"I was meant to feel ashamed if I tempted men," the 38-year-old recalled of her start. "Then I stopped eating a lot when I became an actress. I made myself look more like a boy so I wouldn't get as much attention."
She said her family urged her not to wear Pepe jeans in particular, as they drew attention to her "voluptuous" body and her "booty". Nevertheless, the "Sin City" star admitted she still felt "preyed upon" by men.
"Nothing about being successful in this business is easy," she said. "You can't be bitter."
Raised by strict Catholic parents, Alba previously revealed she turned away from the church in her teenage years because she felt she was being judged on her appearance.
"Older men would hit on me, and my youth pastor said it was because I was wearing provocative clothing, when I wasn't," she said. "It just made me feel like if I was in any way desirable to the opposite sex that it was my fault, and it made me ashamed of my body and being a woman."
While filming Dark Angel in 2000 aged 18, she began a three relationship with co-star Michael Weatherly, 12 years her senior. Weatherly was involved in a sexual harassment controversy earlier this year when CBS settled a $9.5million lawsuit with actress actress Eliza Dushku who claimed she was fired from a recurring role on "Bull" after complaining about his inappropriate behavior on the set.
Alba has been married to husband Cash Warren for 11 years; they share daughters Honor, ten, and Haven, 7, and one-year-old son Hayes.