Jessica Alba is finally hitting back at critics who question her identity. In an exclusive interview with Latina, the star of the new horror film The Eye dishes about the harsh double standard facing Latina actresses in Hollywood and how it's affected her differently from her peers.
"No one gives Cameron Diaz a hard time for not speaking Spanish," says Alba. "Her dad's Cuban, and I was telling her I feel so bad because everyone is so nasty to me for not speaking Spanish. She's like, 'I don't speak Spanish! I barely speak English!'," says the pregnant star with a laugh.
Although Alba's father is a second-generation Mexican-American, the actress has admitted that she was never taught to speak Spanish as a child, and Diaz isn't the only Latina who shares her struggle in learning the language. Shortly after she was denied a role in director Spike Lee's 25th Hour, Alba had a revealing conversation with that movie's star, Rosario Dawson. "[Lee] said, 'We're going to hire a Latin girl who can speak Spanish,' and then he hired Rosario. What's so funny is that I've worked with Rosario and she's like, I don't speak Spanish.' I was like, 'You
don't?' And she was like, 'No!'"
Alba has faced increasing scrutiny over her latinidad, most notably since 2007, when a series of controversial quotes surfaced in which the actress seemed to question her roots. Reacting to those
statements, Cuban-American celebrity blogger Perez Hilton has notoriously referred to her as "Jessica 'Don't Call Me Latina' Alba."
When asked whether the seeming hypocrisy in the industry bothers her, Alba is to the point. "You know, certain people they want to pick on, and certain people they don't."
For more, pick up the March issue of Latina (on newsstands February 19), where cover girl Jessica Alba addresses all the controversy surrounding her.