Jessica Alba Says Her Work Ethic is "Unparalleled"
"There's no one that will outwork me."
Running a business is not for the faint of heart, just ask Jessica Alba. The actress-turned-mogul has been running her successful, no BS natural beauty and baby care brand, The Honest Company, for 10 years. On this week's episode of Ladies First with Laura Brown, Alba says the reason for the company's success is pretty clear: she works hard as hell.
"I think I have a fearlessness I was born with, and I also have a work ethic that is pretty unparalleled," she tells InStyle's editor in chief Laura Brown. "I used to take it for granted. There's no one that will outwork me."
When The Honest Company went public earlier this year, Alba, her family, and her team showed up at NASDAQ on May 5 to celebrate the milestone, coordinated to her specifications. "The CEO of NASDAQ was like, 'I've never seen a brand take it to this level, where I got a brand brief on a color palette,'" she says.
"I think you carry the weight of all the things that you went through to get to that point," explains Alba. "And I felt the wins. I felt all the challenges. I felt all the heaviness. I felt all the naysayers. I felt all those sleepless nights, the anxiety, all the moments I miss with my kids. You sacrifice so much when you're building a business. And you look up and you're like, 'Was it worth it?' It was really emotional. I was just trying to keep it together and not be a blubbering mess."
Jessica Alba Says Business Isn't For Everyone: Episode 39: August 31, 2021
Duration: 35 minutes
This podcast may contain cursing that would not be appropriate for listeners under 14. Discretion is advised.
Alba goes on to explain that her unmatched work ethic gave her a unique perspective into her roles in Hollywood, too. "Why they pay you, really, is so that you can put asses in seats," she says. "And so I felt like that was my job. I didn't really believe the hype. And at any moment, they can't wait to kind of squash you or get rid of you, and so I always knew that as well. It always felt temporary."
Of course feeling "temporary" brings with it a whole slew of insecurities for young talent.
"I was always wildly insecure," she shares. "I was insecure about being a woman. I had a lot of body shame. I wasn't comfortable with my femininity at all. I was so deeply uncomfortable with sexuality, and I played characters. Whenever I did interviews, I would play a character. Whenever I did anything, it was always a character; [it] wasn't really me or how I really felt about myself."
It wasn't until the birth of her first daughter, Honor, that Alba began to change her perception and feel grounded in her own body. "I think [motherhood] took me out of the objectifying lens that you're only just sort of an object that is meant to be desired by people in a certain way. I really felt vulnerable and [Honor] broke me open, and I really felt like I don't need to be ashamed or feel like I'm worthless."
Listen to the rest of Jessica Alba's interview on Ladies First for the story of her "midlife crisis" that hit promptly at age 27, and how her daughter changed everything.
Listen to the full episode and subscribe on Apple, PlayerFM, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. And tune in weekly to Ladies First with Laura Brown hosted by InStyle's editor in chief Laura Brown, who speaks to guests like Michelle Pfeiffer, Emily Ratajkowski, Cynthia Erivo, Naomi Watts, La La Anthony, Ellen Pompeo, Rep. Katie Porter, and more to discuss current events, politics, some fashion, and, most importantly, the major firsts in their lives.