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 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 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 collapsed lungs twice, had pneumonia 4-5 times a year, as well as a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. 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. She 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 Cafarelli.
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 in post-production and set to be released in 2010. 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 starred alongside Kate Hudson
and Casey Affleck in the film adaption of the book of the same name, The Killer Inside Me. In the movie, Alba played Joyce Lakeland, a prostitute. The film is set to be released in 2010. Also in 2010, Alba starred in the romantic comedy Valentine's Day
, alongside Julia Roberts
, Anne Hathaway
, Jessica Biel
, Emma Roberts, Ashton Kutcher
, and Jennifer Garner
. The film was released on February 12, 2010.
In 2001, Alba was ranked No. 1 on Maxim magazine'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 list.
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.
When reports surfaced that a 21-year-old Chinese girl was seeking plastic surgery to resemble Alba in order to win back an ex-boyfriend, the star spoke out against the perceived need to change one's appearance for love.
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 panties."
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 twelve 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.
Charity and politics
In 2005 Alba offered her acting talents for free, to raise money for AIDS charity Amfar at the Cannes Film Festival. The Industry had held a benefit for the US research foundation. Alba had caused "the greatest stir" by promising to star as an unpaid actress in one of The Lord of the Rings producer Bob Weinstein's movies, if Weinstein agreed to bid $100,000 for tennis lessons with sports stars Monica Seles and Boris Becker.
Alba's charity work includes participation with Clothes Off Our Back, Habitat for Humanity, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Project HOME, RADD, Revlon Run/Walk for Women, SOS Children Villages, Soles4Souls, and Step up. Alba openly endorsed and supported Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama during the 2008 primary season.
Alba posed for a bondage-themed print advertising campaign by Declare Yourself, a campaign encouraging voter registration among youth for the 2008 United States presidential election. The ads photographed by Mark Liddell, which feature Alba wrapped in and gagged with black tape, drew national media attention. The ads were described by some as being "Shocking". Alba said of doing the advertisements that "it didn't freak me out at all." Alba also said "I think it is important for young people to be aware of the need we have in this country to get them more active politically," and "People respond to things that are shocking."
In June 2009, while filming The Killer Inside Me in Oklahoma City, Alba "provoked" residents when she pasted posters of sharks around town. Alba said that she was trying to bring attention to the diminishing population of great white sharks. Media outlets speculated that Alba would be pursued and charged with vandalism. On June 16, 2009, Oklahoma City police said that they wouldn't pursue criminal charges against Alba, because none of the property owners wanted to pursue it. Alba apologized in a statement to People Magazine and said that she regretted her actions. She later donated an undisclosed amount of money (over $500) to the United Way, whose billboard she had obscured with one of the shark posters.
Biography courtesy of Wikipedia