Jessica Alba is GLAMOUR UK’s July digital cover star and in an exclusive interview with our Entertainment Director, Emily Maddick, Jessica, who is of Latina heritage, has spoken openly about being “one of the few” women from a diverse background to star in Marvel films “back in the day” – and has commented there is still room for greater diversity and inclusion on screen in the film and entertainment industries.
“Even if you look at the Marvel movies – that’s the biggest driver of fantasy and what’s happening right now in entertainment, because it’s sort of the family thing – it’s still quite Caucasian,” she said.
Jessica, whose paternal grandparents were both the children of Mexican immigrants, is an important member of the Marvel universe, having played Sue Storm aka The Invisible Woman in both Fantastic Four (2004) and Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007).
Referring to her recurring in the Fantastic Four franchise, she told GLAMOUR: “I would say I was one of the few back in the day… And it was before Marvel was sold to Disney… but it’s still quite… more of the same.”
Marvel is the highest-grossing movie franchise of all time, according to Investopedia – and in recent years there has been a major push for diversity across its films, such as 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings, which starred a predominantly Asian cast including Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Stephanie Hsu and Michelle Yeoh; and 2018’s Black Panther, starring the late Chadwick Boseman. Ms. Marvel, a new series on Disney+, also features Kamala Khan, Marvel’s first Muslim superhero.
Several upcoming Marvel films will continue to feature greater diversity, starting with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 2022) with Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira; and The Marvels (also November 2022) starring Nia DaCasta alongisde Zawe Ashton, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani alongside veteran star Brie Larson.
Asked whether she has noticed a change in the industry in recent years, Jessica responded that she had – and welcomed the change even though she considered it a “business initiative”.
Jessica said: “It’s a business initiative for people now that they realise how much money they can make. It’s something they care about, which is fine. However they get there really doesn’t matter. You’re like, ‘Great. Now you realise there’s a whole group of folks that you just frankly left out of the conversation because you just didn’t even see them. They were there the whole time.’ And I guess it’s the people in charge.”
She continued: “However they get there, it really genuinely doesn’t matter. I just think more for the younger people who are coming up, who are going to be our future leaders, it’s important for them to see the world on screen, or in stories, in the dreams that we create as entertainers; it reflects the world that they’re in.”