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Jessica Alba was born on 28th April 1981 in Pomona, California, USA. She was the daughter of a Mexican-American father and a French-Danish mother. Alba's early life was marked by a series of unfortunate physical maladies. In addition to asthma, Alba twice suffered from collapsed lungs, a burst appendix and had to endure pneumonia several times a year.

Luckily, her health eventually took a dramatically positive turn a few years later; an improvement Alba credited to her growing interest in acting. Signed by an agent by the age of 12, Alba made her screen debut with "Camp Nowhere." Alba went on to appear in two national TV commercials for Nintendo and J.C. Penney, which led to her landing a recurring role as the young snob, Jessica, in three episodes of the Nickelodeon comedy series, "The Secret World of Alex Mack."

She then performed the role of Maya Graham in the first two seasons of the TV series, "Flipper" (also known as "The New Adventures of Flipper"). Under the tutelage of her lifeguard mother, Alba learned to swim before she could walk and was a PADI-certified scuba diver - skills which were put to use on the show, which was filmed in Australia. As the fresh-faced, enthusiastic and sweet Maya, the part would provide Alba a nice departure from her previous "mean girl" TV efforts.

Alba played Joyce Lakeland, a prostitute and sometime-lover of Affleck's, whom he brutally beats to death on screen. The scene - and a similar one later in the film with Kate Hudson - was so graphic that the film inspired numerous walkouts and angry verbal responses at Sundance, and colored almost every one of the film's mixed reviews. Reports hit the Internet that Alba herself walked out of a screening halfway through, although her rep told the press later that the actress stood by her work and the film, and merely had to catch a flight.

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