"Being in the public eye has given me power": Jessica Alba talks business, beauty and trusting your gut

Jessica Alba has left Hollywood behind to focus on her ever-growing business [Photo: Braun]
Jessica Alba has left Hollywood behind to focus on her ever-growing business [Photo: Braun]

Walking onto a film set at the age of 12 and being firmly in the public eye ever since changes a person. It goes some way to explaining Jessica Alba’s colossal jump from simple Hollywood actress to serious businesswoman.

The Honest Company, which Jessica started in 2011 after struggling to find toxin-free baby products, is now worth almost $2 billion. Selling everything from nappies to tampons with the odd beauty line thrown in, the company has earned the 35-year-old a spot on the cover of Forbes magazine and the title of fourth youngest woman on their list of the Richest Self-Made Women in America.

Now boss to around 500 employees as well as mum to daughters Honor, 8, and Haven, 5, Jessica has never been busier. Yahoo Style UK caught up with her to talk confidence, career goals and the advantages of having all eyes on your every move.

My proudest career moment would definitely be starting a company that I believe in. It’s a company that I believe is really changing the game and the way that businesses are forced to look at the way they manufacture products and consider human health – not just profits and growth.

Trust your gut. I really felt for a long time that I needed to have a more conventional trajectory in business by going to business school. But you really don’t. Most of the people who’ve started companies learn as they go. You figure things out as you grow. You have to be relentless about pursuing whatever it is you’re doing and you have to inform yourself on what you’re good at and what you’re not. Then try and support your weaknesses with expertise.

Jessica says her family is 'super inspiring' [Photo: Instagram/jessicaalba]
Jessica says her family is ‘super inspiring’ [Photo: Instagram/jessicaalba]

I don’t think anyone has figured out how to balance work and life. Especially if you’re running a company. I admire people who can work at home but that’s something I’m not capable of doing. I try and get distracted. But I do think if you can somehow work part of your time at home, then that feels like more of a balanced approach. But honestly, I really haven’t figured it out.

My kids inspire me. They’re so hopeful, so optimistic. Anything is possible in their eyes. They’re not cynical. They have no real understanding of what isn’t able to be done. Just seeing that optimism and living with it everyday gives me so much joy and is super inspiring.

Being in the public eye has given me more power. You get to set the trends. There’s no big business conglomerate telling me how I need to look and feel. I have power as an individual because my message is authentic and there’s no way you can really replace that.

I always knew that inner beauty was important. Even as a kid. But now I understand it in a real way. I feel like I’m a lot easier on myself and not so critical now I’m older. It also helps that I’m not just an actress. When you’re acting, you sort of feel like you’re in this machine and you’re at the mercy of whatever the director or producer or magazine thinks of you. I don’t attach my identity to other people’s ideals. I really just feel very comfortable in my own skin.

The 35-year-old actress and businesswoman believes there is no one standard in beauty [Photo: Braun]
The 35-year-old actress and businesswoman believes there is no one standard in beauty [Photo: Braun]

I love to experiment with make-up. My mum went to cosmetology school so I was basically her Barbie head growing up. I’ve been wearing make-up professionally since I was 12 so I’m a real beauty buff. There’s a lot of products I can’t live without. I love the Braun Silk-expert IPL. My legs have never been smoother. You shave your legs and then use the IPL and it actually decreases the growth which is awesome. I love that you get to do a spa treatment at home and it doesn’t cost a thousand dollars every month. And it doesn’t hurt. I tried laser when I was younger and I died. It was so painful.

Sleep and stay hydrated. That’s the biggest beauty lesson I’ve learnt. If you haven’t slept and you’re dehydrated, you won’t look good no matter who you are.

There is no one standard in beauty. There’s only so much you can change about yourself and at the end of the day, if you are happy with yourself, it doesn’t matter what size you are, what colour you are, what anything you are. You only have one life. If you’re feeling insecure, everyone else will follow suit. Confidence is just about how you feel about yourself and that will influence how people treat you.

I want to create a global brand. Right now, The Honest Company is just domestic but it really would be a dream to be able to give everyone access to these products, an opportunity to live their best life and to change the way other businesses think on a global scale.

Jessica Alba is the Braun Global Beauty Brand Ambassador.

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