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We all know Jessica Alba as the beautiful, over-the-top star of Sin City and a slew of other blockbusters. But, she’s also totally devoted to creating a healthy, nontoxic life for herself and her family. That’s why she launched The Honest Company with her business partner, Chris Gavigan, two years ago. Both parents, Alba and Gavigan saw a need to make safe, natural, and sustainable products for kids, adults, and the home.
Now, Alba juggles the demands of stardom with being an entrepreneur and mom so she supports quick, easy fixes to create the healthiest life possible — but not without giving herself a break. Ahead, we chat with Alba and Gavigan on the origin of their company, their go-to snacks, and how to balance parenting with a totally demanding work schedule.
What spurred you to start The Honest Company?
Jessica Alba: “You know how exhausting it is when you realize moms know everything? Well, they don’t start out that way — we’re a work in progress and we’re doing the best with what we’ve got. Growing up on a tight budget and cutting coupons, my mom was a master of doing a lot with a little, so when she told me about a fancy laundry detergent she used for my clothes when I was a baby, I knew this recommendation was a big deal.
“I was so surprised when I started sneezing from the fragrance and even more shocked when I broke out in a rash after folding the first load. It turns out the products my mom remembered may have looked the same, but, since then, so many toxic chemicals have entered the consumer marketplace that they’re virtually unrecognizable (and unpronounceable) and definitely unhealthy for developing babies: They’ve been linked to chronic illness in children, allergies and asthma, learning disabilities, obesity, and childhood cancers. (For more info, check out the Dr. Phil Landrigan Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai and Healthy Child Healthy World.)
“That was when I started asking questions — not just about this detergent, but also about everything that I was about to introduce to my new child. It’s what inspired a very pregnant me to corner Christopher at his book launch for Healthy Child Healthy World and ask him why there wasn’t just one brand to trust for safe, environmentally friendly, effective and affordable family products. It wasn’t too long after that when we went from idea to action, and The Honest Company was born!”
It is hard to imagine how Jessica Alba finds the time to make movies. After all, she’s the boss of her own eco-friendly home and baby products outfit, The Honest Company, the mother of two young children, and the author of her own health manual, The Honest Life, published last spring.
Yet she still managed to shoot four films last year, including How to Make Love Like an Englishman opposite Pierce Brosnan and Sin City: A Dame to Die For, in which she stars in the long-awaited sequel to the original 2005 Sin City directed by Robert Rodriguez and adapted from the Frank Miller graphic novel. The 32-year-old actress is thrilled to have had the chance to reprise her role as exotic dancer Nancy Callahan, one of the iconic characters of her career.
“It’s a lot more intense this time around,” Alba explains. “Nancy is pretty messed up. She’s an alcoholic, she’s self-destructive, and nothing is going right for her. But she fights back, she gets to shoot people, and it was really fun to get to play her again. It was one of those cathartic and liberating experiences for me to let loose and jump into her world. I had almost given up hoping that the sequel would ever get made, so it was a wonderful surprise when Robert Rodriguez called told me to get ready!”
The recent release of the trailer Sin City: A Dame to Die For has already created a massive wave of interest across the internet as it features Alba looking dark and troubled in a black bra. Though she generally avoids roles that focus on her looks, this film leaves little doubt that the former pin-up girl remains one of the sexiest women in Hollywood.
Aside from movies, Alba enjoys being the hands-on president of The Honest Company which she co-founded in 2012 order to offer mothers healthy, non-toxic baby products that are free of harmful chemicals found in many shampoos, soaps, baby-wipes, plastics, mattresses, and household cleaning supplies.
Armed with $52 million in venture capital, the firm is based in L.A and employs over 200 people. “Many people don’t even realise that there is lead in their lipstick, or that petrochemicals in your laundry detergent could be making you sick,” Alba, who suffered from many chemical-related allergies as a child, observed.
Alba grew up as an Air Force brat whose father Mark is a Mexican-American Air Force staff sergeant while her mother, Catherine is a homemaker of French, Danish and Canadian descent. Jessica, a Revlon beauty ambassador, lives with her producer husband Cash Warren in Los Angeles together with their children Honor, five, and Haven, two.
When recently asked about whether she plans on adding to their brood, she replied: “I’m 32 so I don’t know if the shop is closed. I’m sure I won’t be trying any time soon, though.”
Jessica Alba’s dance moves still impress director Robert Rodriguez.
The actress slips back into her sexy stripper clothes in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” a follow-up to the director’s 2005 hit “Sin City” — and, according to him, she’s sexier than ever.
“She’s more ripped now than she was then,” Rodriguez told toofab’s Brian Particelli while promoting his “From Dusk Till Dawn” TV series at SXSW.
“She came in with this choreography that just, we’re going ‘This is our life? We get to film this for two days?’” the pleased director adds. “She’s amazing, she really took her character and ran with it.”