»Slideshow: Jessica Alba's Cover-Shoot Gallery

»Slideshow: Get Jessica Alba's Cover Look

Jessica Alba could be your best friend—if your best friend happened to be the most insanely gorgeous, relentlessly photographed and politically engaged young mom in the world. And this “sexiest movie star” and “most beautiful” woman (as she’s been crowned by virtually every magazine in print) doesn’t mind the attention—or, for that matter, even seem to notice it.

The week before this interview, People magazine named Alba one of the best-dressed celebs of 2010 to much fanfare. Had she seen that? “Um... no,” she giggles. It seems that the very public scrutiny surrounding her clothes, her face and her body is just background noise to Alba. All the press she gets is “just a way to market a movie,” she says simply. In the past few years, young celebrity moms have become the lifeblood of weekly magazines (you can’t live in the Western world and not have seen photos of her running errands with daughter Honor, two), but that doesn’t stop Alba from behaving like any other 29-year-old woman.

On Twitter, she posts everything from the mundane (pictures of herself having dinner with friends or trying out a new nail polish) to the provocative (political opinions about a variety of issues such as women’s rights and immigration). She admits she doesn’t think twice before tweeting personal information to her approximately 700,000 followers. “I just do that because it’s what everyone else does on Twitter,” she says. “It has nothing to do with paparazzi. Paparazzi follow you and take pictures of you and taunt you. For me, Twitter is a social network, and I really communicate with friends through it. That’s just the way people communicate these days.”

Alba is equally unconstrained by other people’s opinions when it comes to making career choices, with a résumé full of movies ranging from superhero (Fantastic Four) to rom-com (Valentine’s Day) to graphic action flick (Machete) and, this month, a blockbuster comedy set in Chicago: Little Fockers, the third installment of the Meet the Parents franchise.

“I play a pharmaceutical sales rep, and she’s really into Ben Stiller’s character,” Alba says. “She admires his work as a nurse and what he’s done, and she wants to work with him, and then you realize that she’s a little bit off. She’s really in your face and very aggressive, she has no filter and no sense of boundaries or personal space. She’s pretty much the opposite of me.”

Like what you're reading? Get it delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up now for our newsletters >>