Photo Credit: AP
Yesterday on The Oprah Show, during an unusually candid interview (about her love life, career and, yes, her looks), Jessica Simpson said, "The fact that I was famous last year for gaining 10 pounds -- it's ridiculous and it's really sad."
While she did manage to take a swipe at ex-boyfriend John Mayer -- saying she has not accepted his apology for his T.M.I. comments in Playboy about their sex life, and considers that part of her life "over" -- Simpson was actually on the show to promote her upcoming VH1 series, The Price of Beauty, a project she said was inspired by tabloids' cruel remarks about her body.
Simpson, 29, opened up to Oprah about why she hasn't addressed questions about her weight in the past: "I felt guilty. I thought, if people look at me and maybe they're a size bigger, they look at themselves and they think they're fat because of what the media's saying...I didn't want to feed into it."
Although Simpson has a lingering reputation as a "dumb blonde" (remember her airheaded "Chicken of the Sea" comment on Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica?), what she's done in reaction to recent scrutiny about her appearance is pretty smart: For the new show, she traveled the world, exploring other cultures' ideas of beauty and questioning her own. In Paris, she found herself relating to a model who nearly died of anorexia. In Uganda, she met a woman who'd spent two months being "fattened up" to please her husband.(Watch the video clip here.) And while partying with belly dancers in Morocco, she had an "aha! moment" (to borrow Oprah's phrase), when the idea that beauty is on the inside finally hit home.
VH1's The Price of Beauty, premiering March 15 (10 p.m. ET), promises to challenge our ideas of what it means to beautiful. But judging from Wednesday's interview, it will also challenge our ideas about Jessica Simpson: No longer the girl who can't distinguish tuna from chicken, she's now a woman who's brave enough to live by her own rules, no matter what the tabloids say.
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