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July 5, 2005

Jessica Alba: "Things I Can't Live Without!"

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Alba walks over to a nearby shelf, where she keeps a selection of action figures from the now-defunct TV show Dark Angel. Though she can live without the toys themselves ‑- "I think they're hilarious" ‑- they represent a pivotal time in her life. "I graduated high school when I was 16, and I took college-preparatory classes. At the time, I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist. I told myself that if I didn't get something significant in acting by the time I turned 18, I was going to quit the business and go to college," she says. "I got Dark Angel when I was 17." The series, produced by Titanic director James Cameron, changed the way Alba thought about the business. "Jim allowed me to be part of the development of the show," marvels Alba. "I don't know any other man in this business that would give a 17-year-old girl so much control. It was like, Finally, all my hard work and my parents sacrificing and not having money has paid off! That was when I knew I could really do this for a living and not just be 'Girl Number Five' in some movie." The doorbell rings. "Oh, Bille is here!" she says excitedly. Bille Woodruff is Alba's best friend and a definite TSCLW. They hit it off instantly when Woodruff, the filmmaker behind the recent hit Beauty Shop, directed Alba in Honey. It was Woodruff who, in the aftermath of Alba's breakup from her Dark Angel costar Michael Weatherly, bought her the book The Art of the Seduction, by Robert Greene. The tart and twisted relationships primer is also on Alba's TSCLW list.

Bille: Jessica didn't really need The Art of the Seduction, but I wanted to remind her of the diva that she is.
Jessica: He was like, "Don't go out with guys who are lame," because I was seriously depressed.
Bille: That was my tough love. I was like, "Don't let him call you anymore!" She did not stop crying. She was like, [mimics crying] "Nobody likes me..."
Jessica: It was the worst.

The two friends share a knowing look, but it's not all about nursing bad breakups. "Whenever I'm feeling fat, Bille takes me shopping and makes me try on jeans that make my booty look bigger," Alba says. "Well, I don't want her to get too skinny," says Bille. "You know, that Hollywood thing."

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