Jessica Alba - Fiesty, hard, private, stunning, talented, all words used to describe the new sensation, but what really 'pushes her buttons', why does she keep her private life so secret, and what about those eating disorder rumours. Femalefirst caught up with her to talk about her latest blockbuster success, and to get behind her public face and discover the real Jessica Alba. Jessica Alba knows blondes have more fun. Since bleaching her dark locks, the stunning star's Hollywood career has gone from strength to strength - with the critically-acclaimed 'Sin City' and summer blockbuster 'The Fantastic Four' - and, perhaps more importantly, she has found love.The 24-year-old beauty, who is a natural brunette, believes her fair tresses made her appear more approachable on the set of 'The Fantastic Four' to assistant director Cash Warren. The pair hit it off straight away and are now blissfully in love.But deep down Jessica knows Cash would have fallen for her if she still had dark hair. She said recently: "Would he have felt the same way had I still been a brunette? I like to think so. "But I know I'm much more approachable as a blonde, so I think it worked for him and me."The besotted couple, who started dating in January, were recently at the centre of an engagement riddle when Jessica was spotted wearing a ring on her wedding finger. However, her publicist insisted the actress had simply moved the sparkling band to that finger because the one she usually wore it on was swollen after a flight.

The representative said at the time: "She is not engaged. She's had the ring for a while and usually wears it on her right hand, but it was swollen, and she switched it."

Even if Jessica and Cash did get engaged, it seems the actress would want to keep it secret. She recently admitted she has been stunned by the way Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have flaunted their relationship so publicly, and insisted she would never reveal her romance secrets for the sake of promoting her latest film.

Jessica explained: "I don't want to comment on Tom's relationship with Katie, but I'm a private person and I don't feel you should talk about your private life. I think it's best to keep this sort of thing to yourself."

Perhaps her desire for privacy is the reason Jessica has vowed never to date another actor. The sexy star has dated a string of fellow thespians, including hunky Mark Wahlberg and her 'Dark Angel' co-star Michael Weatherly, who she was engaged to.But the screen beauty - who appeared in hit movies 'Never Been Kissed' and 'Honey' - now believes actors are too vain for her. She said: "I'm way too high maintenance to be in a relationship with an actor. I don't need a man who spends as much time in front of the mirror as me."

Jessica developed her disdain for narcissistic actors on the set of 'Dark Angel', where she soon realised she was even tougher than them. She said recently: "When I used to do the action scenes, I would have to play it rough. If you hit an actress accidentally, she would usually take it on the chin and say, `Don't do that again.' But with the guys, they would put ice on it, take a 20-minute break and ask for x-rays. It was unbelievable."

Feisty Jessica - whose father is Mexican and mother is of French and Danish descent - has also slammed wimpy girls who play the damsel in distress to attract men. She said: "I can't stand that girl - the poor little girl you have to rescue. "Most men love the crazy girl - 'Oh save me! You're such a big, strong man!' The more insecure the man, the more likely he will love the crazy girl."

Jessica recently confirmed her hard-woman status when she punched a shark on the nose while filming her new movie. The sexy actress was shooting underwater scenes in the Bahamas for upcoming film 'Into The Blue' when the deadly fish swam too close for comfort. So Jessica lashed out and managed to scare the shark away. She revealed: "I jabbed him on the nose and he swam off".

However, despite her tough exterior, Jessica - who plays Susan Storm and her superhero alter-ego The Invisible Woman in 'The Fantastic Four' - has a much more sensitive side.

When she was younger, the actress - who took her first acting class at the age of 12 - developed the eating disorder anorexia. She recalled: "I got obsessed with it. A lot of girls have eating disorders and I did too. I got too thin. Now, I am concentrating on being normal."

But there is nothing 'normal' about Jessica's sensational looks, and she proved how comfortable she is with her amazing figure in 'The Fantastic Four'. The movie babe had little to cover up her modesty while wearing the skin-tight suit for the comic book blockbuster, which co-stars 'Nip/Tuck' heartthrob Julian MacMahon and 'King Arthur' star Ioan Gruffudd.

However, Jessica says she is looking forward to the day when she is known for her acting talents rather than her stunning looks. She once said: "It's not always so great to be objectified but I don't feel I have much of a choice right now. I'm young in my career. I know I have to strike when the iron is hot. I look forward to the day when I can do a small movie and act and it's not about me wearing a bathing suit or chaps."

