The beautiful Jessica Alba is cover girl for Allure Magazine's September Issue. See more of her stunning pictures and read about her take on fame and how it affects her credibility and learn more about her multi-million dollar company "Honest" after the cut.
Enthusiasm is infectious, unstoppable, a primal force of nature. Kind of like malaria. Those of us born with a natural immunity to it are called pessimists—or journalists. (The terms are pretty much interchangeable.) We are adept at spotting the canker in the rose, to paraphrase Shakespeare, and truth be told, we strain to see it even when it's not there.
That is why I feel sorry for any journalist who has to profile Jessica Alba, an actress of uncommon beauty who has become an extraordinarily successful and savvy businesswoman. Her enthusiasm is genuine, her success is earned, and her disarming smile and sweet demeanor make you ashamed of all the mean questions you wanted to ask.
Launched in 2012, Alba's Honest Company (she is a cofounder and the chief creative officer) has grown into a robust online subscription business that markets a whole host of household and beauty products positioned as safe and mostly naturally derived. Honest was valued by Fortune this year at $1.7 billion, making it a real live unicorn, a term generally reserved for start-ups valued at $1 billion or higher. (Though "real" and "live" are probably not the best modifiers of "unicorn.") Recent history shows that those hypothetical billions can evaporate into bankruptcy as fast as you can say "dot-com bubble." But Alba's business seems robust: Aside from its loyal online following, Honest works with powerhouse retailers, such as Ulta Beauty (for beauty), Target, Costco, Nordstrom, and Whole Foods, to name a few.
Alba is perfectly composed and ladylike, sipping a glass of rosé in the plush restaurant of the New York Edition hotel on Madison Square in New York City. I am sweating like a pig (actually, pigs don't sweat much, which is why they wallow in the mud to cool off, but I digress), having sprinted across town, knocking over several members of the clergy, pregnant women, and gawking tourists along the way, only to arrive 15 minutes late. (I'm sorry about the clergymen and pregnant women; the tourists had it coming.) Noticing my, um, glandular condition, Alba takes pity: "Is the fireplace hot for you? Why don't you sit here?" she says, gesturing to her own place. She is gracious and tries not to stare at my sorry, drippy state. Though why a big gas fireplace, the mantel of which can only be described as faux baronial, is blazing away on a sultry summer evening is anyone's guess.
Photographed by Will Davison and Interviewed by David Denicolo.
For the full interview, head straight to the source Allure Magazine