When Jessica Simpson was lambasted by the tabloids last year for an apparent weight gain, her dad, Joe Simpson, wanted to go on the offensive.
Jessica, however, had other plans.
Simpson, with her two best friends, Ken Paves and CaCee Cobb, instead set off around the world, to meet everyday women and examine their views, traditions and practices of beauty. Their experiences in Japan, Thailand, France, Brazil, Uganda, Morocco and India will air as VH1’s series “The Price of Beauty,” launching March 15 at 10 p.m.
“It’s very hard to watch what’s said about [Jessica] and to not want to fight,” Joe Simpson, who also serves as an executive producer on the series, told members of the Television Critics Association. “When we had a big tabloid thing happen last year, her mother and I wanted to go immediately on ‘Oprah,’ but Jessica was very strong and said, ‘I’m not going to do that. I’m going to wait until I can say something positive.’
“And this show is that,” Joe added.
Jessica has also seen a change within herself as a result of her travels.
“Outward beauty is an easy thing to become obsessed with in our society,” she said. “I haven’t always had an inner confidence. I haven’t always looked at my reflection and loved it, because there was always something I wanted to fix, because someone always looked better. This journey was about finding something that was beautiful inside of me and knowing that I own it. And it’s unique and rare.”
While it all sounds very serious, and a lot of it is, it wouldn’t be a Jessica Simpson series without some laughter and lighthearted moments, including her being attacked by a moth, getting in a fight about short shorts and throwing up, more than once.
Paris was the most intimidating.
“I had to walk a runway with all of these tall, skinny models,” Jessica said. “I almost puked, I was so nervous to walk out there and be judged, especially standing next to people who eat just salad.”
She doesn’t bother reading tabloids anymore, mostly because “they make up my life for me.” But she is grateful to be in a position where she can be a role model for young girls and women.
At the very least, she’s now confident in one thing.
“Any man I find,” said Jessica, “they’re going to be darn lucky.”