Jessica Alba was born in Pomona, California to Mark Alba who
is of Mexican descent and Cathy Jensen of Dutch, French, English
and Italian descent. Alba was raised in an Air Force family,
along with her brother, Joshua Alba and her grandparents until
she was sixteen. She grew up a sports fanatic. Her father's Air
Force career took the family to Biloxi, Mississippi, and Del
Rio, Texas, before they settled back in California. Alba's early
life was marked by a multitude of physical maladies; she
suffered collapsed lungs twice, had pneumonia 4-5 times a year,
a burst appendix, a cyst on her tonsils and asthma. This served
to isolate her from other children at school because, as she
claims, she was in the hospital so often that no one knew her
well enough to befriend her. She also revealed on The Tonight
Show with Jay Leno that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive
disorder as a child. Her health improved, however, when her
family moved to California.
Alba had expressed interest in acting since the age of five. She took her first acting class at age twelve, and an acting agent signed her nine months later.
Jessica Alba's first appearance in film was a small role in the 1994 feature Camp Nowhere as Gail. She was originally hired for two weeks but her role soon turned into a two month job when the actress in one of the more prominent roles in the film dropped out; Alba was picked to replace her because her hair matched that of the original actress.
Young Jessica Alba appeared in two national TV commercials for Nintendo and J.C. Penney; she was later featured in several independent films. She branched out into TV in 1994 with a recurring role as the insufferable young snob, 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 TV 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 good use on the show, which was filmed in Australia. In 1995, she appeared in the film Venus Rising as Young Eve.
In 1998, Jessica 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 graduating from high school at the age of 18, Alba 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.
Jessica 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. But 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 Guevera on the Fox sci-fi TV series Dark Angel. Co-created by Cameron, Alba was the star in the series which ran for two seasons before being canceled in 2002. Since then her most notable roles have been as an aspiring dancer/choreographer in Honey, exotic dancer Nancy Callahan in Sin City and as the classic Marvel Comics character Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman in the Fantastic Four. Jessica then went on to hosting the 2006 MTV Movie Awards and did sketches spoofing the popular movies King Kong, Mission Impossible 3, and The Da Vinci Code, with Jimmy Fallon.
Jessica Alba once told Dark Angel producer, James Cameron, that she did not want to direct because it appeared to be too difficult an undertaking, but he responded with the prediction that she would end up directing sooner than she expected.
Apparently, Alba fears being typecast as a s-- kitten based on the bulk of parts offered to her. "Somehow, I don't think this is happening to Natalie Portman," laments Alba. In the interview, Alba says 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.
Jessica Alba suffered anorexia and a kidney infection in 2001. She also now suffers from motion sickness, which developed after childhood.
Alba was engaged to her Dark Angel co-star Michael Weatherly, but it was called off. In January 2005, she began dating Cash Warren, a director's assistant on Fantastic Four, whom she met when filming that movie.
Regarding children and pets, Alba has stated:
During an interview with GQ magazine, Jessica Alba said that
in her teen years she became a born-again Christian in a
rebellion against her parents. As the daughter of conservative
parents, Alba, whose grandparents did not even allow her to wear
a bathing suit around the house, maintains a no-nudity clause in
her contract, though she has claimed she had been willing to be
nude in Sin City. She remarked of a GQ shoot in which she was
"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".
Despite her no-nudity clause, in a couple of Alba's photo shoots she has been bottomless, and once wore a transparent top that exposed her breasts.
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