LIFE.com – Jessica Alba Invites You Over

Jessica Alba on the cover of LIFE

At the end of a secluded cul-de-sac in Los Angeles, inside her lush, light-filled home, one of Hollywood’s sexiest stars spends a Saturday doing the unthinkable: cooking for a bunch of people on her day off. But for Jessica Alba, whom you’ll next see kicking butt in the action-exploitation flick Machete (Sept. 3), this is far from drudgery. It’s a precious opportunity to play hostess, a role close to her heart. Among those lucky enough to score an invitation to the 29-year-old actress’ private dinner party on August 21 was photographer Jeff Vespa, who captured, exclusively for LIFE, a side of the star she was eager to share: Here, check out Alba, radiant and relaxed, as she shows off her kitchen skills, kicks back with an art book in her living room (pictured), and enjoys the view from what she calls her “woman’s room.”

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