Why did she step back from acting at the height of her career?
June 8, 2022 | 4:30 p.m. CDT
In the 2000s, Jessica Alba was one of the hottest actors in Hollywood. Her starring role in the hit sci-fi drama Dark Angel—plus parts in major ensemble film series like Sin City and Marvel’s Fantastic Four—catapulted her to superstardom and made her a household name. But over the past decade, the Machete star has scaled back her acting work significantly. So what happened to Jessica Alba? Here’s what the actress and mom of three is up to today.
Jessica Alba started her career young, appearing in commercials and on TV guest spots from the tender age of 13. She got her big break at 19 when she was cast in the Fox show Dark Angel. After appearing on the show for two seasons, she seamlessly transitioned into big-screen roles, appearing in movies like Honey, Into the Blue, Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Sin City and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Valentine’s Day, and Machete and Machete Kills.Jessica Alba playing Susan Storm/Invisible Woman in ‘Fantastic Four’ (20th Century Fox)
But by the late 2000s, Alba began to limit the number of movie roles she took. While she was still at the top of her game in terms of star power, the Barely Lethal star had taken on a new role that became much more important—being a mom. After giving birth to her first child, a daughter named Honor, in 2008, Alba says her feelings about her acting career shifted dramatically.
“That’s really what motivated me,” she explained in a 2021 interview with Romper . “My motivation was not like, ‘Am I ever going to get hired again?’ Frankly, I was at the top of my career. [But] I couldn’t go back to what I was doing before and be authentic. I just couldn’t. I didn’t care about it the same way. It was something bigger. I felt like if I was going to have this platform, then what can I do with it that could be meaningful and make a difference? That just felt so real when I became a mom for the first time.”
While Alba didn’t abandon acting completely, she did decide to turn her attention to something bigger. After realizing how difficult it was to find safe, effective, and affordable consumer products for babies, she co-founded The Honest Company in 2011.
In the business’s first year, it reached $10 million in sales with its baby wipes and diapers. The brand quickly expanded to include a wide range of baby and wellness products and launched a clean beauty line, Honest Beauty, in 2015. In 2021, The Honest Company went public with an IPO valued at $1.44 billion.(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Honest Company )
For all of her success as a business owner and entrepreneur, Alba admits that it hasn’t been as easy for her as acting. “Building a brand and building a business is f*cking impossible,” she told Romper. “It took me three-and-a-half years just to find partners to even join me, and I got lots of rejection… In every stage, I’m trying to get better and better as a businessperson, but it’s a totally different skill set than just taking your influence and fame and putting your name on a package and doing a press tour, picking out a couple designs.”
No wonder she’s had to scale back her acting gigs! Clearly, it was a smart sacrifice.