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Living The ‘Honest’ Life

Jessica Alba gets Gwyneth Paltrow-esque in her new book. We weigh in.

Jessica Alba is temporarily depriving cinephiles of her films to take on a new role: author (her first book, The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You is now available for sale). The mother of two daughters, Honor and Haven (we’re getting the sense she enjoys the letter ‘H’), launched The Honest Company in 2012 – a self-described “nontoxic, eco-friendly beautifully stylish family products brand.” And that mouthful pretty much encompasses Alba’s book, as well, which she described in greater detail: “Yes, this is sort of an eco-lifestyle book. But here’s what this book really is: a fun practical handbook for people like you and me. It’s realistic, a little bit irreverent, and 100 percent authentic.”

I don’t know about you, but when I self-identify with people it’s more along the lines of an equally stressed commuter. I only rarely find myself thinking, “I am so much like Jessica Alba.” But celebrity-turned-lifestyle-guru is a transformation we are familiar with—look no further than Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP, a digital media and e-commerce website created in 2008 that provides weekly digital publication, for proof. Paltrow curates the best of lifestyle for her readers – be it a must-have 24-karat gold iPhone speaker or a recipe for Red Rice ‘Risotto.’ GOOP’s ambition is to “publish a genuine and resourceful issue each week, for many, GOOP has become their most trusted girlfriend on the web.”

Does that mission statement sound familiar? We heard echoes of Paltrow’s statements throughout Alba’s book. But, will the “honest” brunette push aside the Iron Man blonde on the luxury market place? Probably not. Will we check back to learn tips on eating and cooking healthily, dressing well, decorating your home, worshipping their beautiful lives and have a few laughs at their expense? That sounds more like it.

The truth is, us commoners aren’t just like Jess or Gwyn, and while I will continue to read celebrity’s lifestyle manifestos in hopes of finding some secret that will make us insta-famous/beautiful/fabulous, I can’t help but take them with a grain of salt, or quinoa, or whatever.