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Jessica Alba: Our special one-on-one interview!

Haley Overland talks to Jessica Alba about her new movie *Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D,* her second pregnancy, parenting, hypnobirthing and more

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Last week, I had the honour of talking to Jessica Alba! This interview wasn’t in person, as usual, so no pics, Gorgeouses, bygones! But the experience of talking to her on the phone was still fabulous — especially since she’s been growing on me lately!

The gorj actress has been doing the rounds lately, promoting her latest flick Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, which hits theatres August 19th. The movie’s 4D because of the “Aroma-scope” feature, which is, apparently, totally awesome and novel, adding an extra dose of interactivity and sensory experience: kids are given numbered cards that they scratch and sniff throughout the film, so they, too, are a part of the action; when all eight numbers are scratched, something amazing happens (we’ll have to wait and see). So you must checkit with your kids. As Jessica reveals in the interview, her three-year-old daughter Honor will definitely see the movie….

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Hi Jessica! Can you tell us about Spy Kids: All the Time in the World and why it’s a must-see movie for kids (and parents!)?

Since you’re a parenting magazine, and since I’m a parent myself, I think this is a must-see movie because of how my character in the movie was inspired.

When I had my first child, the director and writer [of the movie] Robert Rodriguez, who’s a friend of mine, came over to my house, and I was like, “Gosh, I don’t know how I’m going to go back to work, and what if I just want to be a full-time mom, and what if I’m not good at it?” I had all these anxieties and doubts. And he reminded me to stay true to myself. He said, “You don’t have to work as much as you were before, but you still have to hang on to your own identity and your daughter will respect you for that. And if it’s part of who you are, you have to be true to that.” And I was like, “Gosh, you’re right.” And he said, “You’ll figure out the balance. It’ll be hard at first but you’ll figure it out.” And that was kind of what inspired him to write this character. She’s a full-time spy, gets pregnant and decides to give up her job and become a full-time mom, but she’s not very good at it… [laughter].

I went to Robert’s house when we were shooting Machete, and my daughter had a poo explosion in the car, and I forgot to bring the proper clothes. All she had was a onesie and some sneakers! I changed her in the car before we got in the house, and she was running around in a onesie. I was trying to be so prepared and I just wasn’t! So you’re trying to do everything, and you just can’t do everything and be Superwoman. And I think parents can really relate to that — for sure moms.

The overall theme of the movie is trying to find balance and making time for family, and running out of time, and it just seems like as a parent this is one of the most important things: you don’t want to miss those milestones that your kids hit because you’re at work, but at the same time you have to make a living and hang on to your own identity. It’s good and it’s healthy, and we have to forgive ourselves a little bit.

Of course what’s great about the Spy Kids movies, too, is that they’re not just about grownups and superheroes saving the day. The kids are the superheroes. So it’s empowering for kids to watch other kids go in and save the day — there’s nothing cooler than that.

Since your character “Marissa Cortez” was inspired by you, then, do you find you relate to her as a mom?

Sure, she’s trying to find the balance between work and home life. She ends up not having a sitter and having to save the world — and she has to bring the baby with her [laughter]. And I think we’ve all had moments when we’ve had to bring the kids to work, and we’re like, “Don’t cry! Don’t have a meltdown” [laughter]. You’re trying to keep them as calm as possible and on their best behaviour, but they’re kids, and they’re going to be kids.

So did you bring your daughter to work on the set?

Oh, I always bring her to work, yes. But, if I don’t have a sitter for some reason, and I have a meeting (which has happened), I ask the receptionists if they can look after her, and, of course, my daughter’s like, “Nooo!” And she’s holding on to me for dear life, and I’m in a meeting and she’s clinging on me and acting crazy, wanting things and saying my name 50,000 times [laughter].

If you could give one tip for balancing work and parenthood what would it be? What do you find helps you?

I’d love it if your readers could tell me their tips! Because I think it’s a constant battle and challenge. You’re going to compromise on one side or the other. Frankly, I’d rather compromise on work than on my family. So if you can try to get as much work done when your kids are at school or when they have something else that they’re doing — where they’re being watched by someone else — then try to cram all of your work into that short period of time. And a lot of moms are on the Internet now, and they’re working on the Internet. I’m actually a creative director on a site where we employed five stay-at-home moms. So, be with your kids all day, and once they’re in bed you start crackin’. It’s just about being organized and disciplined.

Jeremy Piven must make an awesome villain. Can you tell us what it was like working with him?

I’ve known Jeremy for probably a decade now (that makes me feel old!). I was on the second episode of Entourage, and they were shooting the pilot while we were shooting. So I’ve known him since then, and that was the only other time I ever worked with him. He’s a great guy, fun and funny. And he had a great time with the character. And Joel McHale, who plays my husband, is hilarious — he was cracking jokes the whole time.

I’m excited to bring my kids to see this movie. What age group is the movie appropriate for? Would you bring your daughter to see it?

Three and up, for sure. There’s nothing scary. My daughter saw The Little Mermaid with her girlfriend at Christmas time, and I was like, “Oh no! You let her see The Little Mermaid? What!? Ursula’s so scary!” And she was fine! I’m scared of Ursula and she’s not [laughter].

Can you tell us a bit about hypnobirthing, and if you’re planning on doing it again?

Oh yeah, cool! Definitely, I’ll do it again. It’s just about eliminating preconceived ideas, negative ideas that people have about birthing and labour, and getting into a zone of health and wellness. Your body is supposed to do this; it’s meant and made for birthing a child. It’s a natural thing — not something that needs to be intervened medically, unless, of course, there’s a complication or problem, and most of the time there isn’t. You have the power, as a woman, to have the type of birth experience that you want to have. It’s about being calm and breathing gently. Instead of pushing the baby out, necessarily, it’s breathing the baby down. Your body naturally contracts and pushes the baby out. That’s what labour is. So if you just allow it to do what it’s meant to do, and if you can stay calm and open, then you’ll have an easier time with birthing. That’s the philosophy behind it. And I did most of my labouring for my first child with hypnobirthing.

One of the most popular questions your Twitter fans had for you was: how are doing taking care of your daughter this far along in your pregnancy?

She’s in preschool right now, so that makes it a bit easier. I can’t really pick her up as much because it’s difficult and it hurts my stomach whenever she sits on it [laughter]. But I feel bad and I want to, so we cuddle when I’m sitting. We just find ways to stay physically connected without doing the same things that are obviously going to be hard on my body. And I’m trying to give her as much time as humanly possible before baby comes — making her feel super special and important and part of the process. Babies just lay there, so she’s going to be the one that needs more attention than anybody. It’s sort of like telling my husband, “By the way, I’m going to bring another husband home, and he’s coming around this certain date and we’re all going to be just really happy with it.” It’s a bizarre concept for a kid to try to wrap their head around.

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She was so sweet and generous, don’t you think, Gorgeouses? I can’t wait to take my kids to Spy Kids — curious what they’ll think of the 4D Aroma-scope, and curious to try it myself! Here’s the trailer to get you even more pumped!

Love!
xo Haley-O

Spy Kids Poster c/o Alliance Films