Jessica Alba’s Childhood Dream Was To Be An Actress, So Where Is She Now?

Jessica Alba’s entrance into Hollywood was the kind of story most kids dream about. Her talent carried her in front of the screen right away. She climbed the ladder through her adolescence and grew up into a gorgeous star by the time she was a young woman. However, her lack of screen presence in recent years has some fans asking where she went. It turns out that Jessica hasn’t gone anywhere. Read on to find out how she transitioned from the “It Girl” to someone we don’t see on the big screen too much anymore.

Frequent Moving At A Young Age

Teenage Jessica Alba on the beach
Heidi/ Pinterest
Heidi/ Pinterest

Jessica Alba was born in Pomona, California in 1981, to parents who have served in the U.S. Air Force. Her mother’s Danish, Welsh, German, English and French ancestry combined with her father’s Mexican descent gave her a look that’s hard to pin. This racial ambiguity would help her as an actress in later years but she sometimes wondered what community she belonged in.

Jessica’s family moved to Massachusetts when she was an infant, then back to California, then Texas, and finally to Southern California permanently when she was nine.

She Had A Dream

Jessica poses for a photo in front of a foresty valley.
Camille Vo/ Pinterest
Camille Vo/ Pinterest

Jessica had wanted to become an actress from the time she was five years old. Three years after her family settled down in Southern California, she finally was able to take an acting class at twelve years old.

The transition was sparked by an acting competition in Beverly Hills. Jessica was just 11 years old and hadn’t yet been professionally trained, but she won the competition anyway. The prize was a scholarship for acting classes.

Then Her Acting Career Began

Young Jessica smirks while looking ahead
Oldman Jenkins/ Pinterest
Oldman Jenkins/ Pinterest

Jessica was signed by a talent agent just nine months into her acting classes. In 1993 she landed her film debut in Camp Nowhere, which she was only supposed to shoot for two weeks. Instead, she was kept on for two months after the actress playing Gail dropped out.

According to IMDb, Jessica admits that she was chosen because her hair was so similar to the original actress. Regardless, she pulled it off and earned her first acting credit.

She Started Booking Roles Left And Right

Jessica is photographed delivering a line
We Heart It/ Pinterest
We Heart It/ Pinterest

A couple of television commercials later, the young star landed her first recurring role in the Nickelodeon series The Secret World of Alex Mack. In 1995, Jessica got to put some of her other talents to use when she flew to Australia and utilized her swimming background in the series Flipper.

She starred in the series for two years until she was sixteen. The same year, she graduated from Claremont High School and began attending the Atlantic Theater Company in New York, which was founded by William H. Macy and David Mamet in 1985.

But Life Hadn’t Been A Fairytale

Teenage Jessica looks solemn
We Heart It/ Pinterest
We Heart It/ Pinterest

According to The Famous People, Alba suffered from partially collapsed lungs, a ruptured appendix, asthma, and tonsillar cyst, and OCD throughout her childhood. Additionally, Alba told The Rolling Stone that it felt as though she and her parents “grew up together,” being that they were quite young at the time they had her.

Alba has also described her family as being a very traditional, Catholic, Latin American family, while she describes herself as being very liberal.

Alba Became A Dark Angel

Jessica signs autographs at the premiere of Dark Angel
Steve W Grayson/Newsmakers
Steve W Grayson/Newsmakers

Throughout 1998, Jessica appeared in popular teen-driven productions such as Never Been Kissed and Beverly Hills 90210. However, the role that put her on the map came when she was chosen to play Max Guevara in the series Dark Angel.

Not only did her performance in the show earn her a plethora of recognitions, but also the role itself became a symbol of female empowerment. Writer Bronwen Auty says that the character was designed to be an “archetypal modern feminist hero.”

Her First Hollywood Romance

Jessica places her hand on Michael's chest, revealing their engagement ring
Jeff Vespa/WireImage
Jeff Vespa/WireImage

While filming Dark Angel, Jessica Alba began dating her costar, actor Michael Weatherly. The relationship lasted three years, and apparently Jessica’s parents did not approve of the relationship. Nevertheless, the two got engaged on her 20th birthday.

Jessica told Starpulse that she didn’t know why she got engaged, only that she thought Michael knew what he was doing because he was twelve years her senior. Fortunately, the two came to their senses before tying the knot. They broke things off in 2003.

Film Success

Jessica smiles for cameras at a movie premiere
Chris Polk/FilmMagic
Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Jessica hit the big screen the same year she and Michael called it quits. She danced off the stress of her ended relationship in the film Honey, where she played an aspiring dance choreographer. She then took a sharp turn from the corny, uplifting flick and went back to the dark side.

In 2005, Jessica landed a lead in the film Sin City. The high-grossing film was based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel and was praised by critics. Jessica’s role won her recognition at the MTV Movie Awards.

The Invisible Woman

Jessica runs through New York while shooting Fantastic Four
Johnny Nunez/WireImage
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Jessica portrayed the Marvel Comics hero The Invisible Women, aka Sue Storm, in Fantastic Four which hit theaters in 2005. The film was her highest-grossing blockbuster up to that point, bringing in $333.5 million worldwide.

An article published in The Guardian in 2005 mentioned the movie’s undeniable paradox. “Having been admitted to the story on the grounds of her beauty, [Alba’s] superpower is to be invisible.” As it turns out, Bradshaw had foreseen an issue that was the start of the end for Alba’s acting career.

“Cry Pretty”

fantastic-four_pbzPwO
MovieStillsDB
MovieStillsDB

In 2007, the Fantastic Four franchise continued with their second film, Rise of the Silver Surfer. The film grossed nearly as much as its predecessor, bringing in $290 million at the box office. Despite its economic success, it didn’t take long for controversy to stir following a candid interview Jessica had regarding the director of the film.

