Though born in Pomona, California on April 28, 1981, Jessica Maria Alba moved to Biloxi, Mississippi while still an infant when her father was transferred by the military. The peripatetic army brat came back to California with her family at the age of three, before relocating to Texas, and then finally settling in California at the age of nine.
Soon thereafter, Jessica exhibited a serious interest in acting, and landed her first screen role in a kiddie comedy called Camp Nowhere. She next made a string of support appearances on TV and in movies till landing the breakout role as the Dark Angel on the Fox-TV series of the same name. Since, she has starred in such films as Good Luck Chuck, Awake, Fantastic Four 1 & 2, Sin City, Honey, The Ten and Into the Blue.
Alba, an attractive blend of Latino, French and Danish, was named #1 on Maxim’s Hot 100 List of 2001, #1 on Ask Men’s 99 Most Desirable Women List of 2006, #6 on FHM’s Sexiest Girls of 2002, #3 on E TV’s 101 Sexiest Celebrity Bodies, of 2006, #4 on Empire Magazine’s 100 Sexiest Movie Stars of 2007, #12 on Stuff Magazine’s 102 Sexiest Women in the World List, Victoria Secret’s Sexiest Woman Celebrity in 2007, etcetera.
Jessica’s about to trade in that pinup image for mother and wife, because she’s expecting and engaged to actor Cash Warren, son of UCLA basketball great Mike Warren. Here, she talks about her life, her career, and her new movie, The Eye, a horror flick where she plays a blind violinist haunted by frightening visions after her sight is restored by a double corneal transplant operation.
KW: Hi Jessica, congratulations on the baby.
JA: Thank you.
KW: Have you picked out a name yet?
JA: I’m thinking of names.
KW: What are some of the ones you’re considering?
JA: I would never share that.
KW: How do you think life will change after the baby is born?
JA: I have to believe that when you have a child and you have someone that needs you and needs your time, you kind of can’t be self-interested anymore and you have to consider that any time you spend away from your child is invaluable.
And so I think I’ll just probably be a bit more choosy and not work for two years straight like I just did.
KW: You get a lot of attention because of your looks. Has that influenced how you pick parts?
JA: I never base anything on my appearance, to be honest with you. I don’t think that people would hire me just because of that. There’s so many much, much cuter girls in L.A. that would do just about anything to get roles. And if it was just about looks they would be getting them. So I have to believe that I bring more to the table than that. And whether it’s likeability or an appeal or something more, I don’t know.
KW: Do you think you’ll find yourself gravitating towards different types of roles now?
JA: I think, initially, I’m going to probably do more character-driven roles, more indies, ensemble casts, smaller budget. Not necessarily the big, box-office, tent-pole movies. And then, I’ve always had my eye out for an action movie since I finished Dark Angel. It’s been this long since I finished that and I still haven’t found that good, female-driven, action flick I’ve been looking for. So, if you have any suggestions, send them my way.
KW: Will do. What sort of research did you do for this role where you had to play a blind person?
JA: I went to a blind orientation center in LA and one in New Mexico. And I lived among people who were learning to deal with blindness, particularly in New Mexico. And I learned how to read braille, how to label everything in the house, and to walk with my cane. I just sort of learned how to exist as someone with blindness.
KW: Which did you find more challenging? Playing the violin or playing blind?
JA: Violin was definitely more difficult, because I played a soloist, the best of the best. There are people who’ve been playing that instrument since they were three years-old and who practice eight hours a day who still don’t become soloists. They’re just in the orchestra. So, that was tough for me because I wanted to come off as realistic and as believable as possible in order for the audience to really take the journey with me in this movie.
KW: How is this version of The Eye different from the original?
JA: The Hong Kong version was more bitter than sweet in the end. And ours was definitely bittersweet, without giving anything away.
KW: Your previous picture was Awake, another thriller. How does that compare to The Eye?
JA: Wow, they don’t compare at all. The Eye is way more scary. It’s a horror movie, for sure. Awake is more a psychological thriller about someone who is dealing with a surgery and trust. And everyone in his life is sort of betraying him.
The Eye’s about a girl who has a corneal transplant. She gains the ability to see, she takes on psychic abilities of the girl, of the donor, and starts to see death before it happens, and she doesn’t understand. She’s literally seeing for the first time, taking in the world, and also seeing horrible things. So yeah, The Eye’s definitely more scary.
KW: What’s up next for you?
JA: I am coming out in a comedy with Mike Myers, The Love Guru, which is his first original character since Austin Powers. It’s absolutely hilarious! To me, this was like a dream come true, because he is the Peter Sellers of our generation, I feel. He’s a genius and he’s primed in every phrase in pop culture. That was huge because I love comedy and, if you’re going to work with anybody in comedy, Mike is definitely someone to learn from.
KW: What’s the movie about?
JA: I play the owner of a hockey team and he is a guru who fixes peoples, an all around guru. But it’s mostly about love and loving yourself and fixing your love life. My key hockey player’s love life is totally screwed up and our team is losing, and everyone thinks the team is cursed because of me. So, I hire Mike Myers to fix my guy’s love life and hopefully we can win the Stanley Cup. It’s a very funny broad comedy.
KW: Do you have anything to say about the untimely death of Heath Ledger?
JA: Oh my God, it was… it’s such a huge loss, and the most tragic, saddest thing ever… I can’t imagine a more… it was just horrible. And I just feel for his family and his friends and everyone that’s close to him. And I… I don’t know… I guess I’m just sensitive to the fact that he is in the public eye and the fact that people can all have an opinion about him when I feel like he should just rest in peace and people should grieve without having this extra attention on how he passed.
It’s a huge loss for the acting community and really so, so shocking and so, so sad.
KW: Columbus Short gave me this question. Are you happy?
JA: [Sarcastically] You know what? I sound so bummed out right now. Of course, I’m happy.
KW: Where in L.A. do you live?
JA: In L.A.
KW: Will you tell me the general neighborhood? Nosy Jimmy Bayan, realtor to the stars, wants to know.
JA: I live in L.A. in the hills. [Hollywood Hills]
KW: Is there a question you always want to be asked but no one ever asks you?
JA: Not really, reporters get pretty in there. They get right to just about everything.
KW: Well, best of luck with the baby and thanks for the time.
JA: No worries. Bye.