Another Hollywood darling, Jessica Alba, is gaining newfound attention with The Honest Company, her year-old line of eco-friendly home and baby products. Jessica, who is the proud mama of two gorgeous girls, found a need in the market for safe and affordable products for both moms and children. Her journey is an inspiring one, and along the way, she's also managed to finesse some serious style points.
The multi-hyphenate talked to us about her new book, creating her own company, and what it means to have Honest style.
Tell us about the decision to create your own company.
"It felt like it was out of necessity. When you are growing a person inside of you, and you're like, 'I'm responsible for this little person,' not only keeping her alive, but making sure that she is going to be healthy and happy. So I guess you're just more aware of the things you want to avoid, something as easy and obvious as toxic chemicals. There weren't many great options, so that's why I had to create the company."
It does seem like an obvious lifestyle choice for you. So, what's the hardest part about living what you call "The Honest Life?"
"It's not so hard, actually. I looked around me and saw people who were extremely green, extremely eco, extremely vegan — and I'm not an extreme person. I believe everything in moderation is good. I think you need to cut yourself some slack, and I know that everyone's doing the best they can. Having a little more of a balanced perspective is really what "The Honest Life" is about: The philosophy that you can make healthier and better choices for you and your family. You don't have to live way on one end of the spectrum, so take from it what works for you. Maybe you see three or four little changes that work for you; that's cool."
Your new brand encompasses a lot of aspects of life, similar to what Gwyneth Paltrow has done with GOOP. Do you think this will change women's perspectives on what it means to be glamourous?
"The thing is, nowadays with paparazzi and the access that anyone with a camera has on you and your life, it takes away a lot of the glamour. So, I'm putting gas in my car — what's glamorous about that?! I think it's just being able to filter information and put out what's genuine and authentic to you. I think there are things in the book most people might not know about me. I cook, I come from a family that I care about, I put together my house, I don't have designers and celebrity chef friends, and I'm not buying the most fancy and expensive versions of everything — that's just not how I grew up. I like nice things, absolutely, but it's about choosing quality over quantity, that's kind of my philosophy."
Do you have any mentors that inspired this initiative?
"Martha Stewart is certainly one of my idols as far as what she created. When I was younger I'd think, Oh gosh, it'd be great to be able to make cheese, or have a garden (laughs). I wanted everything to be pretty and Easter-egg colored. I don't know if the expectations are different now. I do think people look at individuals as brands more than ever, but maybe that's because of social media."
Photo: Courtesy of Hannaway PR.
"I don't at all; I don't think there's enough out there. I know how difficult it is to find manufacturers who have more sustainable practices — it's nearly impossible, unless you want to invest in that process. And usually people just have a great idea and they're lucky to get that off the ground. I think having Honest style is more about the quality, so you're not constantly disposing of things, and if you do give something a life and you love it and it was your favorite thing, pass it down to a girlfriend and give it another life. So, instead of being wasteful, just be a little more conscientious instead of just consuming for consuming's sake, or just buying up a bunch of a certain trend and jumping from one thing to the next. Figure out what gets you excited about fashion, and how you want to be presented, what looks best on your body, and hone in more on that."
Especially when it comes to being disappointed when a certain piece ends up not looking great on your body type.
"It shouldn't! Not everything should look good on your body. That's what's great about the world, we're all different. If we were all the same it'd be so boring. Whenever my daughter says, 'I really wish I had a trampoline,' I say, 'Isn't it so great that your friend has a trampoline, so that when you go to her house it's really exciting?' That's me breaking it down like a mom, super lame sauce. But that's kind of the way I think now."
In The Honest Life, you discuss your tomboy roots and how, after having two daughters, you feel as sexy and confident as ever. Were there any particular designers that helped you transition into your sense of style?
"Yes! Narciso, Dolce, and Versace. Narciso was the first time I ever wore a tight dress in my life…I didn't even know I could ever look like that or feel like that. I was like, 'Okay, this is what it means to be feminine, chic, and sexy but very classy at the same time.' I think Narciso kind of changed things for me."
Well, you've definitely become a fashion insider as of late. Can we expect you to come out with your own line or collaborate with a designer on a collection?
"I don't know. I don't see that happening any time soon. I really respect artists and what they create with their visions, and I really believe that great designers are artists. I feel like I'm more of a curator and less of someone who's coming up with the art. I can't imagine me doing that, but I would certainly support. My friends just starting designing for Kenzo and it's so fun. It's just such a great brand and I love where they're taking it. To see in one year where it was and where it is now; it's so rad."
Photo: Courtesy of Hannaway PR.