DEA agent who was the sister of Detective Lieutenant Marcus Burnett (a role Martin Lawrence made famous) and girlfriend of his partner, Mike Lowrey (originally played by Will Smith) – is now single with an active dating life. She’s relocated to Los Angeles from Miami and is now partnered with the happily married Detective Nancy McKenna (played by Jessica), who is also a stepmother of a teenage daughter with some secrets of her own.
Jessica has been acting since she was 13 and got her breakthrough at 18, when she was chosen by director James Cameron to play a genetically engineered human prototype in his futuristic TV series, Dark Angel. As well as an impressive list of movie credits including Sin City, Valentine’s Day, Machete and Little Fockers, Jessica found happiness outside Hollywood, marrying entrepreneur Cash Warren in 2008 and the couple have three children: Daughters Honor, 10, and Haven, seven; and son, Hayes, one.
Jessica is proud of becoming one of the growing number of women driving TV shows. “You’ve seen two men do this a lot in films like Bad Boys, Lethal Weapon and Men in Black as well as lots of TV shows too,” she says. “You just don’t get to see women have fun and do action together because we’re put in a box as the sidekick or girlfriend so it was cool to play roles usually written for men.”
The Juggling Act
Although she looks younger than her 38 years with perfect skin and glowing complexion, the actress and businesswoman confides that she often struggles with juggling two careers and three children, especially after being up all night with her seven-year-old daughter before we sat down at a Beverly Hills hotel to chat. “She was sick last night with a hacking cough and I had to move her upstairs as I didn’t want her to cough on the baby,” she apologises for being more exhausted than usual. “You just try to parent as best you can, given the dayto-day circumstances.”
She balks at the question of having more kids. “I don’t think I have it in me because even now, when I get home in time for bath and bed with the kids, I’ve worked a 10- to 12-hour day so then that’s another two hours of me not eating, going from being in work mode to mum mode, and being so tired at the end of the day, I’m like, ‘but I still haven’t eaten anything or looked at my emails!’.”
Giving birth to her first child 10 years ago changed everything for Jessica. “My priorities took on a different weight because I wanted to have a personal life and a relationship and never got to do any of that before. I’d been acting since I was 12,” she says, “so I was living this very nomadic life and although I had family and friends, I was never able to have a birthday and be surrounded by them because I was too busy! Having Honor really forced me to choose to create a life outside my career.”
A Simple Life
Jessica admits that she’s still searching for peace in her life. “I have a really hard time trusting stillness,” she says. “I feel like the only time I’ve ever allowed myself stillness or a moment to breathe is my last month of pregnancy with all three of my kids, and probably their first month in the world, because I’m so tired that my body just stops and I get to just look at a little person and cuddle them and breastfeed them and cry with them, then wake up and look at them and change their diaper and feed them. It’s such a simple thing,” she muses, “but I guess I’m always wishing that I knew how to be that still more often.”
Having so much success from such a young age as an actress, it’s easy to forget that Jessica’s own childhood was marked by a multitude of physical maladies and inspired her to pursue acting. She suffered from partially collapsed lungs twice, had pneumonia four to five times a year and also suffered from a ruptured appendix, a tonsillar cyst and chronic asthma. “I was a really sick kid, and I spent a lot of time in hospitals and didn’t have a lot of friends,” she confesses.
“For me, Hollywood was a space where I could be someone else and I got to dream,” she says. “In that space, you can be a superhero, a leader, a villain and you could tell fun stories so it was an escape.” These days there is little time to escape because of her family and three kids, but Jessica is certainly not complaining.
Jessica has been married to entrepreneur , Cash Warren, since 2008 and the couple have three beautiful childr en together: Honor, Haven and Hayes.
Gabrielle Union is Jessica's - and off screen partner – from starring as fellow crime fighters in LA’s Fines to sharing producing duties for the Bad Boys spin - off series.
"It was cool to play roles usually written for men"
Whether she’s going full-on glam for an awards show or totally bare-faced post workout, Jessica honestly looks great no matter the occasion. We take a look at her best beauty moments:
Major movie star vibes were on display when Jessica hit the Vanity Fair Oscar Party with beautifully glossy skin that complemented her slinky outfit. Get party perfect like Jessica with Bybi Beauty Babe Balm, $35 (30 ml), for that gorgeous hint of highlight.
With such a playful and frilly frock, Jessica kept her cool by pairing a berry lip with a wash of bronzy glow. Try using Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi AntiPollution Sunshine Drops, $50 (30 ml), on the high points of your face and shine like a goddess.
The Latin stunner turned up the heat at the LA’s Finest red carpet by choosing to match her gorgeous crimson pout to her dress. She also made sure to put her best face forward by sweeping her fringe off her lovely visage. Keep your facial features in tip-top shape with Gallinee Youthful Serum, $95 (30 ml).
TEXT: JENNY COONEY / ADDITIONAL REPORTING: NATALYA MOLOK / PHOTOS: © NINO MUNOZ / CPI SYNDICATION / HEADPRESS / TPG NEWS / INSTAGRAM: @JESSICAALBA