Alba criticized Tim Story for telling her, “It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica.”

She No Longer Took The Industry Seriously

jessica1
Nick Colangelo/ Pinterest
Nick Colangelo/ Pinterest

Jessica also said that the director told her, “Don’t do that thing with your face. Just make it flat. We can CGI the tears in.” Jessica told Elle magazine that the experience made her question her instincts, and whether or not she was good at her craft.

“Am I not allowed to be a person in my work?” she asked the magazine. She concluded that she no longer cared about the entertainment industry. This sentiment certainly explains her next set experience.

Good Luck, Jessica

Jessica Alba and Dane Cook at the premiere of Good Luck Chuck
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Jessica parted from her more serious, action-driven roles to play a part that had everything to do with her good looks. The 2007 comedy is called Good Luck Chuck, following a cursed womanizer, Dane Cook, as he tries to break the curse so he can be with the woman of his dreams, Jessica Alba.

Jessica put down the movie’s set in an interview with Elle, calling it a “boy’s set” and saying that they took advantage of young female actresses. The savvy Jessica said, “But every day when I was done, I ran away. I was like, `Bye.’ As long as they didn’t disrespect me, I could give a rat’s butt.”

Her Flopping Movies

Jessica wears an Indian costume while performing in The Love Guru
MovieStillsDB
MovieStillsDB

In 2008, Jessica starred in a horror film titled The Eye. The movie was not well received by critics and earned Jessica the unfortunate Razzie Award nomination for worst actress.

The same year she was in The Love Guru, which was written and produced by the movie’s leading man, Mike Myers. While the San Francisco Chronicle gave Jessica the benefit of the doubt by saying she finally looked “relaxed on camera,” the film itself was another flop.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage

Jessica Alba looks lovingly at her husband, Cash Warren
Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Back in 2004, Jessica met Cash Warren, the director’s assistant of Fantastic Four. Cash is a Yale graduate whose father, Michael Warren, starred in Hill Street Blues. Having grown up in the industry as well, Cash and Jessica had an immediate connection.

The two had a hush-hush wedding in a Beverly Hills courthouse in 2008. Shortly thereafter Jessica gave birth to their first child. In 2011, she told Us Weekly that Cash is, “the first one to come up and say, ‘You can do this, I believe in you.’ I don’t know what I’d do without him there.”

Cranking Out The Pop Flicks

Jessica Alba and Ashton Kutcher embrace in the movie Valentine's Day
MovieStillDB
MovieStillDB

Jessica bounced back from her weak movie stint, starring in big-screen hits such as Valentine’s Day and Little Fockers. Both films transcended their negative reviews, bringing in over $200 million in the box office each.

Aside from the lighthearted films, Jessica took a serious role in the movie Machete, which chronicles the experience of an immigration officer who grapples with her own morality. The film also starred Robert De Niro and grossed $44 million globally.

Charged With Vandalism

Jessica looks down while paparazzi snap photos of her and Cash in LA
PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

In 2009, while filming the horror film The Killer Inside Me in Oklahoma City, Jessica made a bold entrance into philanthropic work. The actress super-glued posters of sharks on a bridge, electrical boxes, and a billboard in downtown.

Police linked the crime to Jessica after photos of her carrying buckets of glue at the vandalism sites were posted online. Jessica made a public statement that she “got involved in something I should have had no part of,” referring to her efforts to bring attention to the diminishing population of great white sharks.

Back In Action

Jessica Alba looks at her watch in Spy Kids
MovieStillDB
MovieStillDB

Jessica starred in the most recent Spy Kids film in 2011, along with Escape From Planet Earth, Stretch, Barely Lethal, and Mechanic: Resurrection. She also starred in two sequels, Machete Kills, which was not successful, and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, which received some criticism.

Sin City director Frank Miller told Elle that Jessica’s roles were “ridiculously limiting,” and that he’s “interested in unveiling her talent.” His efforts may have backfired, as Vanity writes that the sequel was a “limp attempt to turn Alba’s character from an exploited figure into an empowered one.”

The Honest Company

Jessica speaks onstage at an Honest Company event
Stefanie Keenan/WireImage
Stefanie Keenan/WireImage

Jessica Alba and her business partner Christopher Gavigan launched a collection of non-toxic products in 2012 under the company name, The Honest Company. Products include diapers, body and baby care products, and as of 2015 extended to beauty products.

A year after the company launched, Alba released The Honest Life, a book about her experience creating a toxin-free life for her family. The book landed number eight on the New York Times bestseller list in 2013.

Baby2Baby

Jessica holds honest diapers at a Baby2Baby event
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Baby2Baby
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Baby2Baby

Jessica has been an advocate for several charity organizations. She is an ambassador for Baby2Baby, known as an “angel.” The company distributes donated items such as diapers and clothing to families in need in the Los Angeles area. She’s pictured here donating her Honest brand diapers to a Baby2Baby event.

She is also an ambassador for the 1Goal movement, which seeks to provide education to children in Africa. Her other charity work includes, “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” according to The Famous People.

Family Life Is Most Important

Jessica poses with her husband and their three children at a holiday party
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Baby2Baby
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Baby2Baby

These days, Jessica says that acting had been “the easy job. It’s like vacation!” In her interview with Elle, she described a typical day as getting up early, dropping off the kids, and doing meetings all day.

She says she feels the pressure of having so many employees and customers who rely on her, on top of her family who she wants to make proud. With so much happening in her business and family life, it’s no surprise we see less Jessica on the big screen these days.