And it looks like Jessica's wish is about to come true - she has come a long way since starring in the TV series 'Flipper' as a teenager, and with two of the summer's biggest films under her belt, the actress has firmly established herself as one of Hollywood's brightest stars.

You've been busy working on two of the summer's biggest films. but what do you do in your spare time?
ALBA: I was home for two months last year so I kind of crave routine. It's nice to be a sister to my brother, who is having a baby soon, and to be a daughter to my parents. It's nice to just hang out and feel normal for a little bit.
Does the baby thing seem appealing?
ALBA: Absolutely. I'm actually starting a baby clothing line. About four of my girlfriends have babies so they have no time for me. I figure if I can do baby clothes maybe they'll have more time to hang out! I'm really girly when it comes to kids. I've been surrounded by kids my whole life because I'm the oldest of 15 cousins - I've been changing diapers since I was six.
Is it good training for later?
ALBA: Oh yeah. I want to have a couple, for sure.
You seem deeply in love with your boyfriend, Cash Warren. was it love at first sight?
ALBA: Well, I thought he was wonderful the moment I laid eyes on him. Luckily, he felt the same about me! He's my soulmate. We're so right for each other. I'm madly in love with Cash, but I don't really like to talk about it. I think these things should be kept private.
You recently admitted you get jealous when other girls flirt with cash.
ALBA: I am very protective over him - I've actually never been as protective over anybody as I am over him.
Do you like living in Los Angeles?
ALBA: Not particularly, but my parents kind of guilt me into staying. They say they don't see me enough and don't want me to move across the country. And I say, 'You're right, I'll stay.' But I like the energy of New York better.
You're only 24, but you've been acting for over 10 years. does that make you feel a little older?
ALBA: I used to feel a lot older when I was 18 and 19. I felt really old because I was tired from working so much on 'Dark Angel', where I didn't get a break and the hours were insane. But now, especially this year, I feel young and I can sort of relax because I've done all the hard work. I've done this for 12 years and I don't have to prove anything to anybody anymore. People are now seeing me as Sue Storm. 'Dark Angel' they already saw, 'Honey' they already saw, here is 'Sin City', so they can see that I'm more than just one thing and now I can kind of sit back.
You said you are feeling young again. what is it you have time for now that you didn't have time for before?
ALBA: I'm learning Spanish and I take a lot of hikes with my dogs. I also put in a new kitchen, which 'Fantastic Four' helped me to do, and I have a couple of new cook books so I'm trying to do some new recipes. It's nice to just sit back and have fun and not have to constantly be 'on'. When you are making a movie, even during your off time you have to be 'on' because there are the paparazzi and that sort of thing.
You looked stunning in 'the fantastic four'. did you like your superhero costume?
ALBA: Well, the outfit was very tight and revealing. There wasn't much left to the imagination. All the guys got to wear muscle suits underneath their outfits, but I didn't have anything. So I just had to embrace it and walk proud.
Good looking women are often very critical of themselves. what do you see when you look in the mirror?
ALBA: I look a lot like my grandmother, my dad's mother, from Mexico. I don't look anything like my mum's side of the family. I see both my parents and my brother in myself. I don't go much further than that because then you would just go crazy, picking apart your features and everything. People do that enough to me in the public eye - I can't do that to myself.
Was it ever a problem for you that people didn't know where you came from because you are part Danish and part Mexican? did you fit in?
ALBA: I never fit in, especially when I started my career. Just getting cast as an American girl was impossible. They were always trying to make me the femme fatale, this exotic, mysterious girl because I've got full lips or bigger eyes or darker skin. I found it difficult to play characters I was actually like, who I could actually relate to. 'Dark Angel' was really the first character that was pretty versatile, where I could have more depth than being just a girl who is pregnant because she's Latin. I don't really get caught in those categories anymore. The blonde hair helps.
Everybody is talking about your transformation from innocent girl to 'femme fatale'. is this something you've been waiting for?
ALBA: I don't think my character in 'Sin City' is a femme fatale. She is sort of the innocent one, even though she's a stripper. She's less scandalous, less manipulative than any other woman in the story and she is very innocent. She's sweet and doe-eyed and passionate about her love for this man.
All the women in 'Sin City' are like male fantasies. how is it to fill a dream that way? is it embarrassing at all?
