Stereotyped as a Latin beauty and often awarded parts on the strength of her looks, Jessica Alba has struggled to make her mark in Hollywood and win roles that don't include a bikini.
The actress" exotic looks are thanks to her Mexican, French and Danish heritage and, despite the fact she doesn\'t speak Spanish, she is widely regarded as a Hispanic actress something which is a source of frustration. "My father is Mexican and very dark, my mother is very fair. I always used to get (script) breakdowns for things like Maria, the janitor\'s daughter who hangs around with white kids. I was born in the United States. I never thought about it until the industry made me think about being a Latin girl. It seemed like such a bizarre thing."
Her parents Mark and Cathy married in their teens and brought Jessica, born on April 28, 1981, in Pomona, California, and her brother Joshua - also an actor - up in a town just south of LA. School didn"t suit the aspiring actress, it seems. "I stopped going to regular school at seventh grade," she recalls. "I had big dreams. I was focused at a very young age. I hated school. I didn\'t have any friends. I couldn\'t wait to leave." Jessica enrolled in acting classes at the Atlantic Theater Company, set up by playwright David Mamet and William H Macy, and picked up an agent.
She soon won her big screen break in 1993 with comedy Camp Nowhere
. Originally hired for just two weeks, she was promoted to a principal role after another actress dropped out - although Jessica admits it was the similarity between her hair and that of the original actress, rather than her acting talent, that clinched it. She was soon racking up small screen credits, too, in The Secret World Of Alex Mack
, and in 1996 as Maya Graham in Flipper
, filming the pilot for the popular series. She spent 1995 shooting the first season of the dolphin drama in Australia and getting to indulge in her love of swimming.
During her later teens she enjoyed a steady flow of work in series such as Beverly Hills 90210
and films including Never Been Kissed
with Drew Barrymore
with Randy Quaid. But it was the action-packed sci-fi show Dark Angel
that got her noticed - not only in the States but the UK, too. Soon she was topping \'most beautiful\' lists and magazines were putting her on their covers.
She wasn\'t always happy with the way she was portrayed, however, and made moves to sue Playboy
magazine when it used a promotional shot from her film Into The Blue
on the cover, saying it misled people to believe she appeared nude in the edition. "It was against who I am and what I represent. I\'ve been working so hard to be somebody else, and it just wasn\'t cool." She dropped the case after receiving an apology and donations to charity. Jessica also insists on a no-nudity clause in her contracts, and refused the chance to bare all in her role as a stripper in Sin City
In Hollywood she has said she feels a connection with her Fantastic Four
character Sue Storm, who has the power to turn invisible. "(I feel invisible) when I\'m in a room with men in the business who are heads of studios and have agendas to sell me as a sex symbol, and I\'m telling them I have a brain and I\'ve been acting for 12 years."
Protective of her privacy she has largely kept her love-life out of the headlines, despite some high-profile liaisons. After breaking off her engagement to Dark Angel
co-star Michael Weatherly in 2003, she had a brief fling with Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia.
Then in may 2008, Jessica married Cash Warren - son of actor Michael Warren whom she met when he was a production assistant on Fantastic Four
. The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Honor Marie on June 7 2008.