"(Being a mom) is the most satisfying job in the world. But, it can also be overwhelming and confusing. I created The Honest Company to help moms and to give all children a better, safer start." - Jessica Alba
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May 16, 2013 - Jessica Alba on Her New Book and Her Future as an Actress
When we started our phone conversation with Jessica Alba last week—she from nearby her Beverly Hills home, Shop Around from our DC office—we felt like we were talking to a girlfriend. She was nice, down-to-earth, disarmingly real, and pretty damn funny, which was refreshing because that’s how we felt about her new book, The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You. Unlike most celebrity lifestyle how-to tomes, Alba’s is surprisingly helpful, well-written, resourceful, and realistic. The 31-year-old mom of two offers tips and insight into creating an eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle for herself and her family—and does it in a way that doesn’t make us roll our eyes at the sheer impossibility of it all (ahem, Gwyneth Paltrow). We meant to talk clothes and trends with Alba, since she’ll be in Bethesda on Friday signing copies of her book at the Front Row fashion extravaganza, but she was so fun to talk to about her writing process and her future in acting that we didn’t get a chance. Plus we already know the girl can dress.
Your new book seems really well-researched and thoughtful—how did you become an expert in this sort of eco-friendly lifestyle realm?
Well, I wouldn’t call myself an expert, necessarily. I gathered the information over five years, and then it took about one year to format it and turn it into a book. And it was so difficult to gather [the information], which I did along the way as things affected me throughout my own life and personal experiences.
But you were able to dissect it and filter it into a book that is really easy to read, even for those of us who aren’t familiar with these sorts of toxic versus non-toxic issues.
The information is pretty dense, and unless you’re a scientist, you’re going to be like, “What the heck are you talking about?” But I knew there were things that weren’t good and that I wanted to avoid that touched parts of my life, from beauty to food to materials for my home. So it was such a daunting process to decipher it all, but I felt it was super-necessary. I mean, I wish I had this handbook and guidebook when I was learning and a new mom.
We also like that we could find what we needed quickly—moms often have limited time and patience for a book loaded with data.
It’s meant to be very useful and user-friendly—you can pick up a chapter that you care about and that’s relevant to you. I wanted all the charts to be color-coded, and all the chapters with an icon to identify them; it’s easier for me, so I figure it’s easier for everyone else. The enhanced e-book is even more user-friendly—all the charts pop up as you click on them, and I created little videos for each chapter; the still photos come to life, and that’s kind of fun. I asked the publisher if we could do more than the normal digital version of a book. I wanted a more robust experience.
You’ve been building this lifestyle brand, the Honest Company, for a few years now. Does that mean you’re transitioning away from being an actress?
It’s funny, because it wasn’t a conscious decision, it sort of just happened this way. I’m still so passionate about acting and having that as a creative outlet, and it’s a big part of who I am; I’ll never stop acting. But it’s my time, and where I was in my life, this business was a priority and a passion of mine over going to auditions and trying to get roles. I’m still doing movies; I’m about to start another at the end of this month, a period piece set in the ’60s. [Having my kids] was the best time of my life. I love it—I feel more fearless as an actress after becoming a mother, which is quite liberating. I’m ready to take on heavier roles, where before I was nitpicky and afraid of so many things. I don’t have that filter anymore. I think as you go into a new, different phase, things do change, and that’s influenced who I am and my choices. It happened organically.
So are you plotting to be the Martha Stewart of your generation? Any more books in the works?
I think if I was going to do any more in a series, naturally it would be something I can do easily, that I’m passionate about. A cookbook would be good, and probably not as time consuming. That would be a process where I just say, “I’m going to spend three months, rent a house somewhere, and just bang it out.” Something that would encompass baby to toddler to family, make a more robust book—that’s something I could totally do, about healthier food choices and recipes that aren’t so scary and daunting.
Jessica Alba will be signing copies of The Honest Life in front of Redwood restaurant on Bethesda Lane from 5 to 6:30 on Friday. For more information, visit the Front Row website.
Filed under:News • Written by Nat • Posted at 12:14 am with 0 comments
March 20, 2013 - Jessica Alba: Moms Should Stop Judging Each Other
She may have written The Honest Life, a family guide to living green, but don’t expect to see Jessica Alba calling out parents who aren’t going by the book.
The actress — mom to daughters Honor Marie, 4½, and Haven Garner, 19 months — is surrounded by an eclectic mix of fellow mamas — all with their own opinions — but insists she refuses to dwell on her friends’ doings with their children.
“When you become a mom, the last thing you want to do is feel judged because everybody is trying to do the best they can,” Alba tells PEOPLE.
Noting that nursing is a constant hot topic among moms, the cofounder of The Honest Company says women should start feeling confident in their decisions — even if that includes extended breastfeeding.