ALBA: I didn't think about it in that way. I just put on the hair and make up and the costume and you just kind of are the character. When you are there in your chaps, with your lasso you just kind of go with it. I didn't think too hard about being this sexy chick. I just wanted to do a good job.
Does that mean you would like to change something so you would be seen as a tough girl?
ALBA: I was a tough girl in 'Dark Angel' but they still marketed it as a sexy chick. But I'm a producer on two movies that are in development right now, and I'm attached to a romantic comedy that's a bit of a throwback to the '60s and '70s physical comedy. So I'm just taking the bull by the horns and trying to do it myself because at the end of the day you can't wait around for other people to do stuff for you.
Do you prefer to act in comedy or drama?
ALBA: I want to do a comedy really badly. I haven't had the opportunity to do a romantic comedy but I think that's my niche and I would have fun doing it. It's something people haven't really given me the opportunity to do, again, because of the way I look.
How was it working with Bruce Willis on 'Sin City?
ALBA: He was great, he was phenomenal. He is a trained performer. Just because your dialogue isn't as deep as in another movie doesn't mean you are not a good actor. Those movies just don't make as much money. The movies that make more money are the bigger movies that are a bit simpler and for a broader audience. I used to watch him on 'Moonlighting' and he carried that show. In 'Pulp Fiction' he was very cool and specific so I knew that was the kind of performer he was going to be. I was so excited to work with him because I have been watching him since I can remember. He's been a movie star my entire life.
In the movie you cry out of one eye. how did you do that?
ALBA: I couldn't tell you how! The girl who played little me, they shot her stuff before mine and there was a frame where her lip is quivering and she had a tear come out one side. I did exactly the same thing and [director] Robert Rodriguez said 'Do that again, only cry out of that one eye', and I was like, 'But I didn't mean to do that, it just happened!'
You seem to be specialising in comic book heroines. are you going to continue in that direction?
ALBA: If there is 2 and a 3 of 'Fantastic Four' I'm going to be doing that and we'll see with 'Sin City'. I never intended to do comic book or graphic novels but it just seems that's what's being made these days. There are a lot more comic book adaptations that are being made into film. If you get 10 scripts, eight of them are comic books or they used to be comic books.
For you as an actor is it easier to be a craftswoman when you're doing things that are artificial, like a comic book character?
ALBA: I don't think most films are like real life. I think if it's too false, if Sue Storm in 'Fantastic Four' is too far removed from the everyday woman, then nobody will enjoy it because you don't have any empathy. I like to bring a reality to all my characters regardless of them being comic book or out of somebody's imagination. I actually find there are more scripts that are way more far-fetched coming from somebody's mind than something that is an adaptation from a comic book. As far as the special effects go, that's where you have to have a craft for acting what it's like to have a force-field or becoming invisible.
Are you a fan of comic books?
ALBA: I wasn't really familiar with comic books as I wasn't a big comic book reader when I was a kid. I was more into looking at fashion magazines and daydreaming about being Julia Roberts! END Angelina Jolie's adopted daughter was the result of a brutal rape on her natural mother. The Hollywood beauty, who is dating Brad Pitt, adopted baby Ethiopian girl Zahara last month during a trip to the African country, believing she was an orphan. Now the tot's mother Mentewab Dawitt has been tracked down and has revealed the baby was conceived after she was raped in her bed as she slept at night. Mentewab, who was caring for her sick grandfather at the time, told Britain's The Sun newspaper: "One night I went to bed early feeling very tired and a stranger broke in through the window. "I kept my eyes shut for most of the time to try and blank it out. It was the first time I had sex so it was very painful indeed." Mentewab was initially shunned by her mother and family for having a baby, who she named Setota, outside of marriage. After her family eventually accepted the situation, she was forced to put the child up for adoption because she could not financially support her. Despite her heartache, Mentewab has thanked Angelina - who also has an adopted Cambodian son, Maddox - for giving her daughter the chance of a better life away from the poverty of her native country. She added: "I am so grateful to this lady for giving my daughter a better life. I want to say thank you to Angelina for giving my baby, this wonderful loving family."

by Sam Kent


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