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Jessica Alba talks life, love and the importance of self-awareness

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Chloe Gray
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Jessica Alba

Five Minute Philosopher is a weekly series in which Stylist gets profound with people we love. What will the actor Jessica Alba make of our existential questions?

What is the meaning of life?

Creating as many true connections with people [as possible] and improving on your character to reach peace and joy.

What is the difference between right and wrong?

Context. I think it depends on where you’re at in your life and I think [things] take on different meanings and have different degrees of understanding [depending] on how you’re approaching it.

Where is your happy place?

Being with my kids [Alba has two daughters and a son] and my husband. 

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Nature or nurture?

It’s a combination.

Is it more important to be liked or respected?

I feel there is a different value in respecting someone versus liking. Just liking someone feels a little bit more flippant and temporary, whereas respect feels more permanent and grounded.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

Caring. I hope that my kids think at the end of the day I really care about them.

Who or what is your greatest love?

I mean, my husband is my greatest love, and my children.

When did you last lie?

Again, it’s context. People don’t necessarily need to know the whole truth because it’s not for everyone. It’s just easier to gloss right over it. Little, little, little ones here and there. You don’t necessarily have to give the whole truth.

Does the supernatural exist?

Yes, of course.

Are you fatalistic?

I don’t think so. I feel appreciative I was born into a circumstance where I could dream and create the reality I wanted to live. A lot of people aren’t given that opportunity: that keeps me grounded.

What is your greatest fear?

I never want to outlive my kids.

Animals or babies?

Babies! I like dogs that don’t make me sneeze. I’m so allergic.

Do you like to be complimented?

Depends on where it’s coming from but yes, I appreciate a compliment

Do you have a high pain threshold?

Yes, I pushed three children out of my body! 

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What book do you recommend most to others?

It depends on where they are at in their life. I think The Four Agreements [by Don Miguel Ruiz] is good when you are at a turning point in your life, to get grounded in self-love and self-care and not feed into society’s way of telling you how you need to operate and get more ownership over your destiny. If you were a budding entrepreneur Leadership The Eleanor Roosevelt Way [by Robin Gerber] is an inspiring book because it unpacks this woman who led a lot of movements and did it all through a lot of resistance and really had to create her own way.

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?

Self-awareness. It’s constantly something you have to check into because it’s so easy to be affected by other people’s perception of you. But I think if you constantly check into your intentions there is always room for improvement and you aren’t so sensitive to things that may not serve you and be toxic. All you can do is be in control of your reality.

What food sums up happiness?

Tacos! All the tacos! With a margarita.

What have you never understood?

Haggis.

What is the one thing you want to know before you die?

How to speak another language. Even if it’s terribly. Preferably Spanish, but I’ll take anything.

Alba recommends The Four Agreements

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?

I think I’m scared of dying if I felt like it was happening immediately and I wasn’t prepared for it.

Quinoa or Quavers?

How can you not like a puffed cheese crisp?

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