Malaria, Shakespeare and Jessica Alba

When the glass that is half-full (journalist) meets the glass that is overflowing (Alba).

At first glance, it would seem difficult to imagine a connection between the three elements in our headline. But writer David DeNicolo managed to cram them into the first two paragraphs of his profile of the actress-turned-mega-entrepreneur for the September issue of Allure:

Enthusiasm is infectious, unstoppable, a primal force of nature. Kind of like malaria. Those of us born with a natural immunity to it are called pessimists – or journalists. (The terms are pretty much interchangeable.) We are adept at spotting the canker in the rose, to paraphrase Shakespeare, and truth be told, we strain to see it even when it’s not there.

That is why I feel sorry for any journalist who has to profile Jessica Alba, an actress of uncommon beauty who has become an extraordinarily successful and savvy businesswoman. Her enthusiasm is genuine, her success is earned, and her disarming smile and sweet demeanor make you ashamed of all the mean questions you wanted to ask.

Well done. The word “malaria” cuts through here and drops on to the reader’s psyche like an anvil from Wily Coyote. It perfectly sets up the observations that follow in these first two paragraphs, as well as provides a vivid contrast to the rosiness of the subject at hand. (Sensitivity points to the article author for not using zika.)

Read the rest of DeNicolo’s piece here. Among the other contrasts captured by the writer are his countenance, to hers, when he met up with Alba at New York’s Edition hotel.

Photo by: Will Davidson