Jessica Alba has a very diverse ethnic heritage, and you don’t have to know a lot about her to figure this out. Tracing her roots is a whole different story, and her enigmatic beauty left many people wondering if she was actually born in Mexico.
No, Jessica Alba is not Mexican – she’s an American citizen with Mexican ancestry on her father’s side. Her Latin roots significantly shaped her career in Hollywood, since she never quite fit the mould and struggled securing leading roles.
Stick around to learn more about Alba’s Mexican heritage, and how it impacted her professional and personal life.
Jessica Alba’s Diverse Heritage
Jessica Alba grew up fully aware of her Mexican roots. She detailed her experience in a PopSugar article titled “I’m Proud of My Diverse Heritage” back in 2016, and dived into the rich history of several generations of her family.
The actress explained that her paternal grandparents were both children of Mexican immigrants, who moved to California from her home country in search of a better life. Jessica Alba was born to Mark David Alba and Catherine Jensen in 1981, and her mother has a pretty colorful ethnic background despite the fact she’s not Mexican.
Jessica Alba further explored her heritage during appearances on Finding Your Roots and Lopez Tonight. Both DNA tests confirmed her indigenous Mexican heritage, but Alba’s genetic ancestry was primarily European, since she has Danish, Welsh, German, English, and French roots from her mother’s side.
Jessica Alba started acting at a young age, and became one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses during the mid-2000s, after the role in Fantastic Four propelled her to fame. She still struggled securing the kinds of roles she wanted to play, and often ended up being stereotyped as an “exotic” beauty.
Hollywood executives didn’t quite know what to do with Alba, because they couldn’t figure out her ethnicity. Due to her mixed race, the actress was often told she’s not Latin enough to play a Latina, nor Caucasian enough to play the leading lady.
This experience made her even more determined to succeed, and make other Latina girls feel seen – especially if they grappled with fitting in the way she did.
“That was kind of a weird thing to wrestle with, because I never had to look at myself that way or stick myself in a bucket. So I was more determined to be a leading lady to show that girls can look like me, and we can be leading ladies,” the actress told PopSugar.
Embracing Her Roots
Casting directors and Hollywood executives may have struggled figuring out Alba’s identity, but she always firmly stood her ground and took pride in her Mexican heritage.
“I’ve always felt closer to being a Latina than anything else, because I grew up with my dad’s family, who are Mexican American. I never really identified any other way,” the actress told Glamour while discussing the importance of her Latin identity.
Alba also told the magazine she looked up to Daisy Fuentes and Jennifer Lopez while coming up in Hollywood, because she “broke through barriers” and proved she can do it all. Now she’s hoping other little girls will look up to her one day – especially her own daughters.
“I want my girls to embrace their Latino roots, know how much we have contributed to this country, and understand that the road ahead is richer when we acknowledge and embrace our heritage,” wrote Alba in her article for PopSugar.
Jessica Alba may not be a Mexican citizen, but she still feels a deep connection with her Mexican roots. Her enigmatic ethnic background put many obstacles in her way, but she’s proud of her heritage and she’s hoping her children will feel the same way.