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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Jessica Alba still trying to change 'sex kitten' image

Actress Jessica Alba says she is more careful with the roles she accepts and is driven by passion
The Straits Times - May 20, 2013
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Jessica Alba still trying to change 'sex kitten' image

The actress who a few years ago told the media she was trying to strike the word "sexy" from the description of her roles - sexy dancer, sexy surfer, sexy government official - seems to be doing a rather poor job of changing her image.

Jessica Alba, at age 32, will be reprising the role of exotic dancer Nancy Callahan in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, the sequel to the critically acclaimed and commercially successful crime thriller Sin City (2005). She will also be coming back as smouldering immigration agent Santana in Machete Kills, the sequel to the action movie Machete (2010). Both films will be released this year.

She will be in Singapore to co-host the inaugural Social Star Awards, along with actor Jeremy Piven, at the Marina Bay Sands on Thursday.

Alba, who in the mid-2000s regularly topped hottest-body and sexiest actor polls (despite a no- nudity clause in her contracts), laughs and plays it coy when she is told that she is still playing sex kittens. She spoke to Life! on the telephone from Los Angeles.

"Am I? I had no idea," she says. She is still trying to make a change, she explains.

"I'm certainly a lot more thoughtful about my choices when it comes to acting work and I'm just really driven by passion. Before, I was just happy to have a job. I took the best opportunities. I guess it was more about quantity than quality," she says.

But now, as a mother of two daughters, aged five and two, with husband, movie producer Cash Warren, she has to "make different choices", compared to when she was younger and hungrier. She is also the founder of The Honest Company, a toxin-free household products firm.

"I don't have the same kind of mentality about work. I really am more driven by passion and enthusiasm to work with film-makers," she says.

When she takes a role now, she wants to be able to inject her life experience into it, something she was not able to do when she was younger.

So while Nancy Callahan might be the same character as in the 2005 hit movie, Alba says she was able to shape the character with Robert Rodriguez. The director of Sin City and its sequel also directed her in Machete and its sequel, as well as 2011 action comedy Spy Kids: All The Time In The World.

"It's pretty awesome and it's something that I've never done. I'm really excited how it turned out, and it was such an awesome experience when I was shooting it," she says.

She will be making her first trip to Singapore to co-host the Social Star Awards, an event honouring top names in social media from around the world. She is active on social media, speaking as actress, mother, founder of The Honest Company and author of healthy-living guide The Honest Life.

She does not stick to a strict schedule when it comes to updating her Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts.

"It may be just random, depending on how I feel or what's happening that day, some days I don't post anything at all, some days I post several things," she says.

She is aware that celebrity posts are scrutinised, so she makes sure to err on the side of caution. Working in Hollywood has taught her the value of discretion.

"Living in Los Angeles and being an actor, being in the public eye, I'm used to it, compared to other people. I'm pretty good at minding my P's and Q's," she says.

Being able to speak directly to the world through social media is liberating, she says. Too often, the traditional media distort the truth about her.

"I get to control my voice and it's authentic, and everything that I put out there is me. Nothing is being misconstrued. That's nice and that's something a lot of people like about social media."

johnlui@sph.com.sg

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