“My girlfriend who is co-sleeping with her kids and may or may not be breastfeeding her 3-year-old shouldn’t hide that. She should be fine with that, and she shouldn’t feel judged,” she explains. “And then my friend who never even attempted really to breastfeed because it was too exhausting for her … she shouldn’t feel like she’s a bad mom.”
The stay-at-home versus working mom debate is one Alba understands all too well, but sees both sides of the never-ending argument. “I have friends who literally are better parents when they are going to work every day for long days and they have weekend time or night time with their kids,” she says.
“I have other friends who cannot even imagine leaving their child for one second and need to be attached literally at the hip, and that is fine as well.”
As her own girls grow up, the actress is already anticipating how she will handle both her work commitments and their school schedules. For Alba, if quality time with her daughters during a trip means bringing along their school books, it isn’t a big deal.
“I feel like I have friends who can’t take their kids out of school [because] they’re so into school attendance that that is their number one priority,” she says. “For me, I’m my kids’ happiness. Once my daughter gets old enough … if we still are continuing to travel this much, I’ll bring the tutor and she’ll learn. It’s more important for me to spend time with her than to not.”
For Alba, a key to a happy home with husband Cash Warren is re-enforcing healthy habits — without depriving their daughters of junk food.
“We don’t look at kale or broccoli or squash as healthy. That’s just what they eat,” she explains. “I try to give them whole foods and whole grains as much as humanly possible. I just feel like they will thrive on that. Will they go to dinner with the family to a chain restaurant? Sure we do!”
With her philosophy of everything in moderation, the eco-friendly mom admits there’s still plenty of sweet indulgences for the family.
“If they’re going to have a dessert, I like to make a dessert with Honor. We’ll make little cupcakes and that will be what they have two or three times a week and then the rest of it will be fruit or applesauce,” Alba shares.
“They’re such little spazzes when they have too much refined sugar and flour. You know? They’re mental.”
Filed under:News • Written by Nat • Posted at 12:53 pm with 0 comments
February 14, 2013 - Jessica Alba Loves to Bring Her Daughters to Work
Jessica Alba is slowing down her acting to career to focus more on being a mother of two.
“I used to work basically 11 and a half months out of the year on location, and now I don’t,” the actress, 31, explained recently at the Escape from Planet Earth press junket in Los Angeles. “I’m really much more picky with the roles that I take.”
When she is working — whether on set or at The Honest Company office — Alba usually comes with a mini-entourage: her daughters Honor Marie, 4½, and Haven Garner, 18 months.
“I bring them with me,” she explains. “[Honor is usually] playing in the kids’ corner and running amuck bothering everyone, throwing paper airplanes at their desks — but they love it!”
While Honor certainly knows how to have a good time when she accompanies Mom to work, she doesn’t fully grasp what exactly it is Alba does for a living.
“To her, Mommy going to work is her sitting in a trailer and me [filming], or it’s me at my office,” notes Alba. “I think she thinks it’s all my job. She doesn’t know the difference!”
Jessica Alba is one busy woman. This year alone she’s starring in both Escape From Planet Earth (out in February), and in Sin City 2 (projected to come out in October). She also just published a book, The Honest Life, which was excerpted in this month’s issue of Women’s Health. And she is co-owner of The Honest Company, an online retailer that sells non-toxic family products. Not to mention: wife, mother of two, fashion icon. All around inspiration.
Women’s Health had the opportunity to speak with Jessica about what she’s been up to. Below is the Q&A, edited for space.
Tell us about The Honest Company.
The concept came when I was pregnant with my first daughter, and I couldn’t find a brand that I could trust, and there are companies out there that are doing good things and they have better practices than conventional brands. As far as one brand that did it well across the board, though, it just didn’t exist. And I felt like it’s easier for families to have one brand out there that they know and can trust to have higher quality products without toxic chemicals.
How has becoming a mom changed the way you think?
Not that I used to be completely selfish, but there is certainly a selfishness that you innately have when you don’t have to think about anyone but yourself. But when there’s someone else affected by your actions, who exists because you chose to put them here, it just makes you think twice about everything.
You’ve got so much on your plate. How do you manage to do it all?
Prior to having kids, my priorities were in building my career—it was all about my career, really. It was kind of my everything. I didn’t have a lot of balance. I would often not have birthdays or holidays, or spend any time, like my whole life just revolved generally around work. And now my priorities lie in my family and in my friends, and I’ve been able since I took some time off with my first, to cultivate relationships that I never had before, and friendships. I’m a better daughter now, and a better sister.
What are some of your stay-sane tricks? You’re so busy and active—how do you keep it together?
You know, spending time with my kids kind of does take all the stress away, weirdly. I’m in the moment with them. They make me so happy, they’re pure joy. I know they’re not going to be little forever, so I really soak up as much as I possibly can with them. That’s kind of how I de-stress.
Do you have a favorite workout or type of exercise?
I like doing dance classes. That’s fun. Like hip hop class, mixed with like core pilates-type exercises.
