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Jessica Alba said on a recent episode of HBO Max and CNN’s “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” that she adopted a more masculine persona as a teenager and young adult in Hollywood in order to deliberately avoid being preyed upon by various Hollywood predators. Alba started acting at age 13 and landed her breakthrough role as Max Guevara on Fox’s “Dark Angel” when she was 19 years old. The James Cameron-created series made Alba both a feminist TV icon of the early 2000s and a sex symbol.

“I guess I understood that I needed to help sell the product,” Alba told Wallace when asked if it bothered her how the media objectified her as a sex symbol. “And they sell it how they do so I understood it as a business decision and a strategy. And so I was able to distance myself from it. But I guess, you know, you can’t change other people’s minds about what they may or may not think of you. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with owning your sexuality. I just frankly was definitely not that person. I was very nervous about all of that, and I was quite uncomfortable in my own skin.”

“It wasn’t until I became a mom that I really started to even see myself as a woman or a sexual being or someone who owned her power and her femininity,” Alba continued. “At that time, I felt like I was very much having to put up this armor of masculinity and masculine energy so I wouldn’t, you know, be preyed on because there were a lot of predators in Hollywood from age 12 to 26.”

Giving off a tougher and more masculine energy helped keep Hollywood predators away, Alba said.

“I was a warrior. I put up that energy,” Alba said. “I was really tough, man. I curse like a sailor and I was very, I try…I think I tried to make myself as unavailable as possible, so that I wouldn’t be taken advantage of.”

“Dark Angel” ran for two seasons between 2000 and 2002. When the show wrapped, Alba made the jump to movies with roles in “Honey,” “Sin City” and “Fantastic Four,” the latter of which gave her a comic book tentpole thanks to her role as Sue Storm.