Take a close look at the photo above. Do you recognise her at all? I certainly did not. But if you’re like me and you spend a lot of time surfing gossip, fashion and celebrity sites then you know exactly who it is in that photo, because it’s making world news.
And I can see why. It’s a shocking departure from the Jessica Simpson we know. Or at least the one we used to know in her “Newlyweds” days. But Jessica has been out of the limelight lately. The 29 year old has been busy reflecting on the concept of natural beauty, travelling the world and speaking to all kinds of women about the efforts and cost they go to, to look and feel beautiful – and filming it all for reality TV.
The reality show for VH1 is called “The Price of Beauty” and I’m thinking that this was the ideal solution to Jessica’s problem. She needed a job, and one that she could do without having to act / sing / or be something she wasn’t…. including a size 0.
And so this show seems to be the perfect fit for her. These days we never quite know how we’ll find Jess looking. One day she’s fat, then thin, then fat again. (I use the term fat very loosely). It’s a tabloid’s meal ticket when they can count on a celebrity gaining and losing weight that often, because incase you haven’t noticed, women’s magazine covers love a good weight loss story as much as men’s mags love a good pair of norks.
And so Jessica has done what few have dared to do, and appeared on the cover of Marie Claire’s May issue with air-dried hair and wearing no makeup – and with no airbrushing or photo-shopping.
She told the magazine, “I don’t have anything to prove anymore. What other people think of me is not my business.” She goes on to say, “After everything I’ve gone through this past year with people just being fixed on me gaining some weight, that was really hard on me to be in the media all the time and to be … scrutinized like that,” says Simpson, who admits, “I was paranoid. Everywhere I would go, people would say, ‘Oh, you’re not that fat!’ That was a very difficult time for me.”
And so it appears that the process of speaking to other women has led to some mental corrective surgery of her own. Says the blonde, “I really found confidence within myself, I do think we put too much pressure on women to be beautiful, and to be perfect. The show was my own search to find my own beauty within.”
She’s not the first to go organic. Jennifer Hawkins did it for Marie Claire in February of this year, and France did the same with their April edition, although I failed to see the “Wow – they look so normal” factor on either cover. Both women are ridiculously blessed with proportion, symmetry and skin tone, and so the whole ‘un-modified image’ principle was lost on me. Nevertheless, it seems to be the latest craze – and a trend that I hope lasts longer than fuchsia lipstick did. (I loved my Lancome Rouge Framboise lipstick)
But Jessica Simpson’s cover is different. I don’t see a professional model who looks as though she just stepped out of a tanning bed and fell semi-naked onto a studio floor, then happened to smile for the camera… looking back at me. While Simpson does maintain her youth and beauty, I think – she looks regular.
I’ve always thought Jessica was super-brainy. The genetic combination of a high IQ with yellow toned hair follicles – often generates false representation in women, false eyelashes even. But beware… those who possess this powerful combo are usually one step ahead. And this stunt proves it.
She’s brave and she’s brilliant, because she realises that this magazine cover will promote her show FAR more than a styled airbrushed photo could have. And how bad could you look when you have a face half covered by hair and you’re beauty regime includes weekly facials, visits with your mate (hairdresser to the stars) Ken Paves, and routine botox injections? (Although she does seem to have laid off the lip collagen which is refreshing).
Actually – if you listen closely you’ll hear me cheering from the sidelines for Jessica. Not only with this magazine cover, but also for her show – which will hopefully bring new confidence to women and their body image, the same way Carson’s “How to Look Good Naked” did.
But in between cheers, I find myself tut tutting, wondering with cynicism if this show (like the cover) is just calling itself reality – when in actual fact it is calculated and every part – every person has been positioned to accommodate Jessica’s return to the limelight – by perpetuating an issue that seems to be the problème du jour.