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For Jessica Alba, a watch must have “green”...
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For Jessica Alba, a watch must have “green” credentials

Thursday, 19 December 2019
By Frank Rousseau
Frank Rousseau

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5 min read

In Hollywood, appearances can be deceptive. Take Jessica Alba, for example. The “sexiest woman in the world” happens to be a hugely successful start-up entrepreneur.

Eight years ago Jessica Alba launched The Honest Company, which sells eco-friendly household products. It’s now valued in excess of $1.5 billion. We met the actress at the head of a unicorn, who also appreciates a good-looking watch.

How old were you when you started in showbiz?

Around twelve. At first I wanted to become a dancer, but I hung up my ballet shoes the day a producer offered me a role in Camp Nowhere, though I have to say I don’t remember much about it. Two years later I stepped in to replace an actress who’d had to pull out of the TV show, Flipper. Basically I had to speak dolphin, jump in and out of the water in a bikini, and not choke on my snorkel.

Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba
We've seen you in quite a few action movies. Have you always been a tough cookie?

I had to be. I come from a big family with fourteen cousins. More than once, I had to step in to prevent family reunions degenerating into a boxing match. Latinos are like that, hot-blooded. I soon learned to stand my corner. I also had a long history of childhood illnesses, which could have something to do with it. I had pneumonia many times, and suffered from chronic asthma too. I’m a survivor who one day decided to fight back!

I never say no to a nice watch!
Jessica Alba
As well as being an actress, you're at the head of The Honest Company, which sells eco-friendly consumer products. What inspired you to start the business?

The fact that 60% of the moisturisers and other beauty products we put on our skin contain substances that pass straight into the blood. The Environmental Working Group tested 400 baby-care products; 217 of them contained neurotoxins that mutate in the body. We now know exposure to certain petrochemicals can cause different cancers, physical malformation, obesity, asthma, allergies, etc. Advanced studies have proven that the increase in the number of people suffering from these conditions coincides with the introduction of these products. I was horrified when I read that. I used to think we could trust big-name brands. Now I know we can’t.

Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba
Your company turns over a huge profit. What do you with all this money?

Well, I spoil my children, my husband and my family. Otherwise, I’m not really into diamonds. Although I never say no to a nice watch! Particularly when it’s a gift from my husband. Nothing big and flashy, nothing with diamonds all over the bezel. When I’m on the red carpet, people expect me to wear a feminine watch but to be honest, given the choice, I’d much rather wear my husband’s dive watch. First of all because it’s my husband’s. Secondly, and here I have to let you in on a secret, because I’m short-sighted and I can barely see the hands and numerals on a woman’s watch!

Do you remember your first watch?

It was a pink plastic Barbie watch that matched my bike. I used to put it under my pillow at night. It was a gift when I was five and I’m afraid it didn’t last long. The first watch I bought with money I’d earned as an actress was a vintage Rolex with an eye painted on the pink dial. I still have it, complete with the original box. It was the first time I’d treated myself to something that expensive, and my heart was pounding!

It matters to me that the watch I wear is environmentally-friendly.
Jessica Alba
Would you call yourself a collector?

If having more than five watches makes you a collector then yes, I’m a collector, although it isn’t something I set out to be. It’s more a spur-of-the-moment thing. Being a mom doesn’t often leave me the time but, occasionally, I like to go window shopping, which is when I might spot a watch I like. Having said that, I’d never spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a watch, which in Hollywood happens more often than you’d think. Once, a luxury watch and jewellery company asked if I would wear its products to the Academy Awards. I declined the invitation, as I would have had to spend the evening flanked by bodyguards, in case there were any jewel thieves around.

Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba
What are the most important qualities you look for in a watch?

To begin with, it has to be slim and discreet. I have tiny wrists. Wearing a watch with a thick case feels like weight-lifting. I’m less and less into leather straps. Manufacturers are producing extraordinary composites that can easily replace materials of animal origin. It matters to me that the watch I wear is environmentally-friendly. It’s time we started living in harmony with the planet. The countdown has begun. If we don’t act now, it will be too late…

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