Jessica Alba is an actress, the founder of a beauty and lifestyle empire, Honest, and a mom of three. She’s also one of the magazine industry’s favorite cover girls. Now the 37-year-old star is getting back into television as she continues to build her brand, and she’s celebrating by covering InStyle‘s July issue. And according to Alba, she has the secret to making magazines fly off the newsstands.
“So my jam on a cover, from the time I was around 19, is I would say, ‘Tell me what sells.’ I want to sell these magazines, so tell me what works,” Alba tells InStyle‘s Laura Brown in her cover story, for which she poses in the season’s hottest looks from Gucci, Givenchy, Alberta Ferretti and Dolce & Gabbana. “Is it the smile? Is it the twinkle in the eye? Every magazine has their different things, so I was like, ‘Let’s just get a lot of that — with different tops.’ And that’s what I would do.”
Her secret formula to a successful cover shot? Alba says she found the perfect smize, which connects with consumers purchasing magazines. So once she mastered that, she’d just change into a few outfits and put her soft smile on replay.
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“Different tops, and usually it’s a slight smile with a twinkle in the eye,” she says. “It’s relatable and not intimidating. It’s ‘I’m not gonna steal your man.’ It’s ‘I wanna be homegirls with you and have a drink’ but still aspirational.”
Years later, at 37, she’s a natural on the cover. But the star says her apparent confidence came later on.
“I was always so self-conscious,” she says, adding that “being on your menstrual cycle while you’re in a bathing suit—that’s terrible! That’s what I was going through on my first TV show, The New Adventures of Flipper, when I was 14. You’re like, ‘Why is this happening?’ I went through puberty in a bathing suit on camera every day, but I was happy to get that check, man.”
Now, she’s gearing up for her TV return, as she just filmed a pilot for L.A.’s Finest alongside Gabrielle Union.
She’s also on a mission to enable healthier, non-toxic beauty routines and lifestyles through Honest, which carries makeup, skincare, hair, baby and more products.
“I believe we’re changing the conversation,” she says of the brand. “You never really heard about toxic chemicals in products before. It wasn’t that commercial when we launched six years ago. People weren’t questioning ingredients or whether there was a safe alternative. Some people were, but they were sort of looked at as like, ‘Oh, you’re a hippie.’ But now it’s mainstream, and that’s cool. So we were pioneers. Hopefully, it will allow people to live better and healthier lives because they’ll at least know what to avoid.”