Jessica Alba is opening up about her decision to step away from acting after having her first child in 2008, clarifying that she wasn't escaping Hollywood, but going after healthy and happy family time.
"My mother had cancer at a really young age, in her early 20s. I grew up with chronic illness. I had five surgeries before I was 11 years old. I had chronic allergies, and I was hospitalized a lot as a child," the 39-year-old told Romper. "I had this real moment of, I want to live, and thrive, and spend as much time with this little person that I'm bringing into the world as possible and stay. So, my health matters. I want this little person to be healthy. And it's really freaking hard to be happy when you don't have your health."
Having faced health scares herself at a young age, Alba was flooded with concern for her daughter Honor. Now a mother of three, she maintained that she acquired a different outlook on both life and her career after having her first.
"My motivation was not like, ‘Am I ever going to get hired again?’ Frankly, I was at the top of my career," she said. "I couldn't go back to what I was doing before and be authentic. I just couldn't. I didn't care about it the same way...It was something bigger. I felt like if I was going to have this platform, then what can I do with it that could be meaningful and make a difference? That just felt so real when I became a mom for the first time."
The concerns for her children's health and wellbeing even led to the birth of the Honest Company — Alba's consumer goods brand that provides eco-conscious, chemical-free baby and cleaning products. It all started with a diaper, which she launched in 2012. Now, the brand has various offerings and notoriety beyond what she could have imagined. And she acknowledged how difficult the journey has been.
"Building a brand and building a business is f***ing impossible," Alba said. "And to be good at it and for it to thrive and scale, it is really hard. If anything, I was like, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ It took me three-and-a-half years just to find partners to even join me, and I got lots of rejection. I had to learn how to build decks. In every stage, I'm trying to get better and better as a business person, but it's a totally different skill set than just taking your influence and fame and putting your name on a package and doing a press tour, picking out a couple designs."
Still, paving the way for women entrepreneurs that have made businesses out of being moms is fulfilling for Alba. Just like motherhood itself, especially during a pandemic, she's figuring it out along the way.
"Your children's reality is really going to be dependent on your outlook and how you approach it in all this madness," she said.
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