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Notorious Celebrity Interviews: Jessica Alba for Elle Magazine, 2008 (An ONTD Original)

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Welcome to another Notorious Celebrity Interview! This time, it's Jessica Alba's glorious hot mess of a profile in Elle Magazine. In 2008, Alba was an up-and-coming bombshell who was starring in The Eye and The Love Guru. This interview sure did not help her chances of becoming a ~serious~ actress. Some of it was her own quotes, but a lot of it reflects the misogyny of men in the industry.

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Don't Mess With Jess
Andrew Goldman

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To start with, Alba reads graphic descriptions from a book about veganism and extolls its virtues, then sits down at an expensive restaurant to a meal of lamb kebabs.
  • [Alba is reading] Skinny Bitch, the pro-vegan diatribe masquerading as a chick-lit diet book that became an instant best-seller when Victoria Beckham was photographed carrying it.

    ...It's worth noting that Alba and I are not taking a break from picketing a Hormel plant, but sitting in the back of Sur La Table, the gourmet kitchenware store, near the Farmers Market in Los Angeles. We've just completed a private class in Mediterranean cooking [of] tender lamb kebabs dipped in pomegranate sauce.

    But Alba resides in a pragmatic world... She ate the goddamn food, and even managed to pronounce it "delicious."


She hates posing with fans at an awards show:
  • Alba, who posed for picture after picture [at the Teen Choice Awards] with a long line of schlubby exhibitors, would beam as the flashbulb went off, and when the theater owner was lead away, her face would fall into a look of misery. As soon as the next guy was in place, she'd be ready with another electric smile.

She's late for a meeting with a designer who sent her a bunch of free stuff.

She pretends to ignore Corey Feldman staring at her:
  • Outside of the Giuseppe Franco Salon stands grizzled onetime child star Corey Feldman, smoking a cigarette in a salon robe, sporting what appears to be a head wet with hair dye. Feldman silently watches Alba, but she doesn't look over, conveniently busy on her phone with her publicist.

    "When I first started going to acting classes when I was 11, he used to hang out at a restaurant down here," she says about Feldman, once we're out of earshot. "My mom was always like, `You should go up and talk to him.' I was like, `Mom! It's embarrassing. What am I going to say?'"

She almost gets the interviewer killed while making an illegal turn:
  • "I'm the most boring chick ever." Though there's nothing boring about the illegal right turn she makes from the middle lane to the honking consternation of the Mercedes driver who nearly plows into her.


The interviewer seems surprised that Alba is not a two-dimensional sex kitten:
  • It doesn't take long to notice just how far Alba is from the seductress you would suspect her to be after sampling the Internet's vast collection of her cheesecake shots. (How much gravitas can any woman muster in a bikini?)

    All those profiles in men's magazines depicting her as an expert flirt about one glass of cabernet away from jumping the writers' bones.


But don't worry, there's still plenty of bad writing:
  • "Photos can't begin to replicate what it's like to be in close proximity to her full upper lip... To behold that lip's grandeur is to finally understand the ideal those aging actresses are pursuing when they collagen themselves to the point of resembling trout."


Perez Hilton was in a feud with her:
  • Lately, Perez Hilton, the Cuban-American blogger, has waged a racially freighted publicity campaign against Alba. Using quotes cherry-picked from past interviews that together seem to suggest she isn't proud of her father's Mexican-American roots, Hilton has turned the actress into a punching bag, regularly referring to her as Jessica "Don't Call Me Latina" Alba.

    According to Alba, the sniping began because of something far more banal than Hilton suddenly morphing into a pink-haired Cesar Chavez. "It was all because I wouldn't take photos with him at a nightclub," she says. "It would probably be smart for me to hang out and kiss up to what's his name, Perez...."


It was more than 10 years ago, yet very little has changed when it comes to race. Alba had to downplay her Latina heritage, yet stand up for it when people accused her of downplaying it.
  • So, is she proud of her Latin roots? [op: asks the WHITE interviewer] "Of course I'm proud of my heritage!" she says. "That's all I know!"


And, whew, there is plenty of racist crap coming from this interviewer.
  • Really, I say, your skin color has hindered you that much?
    Alba shoots me an exasperated look. [op:yeah, shithead, as she should.]


You are almost rooting for Jessica until she backhanded-insults Eva Mendes:
  • "How many [POC] leading ladies are you aware of?" she says. "Lindsay Lohan, Kate Bosworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Rachel McAdams. We have Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, me, and who else?" Uh, Eva Mendes? "Mendes," she says flatly. "But is Mendes greenlighting movies?"

Alba then disses some of her own TV shows/movies.

And the Teen Choice Awards. And Zac Efron.
  • At lunch in Beverly Hills, Alba's eyes almost roll out of her head when the subject of the Teen Choice award comes up. Of meeting Efron, she says, "He looks like a child with a lot of makeup. I was like, 'My God, you're just a little kid.'


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But she does spit some truth about sexism:
  • She signed onto Into the Blue to play a brainy marine biology student, and last-minute script changes turned her character into Walker's bikini-clad trophy girlfriend. "I just thought it was dumbed down for no reason," she says. (She also notes that she alone hustled for the movie: "Paul was the lead, Paul helped develop it. You wouldn't believe how much that kid got paid! And I don't think he did one ounce of publicity.")

    As for Good Luck Chuck, she says, "It's porn! It wasn't supposed to be like that." She described the 30-day shoot as a "boy's set," where every day the crew—and Dane Cook—would finish up by filming two sex scenes. "There were all these actresses who got conned into being completely naked," she says. "Some were strippers, probably. 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."


And the profile includes some choice quotes about Alba from men:
  • I flip open Los Angeles Magazine to a quote from radio host Adam Carolla: "I just think Jessica Alba is vapid. I've never heard her say anything smart. Every time I ask, `Why is Jessica Alba such a big star?' guys go, `Dude, have you seen how hot she is?' "

    The director of Into the Blue said, "Executives at MGM could barely focus on what was happening on the screen because they were so distracted by how good she looked in a bikini. I would literally get notes saying, 'Hey, why did you cut that one shot of Jessica swimming by?"

    Paul Walker on Jessica Alba: "I couldn't take my eyes off that ass. I'm sorry. She's beautiful" and went on to describe Alba not as the consummate actress, but rather as "the kind of girl you want to have angry sex with for the rest of your life." Nice.


To be fair, though, the (male) writer also devotes most of the piece to Alba's career as a bikini babe and only a few paragraphs to her life. So. Pot, meet kettle.


Mods, this was a very long profile, so these are only a few major quotes.

Jessica Alba:

A-hole
13(7.6%)
Victim of sexism
71(41.8%)
¿Por qué no los dos?
86(50.6%)


Read more notorious interviews with Angelina Jolie, M.I.A., Chris Evans, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet, Beyoncé, Channing Tatum, Cara Delevingne, Johnny Depp, Miles Teller

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Tags: 2000s, interview, jessica alba, magazine covers and articles, ontd original
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