And when I’m in New York, I like to do some spinning classes, group classes, Fly Wheels is a place I like to go. And sometimes I do sprint intervals just because I hate working out. Anything where I have to do something but I can get my mind off of doing it, that’s so much better for me than anything that’s repetitive. Or the music has to be loud and I have to be moving.
You’ve become a total fashion icon. Do you have any fashion icons that YOU look up to?
I’ve always loved Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelley, because they’re timeless and chic. And I love Kate Moss, because she’s rock n roll, and I’m a bit of a nerd about it. Daria, the cartoon character on TV, is also one of my fashion icons.
Filed under:News • Written by Nat • Posted at 10:04 am with 0 comments
January 25, 2013 - Jessica Alba’s Daughter Honor Loves Showing Off in Front of Baby Sister Haven
Sibling rivalry already? At the Jan. 23 Sundance Film Festival premiere of A.C.O.D., Jessica Alba told Us Weekly that being a mom to two growing girls — Honor, 4, and baby Haven, 17 months — definitely has its fun moments, especially now that Honor is getting comfortable with her big-sister role.
“She loves it, she’s super into the fact that she can do, like, so much more than what the baby can do,” the Sin City actress laughed. “She’s like, bonus!” According to Alba, her spunky older daughter enjoys showing off everything from how she can “eat cupcakes and like, swing on a swing all by herself and ride a bicycle — with training wheels, mind you!”
“And she can play with Polly [Pocket] because she doesn’t put them in her mouth, because the baby puts the Pollies in her mouth,” she adds. “You know, important stuff.”
Alba, 31, and husband Cash Warren, 34, welcomed their second baby Haven on Aug. 13, 2011, and almost immediately fell head over heels in love with their family’s newest addition.
“I’m not going to pretend like I wasn’t concerned about bringing another little one into the world. I mean, Honor was our everything!” she wrote on her iVillage blog shortly after Haven’s birth. “How would it be possible for us to love anyone, in a million years, as much as we love her?!? Frankly, I didn’t think I had the capacity. But literally, overnight, everything changed as little Miss Haven shed her bright light on us and all of our hearts burst open even further.”
But Honor, who is often snapped wearing a number of fashion-forward ensembles with mom, is definitely making sure that her parents aren’t just giving baby Haven all their attention, Alba has said.
“She’s very independent, very opinionated and loves dress up so much,” Alba told Rachael Ray of her little fashionista-in-training during an interview last January. “Like, every day, she’s in full drag! She wears a wig every day. She has a lot of wigs and she has a lot of plastic heels. It’s totally insane, but it makes her happy.”
Filed under:News • Written by Nat • Posted at 10:09 am with 0 comments
January 8, 2013 - In Style: Jessica Alba: Cash and I Are ‘Kindred Spirits’
Love may not have struck at first sight for Jessica Alba and Cash Warren, but the pair’s instant connection was enough to last a lifetime.
“I just knew when I met him that I was going to know him forever. It was weird; He instantly felt like family,” the actress, 31, says in InStyle‘s February issue.
“I’d never felt like that with anyone. We got each other. We’re kindred spirits.”
Following their “very, very, very short” run as friends, the couple began dating and eventually tied the knot in 2008 before welcoming daughters Honor Marie, 4½, and Haven Garner, 16 months.
The spark between the sweethearts is still going strong, although Alba admits their idea of romance has certainly undergone changes over the years.
“On a weekend Cash might say, ‘Go get your nails done with a girlfriend. Haven is down for a nap and Honor and I will play. I know you work hard. You deserve some time for yourself,’” she says.
“That, to me, is romantic. He’s saying, ‘You matter,’ and that I’m more than just the mother of the kids or the wife who goes out to events with him.”
Blending their ethnically diverse backgrounds under one roof, the parents have made their home a true family affair, highlighting — and celebrating! — their ancestral roots.
“When Cash and I moved into our family house, we collected hundreds of pictures of our aunties, great aunties, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, and sisters and brothers,” Alba shares. “Then we mounted them in the foyer of our home, covering the wall from top to bottom. Our daughters are continually reminded of where they come from.”
Life’s not all play for the mom-of-two; In addition to her acting career and taking care of her girls, the multi-talented mama is also the mastermind behind The Honest Company, her eco-friendly line of home goods she cofounded with Christopher Gavigan.
With such a full plate to balance, the actress has been known to take on a bit more than she can handle.
“Sometimes I can take multitasking to a level of insanity,” Alba explains. “Then all of a sudden the bath is too high and I’ve forgotten to give my daughter the thing she needs for school.”
Fortunately, her family of four has taught Alba how to worry less about the mess-making and more about making the memories.
“Before I had kids, I was very responsible and serious. I used to be all about controlling my environment; Everything had to be just so,” she says. ”Now my idea of perfection is different. You can label bins and have a place for stuff, but when the kids go into the playroom, you’re not going to say, ‘We can’t paint because how are we going to clean it up?’”