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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jessica Simpson searches world for beauty

By Alicia Rancilio
Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The celeb says she's not who everyone thinks she is. For one thing, she confesses, photographs of her invariably have been airbrushed.

MATT SAYLES | Associated Press

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In "Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty," the singer and sometimes actress travels the globe with two friends, hair stylist Ken Paves and former assistant Cacee Cobb, to examine people's efforts to measure up to their society's standard of beauty.

The show premiered Monday and episodes air throughout the week on VH1.

The goal is to empower women to accept themselves and ultimately understand that no one, not even celebrities, are perfect.

Simpson endured widespread chatter herself after gaining some weight. Paves points out that despite the scrutiny, Simpson continued performing and doing her job.

"Imagine if the whole world is talking about you," Paves said. "She still followed through, never stopped, and nobody ever said, 'That's a strong girl, that's a brave girl.' I was disappointed."

It wasn't always easy, Simpson said. "You can't walk anywhere without thinking, 'I wonder if they think I'm fat .... I wonder if they've read that story," Simpson said. "I couldn't help it. And I think that once I realized it wasn't going to stop, I had to find a way to accept it, and I had to find a way to use it."

On "Price of Beauty," the 29-year-old Simpson and her friends meet a woman in Thailand who burned herself permanently from bleaching her skin lighter. They talk with a former Paris model who starved herself to under 100 pounds to be thin.

Viewers witness a deeper side to Simpson than they saw on her former MTV reality show "Newlyweds" with then-husband Nick Lachey.

"I'm very vulnerable on the show. I'm very open. I don't have anything to hide," Simpson said. "I want people to know I am just a normal girl that faces normal issues just like everyone else."

But the show is not all life lessons and sadness. There are lighter moments, too, when Simpson and her pals try to immerse themselves in local culture.

"In Mumbai, we drank cow urine because it detoxes you and it's good for your skin," Simpson said. "I puked that up, like, all over the place."

Paves got a Brazilian wax when the three visited Brazil.

"I was screaming, cussing, kicking," he said. "I was in tears, red and raw, I couldn't walk."

Simpson said she's taking a break from music now to focus on the show, which she hopes will get picked up for another season. Next, she plans to start a foundation for girls to help with self-esteem.

She wants to empower young women to accept themselves and ultimately understand that no one, not even celebrities, are perfect.

"I don't look like the girl on the cover of the magazine," Simpson said. "My covers! They airbrush me."