How Jessica Alba Inspired a Community of Moms and Young Women to Stay Optimistic in 2020
By Desiree Murphy
Let's face it: in the year 2020, we could all use more light and laughter in our lives. While some celebrities have been using their platforms to urge fans to get out and vote, in hopes of a better future, others have been gifting us with everything from new music to TV/movie recommendations and TikTok videos to keep us entertained amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Jessica Alba, meanwhile, has opened up like never before over the past few months. The 39-year-old actress and businesswoman has been showing fans a whole new side of her lately, taking us inside her home, showcasing her family life and creating an inspiring community for mothers and young women.
All of this began in March, when Alba launched her new YouTube channel shortly after the country went into lockdown. As many people (especially parents) became fearful of what was to come from the COVID-19 outbreak, Alba found a way to keep her fans calm, connected and optimistic.
"As we're all on lockdown, for who knows how long, I really am inspired to create this community with you guys and connect with y'all," explained Alba, who shares three kids -- Honor, 12, Haven, 9, and Hayes, 2 -- with husband Cash Warren. "On this channel I'm going to be doing videos on beauty, fitness, health and wellness, entrepreneur life, home life, mom life, BFF life and I'm going to take an honest approach to everything I do because I just can't help but be brutally honest in life."
"Wash your hands for 20 seconds, preferably, and don't touch your damn face, unless you absolutely have to," Alba advised, in one of her getting-ready-at-home videos. "When you're doing your Zoom meetings, it's nice to not look like ya just woke up. Curl lashes and apply mascara. It just makes me look awake, even when I don't feel awake."
Thanks to Alba's tell-it-like-it-is advice, we're finding a way to (somehow) keep it together in quarantine. But the Pomona, California, native doesn't want us to just stop there; she's also encouraging us to use this time to work on becoming the best possible versions of ourselves.
Just last week, for example, Alba took part in Female Founders Collective's What's Next Fest virtual summit, where she and actress Lizzy Mathis spoke about the importance of having a vision for yourself, the grit you need to realize it and how to rise up to meet big opportunities.
"I've learned that it's probably less about driving towards a specific goal as much as it's about the journey, and really taking in that journey," Alba said. "So I guess my vision for myself and the ultimate outcome that I'm trying to achieve is just to be a better person tomorrow than I am today."
"No one owes you anything, and if you want to achieve anything, you've just got to work really hard," she added. "I never felt like anyone believed that I could be anything [growing up]. When there's no expectation that you could ever be successful or be anything, basically you're just a warm body, then it's like, you can't do anything but move up from there. Having that as my foundation, it just drove me when people ever told me that I wasn't going to be successful, or I wasn't smart enough, or I wasn't this or that enough. That sort of drove me to prove them wrong, but also for me to have something to sort of fight for."
As her fans know, Alba has already had a remarkably impressive career in TV, film, beauty and business. After expressing an interest in acting at the age of five, she made her first film appearance in Camp Nowhere when she was 13, followed by a TV role on Nickelodeon's The Secret World of Alex Mack. Alba's big breakthrough then came in 2000, when she landed the lead actress role on Dark Angel, followed by Honey in 2003. Years later, in 2011, she co-founded The Honest Company.
Alba's success didn't come without hardships or moments of doubt, however. "I felt like an imposter, always, in Hollywood. I remember presenting at the Oscars and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I really don't belong here.' I never trusted it, I always felt like I didn't belong," she admitted. "And I think also not having a formal education or any nepotism. I was sitting there with people whose parents were in the industry in some way ... or they were just more savvy, and I was none of that. Also, no one looked like me, so I was in a lane that was pretty lonely."
Alba, whose paternal grandparents were both the children of Mexican immigrants, then spoke passionately during the summit about the importance of representation, and how her heritage has played a major part in who she is today. Despite her own insecurities of "feeling like a fish out of water," Alba persisted and never gave up on her dreams, a story we can all be inspired by right now.
"My grit and my hustle, my drive and my perseverance, all of that comes from growing up with two Mexican grandparents who were born in the United States. Their parents were from Mexico and they grew up in California where it was a very tough place to be Mexican," she shared. "It was segregated, there weren't a ton of opportunities, and even in school, the schools were segregated and the school days for the Mexican kids were limited. They basically stopped at around 12 so that they could go and work in agriculture."
"They limited the access to education to even pull themselves out of poverty or give themselves any opportunity ... and if you don't have basic literacy and numeracy skills? Good luck," she continued. "In a way, they weren't giving Mexican kids, frankly at that time, the same opportunities as white kids even though they were American, even though they were born here. So I think my grandparents, growing up in extreme poverty through the Depression Era and all of that, they had a major impact in who I am and how I grew up."
While Alba's hard work, persistent drive and realistic approach to life has certainly helped her achieve the success she once could only dream of, she understands (and wants fans to know) that not every day is going to run smoothly. Her tips to holding it together and motivating yourself on the hard days, especially in quarantine? "Wine. Wine and tequila," she jokes. Yep, that's why we love her!