Jessica Alba, world traveller
If you consider her first act being a movie star, then I guess she’s in her second act. She was in movies, but was Jessica Alba ever a movie star? Debatable.
Vanity Fair does a series called Where I Go: International Itineraries from the Global Jet Set, a prescribed list of questions for celebrities; as much they hate to admit it, many want to be Goop, the privileged insider who knows a city better than the locals.
Jessica Alba answered questions on Kyoto, Japan. Her travel tips include eating a traditional Japanese breakfast, buying Japanese magazines (to immerse herself in the culture), and shopping amazing local designers. That's it. No specifics. Which designers did she buy? What did she eat?
So when you go to Japan, definitely eat the Japanese food. Thanks Jessica! Really, as much as people like to rag on Goop (me included), this is what separates Gwyneth from other female celebrities (because it’s always women) who want to tell you what to eat and how to dress: authenticity. You can say it's pretentious, but at least it's genuinely pretentious. Gwyneth isn't pretending to make doughnuts with Mario Batali or faking her fall uniform. She IS doing those things. As a reader, I believe she believes what she's writing about. Jessica obviously did go to Kyoto (and posted a bunch of instagrams to go with the article) but she doesn’t find a single interesting or engaging thing to say or anything to legitimise why SHE is your go-to Kyoto insider. This may just be an interview, but she's been working the lifestyle angle since she had her first kid, and if she wants to be an expert, she needs some expertise. The more tries at this, without the authority, the more mediocre she reveals herself to be. Alba’s mediocrity is just so exhausting. She can’t even make Japan seem cool, and it is very cool.
And if you think Jessica Alba is just happily raising her kids and does these silly interviews for fun, think again. She may not be acting, but she’s actively building a brand that goes beyond her limited career. But how, you say, she’s just a busy mom with two young kids! Yes, a heavily papped mom who uses her kids to market Honest Company (which is why they are on the website), has posed for magazine covers with them and is a celebrity mommy blogger for iVillage. As much as she plays the put-upon sourpuss, she is damn ready for those photos… and she has a great contemporary casual wardrobe.
Of course she plugs Honest Company in the questionairre. Her IMDb has only 4 credits for 2012/2013: one is a voiceover (her only listing in 2012), and one is in pre-production. Honest Company is it right now. Being Mommy Mother Earth in a Panama hat needs to pay off for her, and soon.
The VF travel series is pretty great though, I recommend Seth Meyer’s guide to Amsterdam - click here - and Simon Doonan’s guide to Shelter What’s a lesbian salad? I don’t know but I want to order one.
(Lainey - am attaching photos of Alba last week at the Giffoni Film Festival in Italy where, um, she was presented with an award, presumably to do with…acting.)