Jessica Alba opens up in candid interview with Allure Magazine!

Jessica Alba may be undeniably sexy, but it wasn’t until she actually had a baby of her own, she says, that she understood or appreciated her own sexuality. “I was quite shy with it,” she says. “It wasn’t something I embraced until I had my daughter. I saw how incredible and amazing it is to be a woman and to be able to create a life.

“There’s a reason why certain areas of the body are desirable—because it all leads to reproduction. There’s a science behind it all. It’s not just to sell whatever you’re selling on a billboard or a magazine or a movie.”

Alba has strong feelings about nudity. In all her movies, she says, “At least I’m still covered. I’m wearing as much as a bathing suit. It’s not like I’m naked. I’m not terribly comfortable with being in a bikini, but covering up my genitals is different than not covering up my genitals, at the end of the day. I do see a difference in that, to put it really frankly.” Here, she poses in a satin gown by Derek Lam.

After her first pregnancy, Alba (shown here with hairstylist Danilo) worked hard to get back into shape, and she was successful—up to a point. “I can’t ever get down to the weight I was before I had Honor,” she says. “My body’s just different. The jeans just sort of zip up differently, and things hang differently. It’s a miracle what happens, but you definitely are different afterward.” She laughs. “Unless you’re Gisele.”

Alba was recently horrified by a tabloid story in which a young woman had sought to recapture the attention of an ex-boyfriend by being surgically altered to look more like the actress. “That’s just so bizarre, because the physical is so fleeting anyway,” she says. “And when you’re in a relationship, the physical lasts for, maximum, two years. And then you don’t care how attractive you are to that person—if they drive you nuts, they drive you nuts.”

Danilo clipped in long extensions for some shots but removed them for the cover. “I wanted to work with the effortlessness of her bob,” he says. He created spiral curls with a large iron, parted her hair on the side, and loosened the curls with a mixed-bristle brush. For the cover shot, Alba wore a silk-jersey-and-leather dress by Derek Lam.

Makeup artist Pati Dubroff used red and brown shades for “an ethereal, wood-nymph look.” First, Dubroff dusted a reddish-brown-colored shadow on Alba’s lids and swiped a glossy lipstick pencil on top. She then lined the actress’s eyes with a brown pencil and applied a few coats of black mascara. Next, she swept a generous amount of rosy blush onto the apples of the cheeks. As a final step, the makeup artist used her fingers to tap on nude lipstick, which softened Alba’s lip color.

For her Allure cover, Alba was photographed at Franklin Canyon Lake—a picturesque part of a 605-acre park overlooking the Los Angeles skyline. Her daughter, Honor, visited the set and stayed to watch her pose for a few shots.

At the cover shoot, Alba gave pregnant manicurist April Foreman tips on changing diapers. “You’ll want to practice before you have the baby,” she says. The actress joked with photographer Michael Thompson about her own bump—Alba was also pregnant when he shot her for the June 2008 Allure cover.

Alba, on approaching her thirtieth birthday: “According to some people, I peaked in my early 20s,” she says with a chuckle. “I was like, ‘Oh, really? I feel like I’m getting better.'”

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