At just 34 years of age, Jessica Alba seems to have done it all. From numerous awards for her acting to co-founding The Honest Company, she is accomplished in many fields.

Best known as an actress, Alba's business prowess is admirable, but it wasn't an easy road for her. She recently told the audience at an event in New York City, "People just saw me as a girl in a bikini in movies kicking butts. It took three and a half years of lots of, like, condescending nods."

The people who didn't take her seriously must be feeling pretty silly right about now. Here are 20 unusual facts you may not have known about epically successful businesswoman Jessica Alba:

1. At the age of 13, Alba made her first film appearance in Camp Nowhere. In her early days as an actor, Alba also appeared in television commercials for brands such as J.C. Penney and Nintendo.

2. Due to the fact that her mother was a lifeguard, Alba was able to swim before she could walk.

3. Alba doesn't believe her celebrity did her any favors in launching and growing her company. "A lot of people can be a celebrity; you don't really have to have any talent to do that," she told the audience at GrowCo to laughs and applause. She went on to explain that having a great idea was far more important.

4. Alba is a philanthropist at heart and has raised money for many charities. In 2005, she offered her acting talents for free to raise money for amfAR, an AIDS research foundation.

5. In 2011, Alba played a major role in lobbying in support of the Safe Chemicals Act.

6. Despite her responsibilities with The Honest Company, she continues to act. Alba has a role in Mechanic: Resurrection, set for release in 2016.

7. Even though The Honest Company is only four years old, it has a valuation of nearly $1 billion.

8. After coming up with the idea for The Honest Company, Alba showcased her networking skills and enlisted the help of industry professionals to "bring it to life."

9. Eleanor Roosevelt is one of Alba's favorite historical figures, thanks to her tenacity.

10. Alba wants you to be honest with your customers, too. "Try to understand that people have been marketed to their whole lives, so try to be authentic," she said in a recent video interview.

11. Alba overcame many illnesses as a child, including pneumonia and a ruptured appendix.

12. Alba founded The Honest Company with one thing in mind: "Everything that touches you and your family--everything in your home--needs to be nontoxic, needs to be effective and beautiful to look at, and needs to be affordable."

13. Alba's father was in the Air Force when she was growing up, resulting in her family moving frequently.

14. It took Alba three years to find the right business partners for The Honest Company but it was worth the wait--her business has secured more than $100 million in funding. Upon speaking with VCs, Alba realized that most had wives who were dealing with a similar problem: finding a brand they could trust.

15. Alba was known for refusing to "bare all," as many young starlets did. In fact, she threatened to sue Playboy in 2006 for using her image without permission on the cover of their March issue that year. She did not appear inside the magazine and received an apology from Hugh Hefner.

16. Why yes, there was a nude scene in Machete in 2010. Alba wore underwear that was digitally removed. She's dead serious about her commitment to not filming nude and is reported to have a no-nudity clause in her acting contracts.

17. In 1994, Alba was cast in Flipper, the PAX network revival of the '60s TV show. During filming in Australia, Alba is reported to have received a series of threats by phone before being kidnapped from the set. As the story goes, she was later found unharmed in the trunk of a car. However, she has refused to answer any questions about the incident over the years.

18. Alba has an intense interest in Harley Davidson motorcycles.

19. Alba has gone through many experiences in her 34 years, but notes the following: "Being a mom is the most profound experience I've ever had."

20. Alba was a pretty good sport about being "punk'd" in 2003 by Dax Shepard. He followed her around a clothing store completely nude while she tried to shop. Thankfully, it was just a stunt for Ashton Kutcher's hit TV show.

21. As an actress and celebrity, Alba was frequently ranked among the sexiest women in the world by men's magazines, including taking the top spot on Maxim's 2001 "Hot 100 Babes List." Whether she continues to win "sexiest" accolades for her brains and business acumen remains to be seen.

Published on: Jul 1, 2015
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