She is one of Hollywood’s sexiest actresses, a mother, an entrepreneur and a style icon. Jessica Alba is gracefully bracing our cover this month and eniGma’s Salma Hussein brings you the scoop on her life, acting career, and on being Braun’s new brand ambassador.
I could barely contain my excitement when I first found out I would be attending the Braun Break Free event in Dubai where Jessica Alba, one of Hollywood’s A-listers and style icons, would be present. What made it even more exhilarating was that I was going to have the opportunity for a one-on-one with Alba, the Braun brand ambassador. But I knew I only had fifteen minutes with the gorgeous actress, so I had to think of everything I’ve wanted to ask Alba since I was watching her on screen as a teenager.
I woke up earlier than usual to avoid being late to my interview. I tried to relax and process the incredible opportunity I was given, as I walked toward the room Alba was in. I entered the private reception area at the Waldorf Dubai overlooking the beach and saw her sitting on a couch at the end of the room in a stunning pastel blue dress and a black blazer.
I began by asking her about the moment she wholeheartedly knew she wanted to pursue her dream of acting. Alba claimed it was when, at the age of 18, she was chosen by James Cameron to star in the series Dark Angel. Surprisingly, before she went to college, she had never planned to pursue acting as a career, but after her successful role on the television show, she realised that the acting business was where she belonged. “I felt like maybe I could actually do this for a living,” said Alba.
From Dark Angel to Fantastic Four, her roles consistently portrayed women with strength and independence. I wanted to know whether this was something she consciously pursued and how somehow this led to her being chosen as the face of Braun. She smiled, and as I expected, her answer confirmed my assumption. “I think they were roles that I was drawn to because they portrayed strong, independent women who weren’t dependent on being saved by a man. I’m attracted to those types of roles where the woman is taking control of her own life and doesn’t necessarily need a man to rescue her. Since I was young, I’ve always been interested in those types of women.”
It’s impossible not to notice the independent side of Alba, how she speaks very confidently, albeit with an easygoing, humble demeanor. Having appeared in different series and movies, Alba said that she learned something new from every role she played. Working on Dark Angel taught her about being “a professional and showing up, working hard, and having discipline.” One could see how proud she is of her career and how far she has come. She added that she also learned how to “market movies globally” when she was cast in Fantastic Four. It’s clear that Alba was interested in doing more than simply garnering fame and professional success. Every job and experience helped shape the person she is today.
While I knew about how Alba began in the entertainment industry since a very young age, I wanted to find out more about her role as the Braun brand ambassador. The gorgeous actress was delighted to work with and represent Braun, “It’s cool that the campaign is built around the idea of empowering women, building up confidence and self-esteem, which is nice to come from a beauty brand,” she said. With the campaign emphasizing beauty from within, I thought to myself, who better to portray this than the uniquely beautiful Alba? When asked how fame had given her the chance to reach out to women, a spark suddenly appeared in her eyes as she said, “I feel very fortunate that I started in entertainment when I was 12, and now at 33 to be able to actually have it as a career and to be able to do endorsements and highlight companies that do great work and have great products. I feel very fortunate and very lucky.”
It was Alba’s first time in Dubai, and her first time to visit an Arab country. I could tell that she was enjoying her stay and the quality time she was spending with her team. Just like all of us, Alba loves spending time with her girlfriends, who happen to be part of her team. “We respect each other as professionals but we are also friends. We see each other on a personal level. It’s nice to be able to travel with your friends; it makes travelling less lonely. And it’s cool to be able to see different parts of the world and experience things,” she adds with excitement.
When I asked about her biggest achievement, I expected a reply that summed it all up, her acting career, entrepreneurship, and family. But she tilted her head and very thoughtfully said, “My children, probably. I don’t know if that’s an achievement. I think keeping them alive up to this point is quite an achievement. I try every day to be the best mum that I can be, given my circumstances. They seem fairly happy and well adjusted.”
It is only normal to think of the future or think ahead, but when I asked Alba where she saw herself a few years from now, she paused and looked quite hesitant to respond. For a split second I thought to myself, maybe I shouldn’t have asked; but thankfully she replied in a low voice, “I don’t know. I really don’t know. I hope to still work with Braun for a couple of years, they’re a great company. I have a lot of things in motion, who knows where my life will go.”
When asked what piece of advice she’d give to up-and-coming actresses she humbly responded, “I would say that they should become filmmakers. If I could do it all over again, I would’ve gone to film school. And I would’ve definitely done a lot more behind the camera. The only way women are going to get better roles is if women create them. We need more female directors, writers, and producers. I hope the next generation can go behind the camera as well as in front of the camera.”
PHOTOGRAPHY: Cliff Watts