Jessica Simpson's latest release: Her engagement. What should come next?

Jessica-SimpsonImage Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesJessica Simpson has made a thoroughly postmodern career of living her personal life for public consumption. One assumes she didn’t set out to do so, but even from the very start of her teen pop career, she was better known for her public declarations of virginity than for her music. (When’s the last time you spun “I Think I’m in Love With You” on the old iPod?) Then she finally hit superstardom as a reality star on MTV’s surprise hit Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, and all bets were off. She was so watchable as her unvarnished self that even her god-given voice would never again be able to compete with the prospect of, say, hearing her debate the difference between chicken and fish.

Now, five years, a divorce from Nick Lachey, and countless tabloid covers later, her life still trumps her work. Case in point, her announcement this week that she’s engaged to her boyfriend of five months, ex-NFL player Eric Johnson. The woman, you must admit, has an uncanny knack for timing: Not only does the surprise betrothal come just as she’s releasing a Christmas album, but also a week after ex Lachey popped the question to his longtime love, Vanessa Minnillo. Gossip blog speculation has run predictably rampant, analyzing everything from whether she bought her own ruby engagement ring to whether she’s trying to beat Lachey to the altar to whether she’s headed for financial ruin for reportedly not wanting a prenup. I choose to believe in true love and thus hope for nothing but the best from Simpson’s impending union; but if cynics were right, and this were some kind of publicity move, it would be pretty brilliant. And it wouldn’t be the first brilliant PR move from her: She turned mean media scrutiny of her weight into several magazine cover stories about body image and even a VH1 documentary show, The Price of Beauty. She cemented the media-dating-industrial-complex of John Mayer. She convinced someone a line of edible beauty products was a good idea. She designs surprisingly great, affordable shoes.

The real question: Is there any chance for her entertainment career to reflect the same brilliance at this point? Could she ever be known for an actual body of work, given that her love life and personal struggles have overshadowed every attempt at acting (The Dukes of Hazzard, Blonde Ambition, Private Valentine) and recording she’s made? She’s beautiful, likable on camera, and full of vocal talent, so what could she do with all those qualities that would hold our attention as much as her choice in men and rings and high-waisted jeans does? I’d watch her in another reality show, no doubt — though that wouldn’t do much to pull her out of the mandatory-self-revelation vortex. I was glued to the TV when she was on Oprah a while back to promote The Price of Beauty: Could she be a contender for the young-talk-show-host seat now vacated by Tyra Banks? Maybe even on Oprah’s new network? Or she could go the Lauren Conrad route, writing best-sellers. Fictionalized versions of her life would be fun; advice-y books would be even better. Young marriage, dating bad boys, weight struggles are all fair game, and if there’s one thing she could truly write the book on, it’s how to make the most of fame.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Could Jessica Simpson still have a shot at being famous for anything other than her personal life? What kinds of entertainment projects would you like to see her take on?

Read more:
Jessica Simpson engaged to football player
Jessica Simpson: Let the woman do her job already…
Jessica Simpson’s weight gain: PW’s inaugural ‘ShePop’ post
Jessica Simpson on ‘The Price of Beauty’ and John Mayer: ‘He’ll never have THIS napalm again’

Comments (20 total) Add your comment
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  • Meg

    No.

    • Stormy

      I’d like for her to play dead for the next 20 years or so.

  • Stephanie T.

    How about an S and M movie. At least she’ll be gagged so she can FINALLY shut up!

  • molly

    Brilliant PR strategy or not, her engagement is and will continue to be overshadowed by Prince William and Kate.

  • mom7801

    Answer to question #1: No
    Answer to question #2: None

  • California

    The minute I saw that Prince William got engaged I laughed outloud and said “Suck it Jessica”. It was just too funny how her proposal came a week after Nick’s and sort of overshadowed it and then karma just turns around and feeds it right back at her.

  • Jen

    I love her and I’m not quite sure where all the animosity is coming from in previous comments.

    She does have a multi million dollar business. I love love love Newlyweds. The timing of her engagement was fishy but whatever, live your life. I hope she has success always.

  • reason

    Her divorce from Lachey basically killed both of their careers. I don’t think it be saved, they achieved superstardon because of their marriage. It is unfortunate, because I think they are likeable people, but I just don’t see it happening.

  • Dan

    Simple… her retirement from American media…

  • just saying

    well does it matter really. She is on target for billion dollar empire for 2012 & that pretty much sums it up don’t you think. She’s dammed if she does & dammed if she doesn’t but she’s money in the bank. Hate,riducule & bullied most for who people think she is but she takes it all to the bank. Tuna or fish take it. lol Jokes on everyone else. NO dumb blonde here. Brilliant. I wish nothing but love for Jessica & a man that will treat her right. Her heart is in the right place & wide open & maybe that is a fault.

    • mel

      Boy, those clothing manufacturers that bought her name as a brand sure got ripped off. If that crap really sells that much with a name that’s synonymous with fat, f arts, and failure, imagine how much more it would sell with a likeable, talented, girl’s name as the brand instead of Jessica Simpson who is neither likeable or talented. Is she even a girl? That picture looks an awful lot like Joe Simpson in drag.

      The clothing companies could sell just as much stuff and save a lot of money by dumping Simpson as the brand and calling their stuff “Tubby Dimbulb” for free.

  • olderandwiser

    Jessica is a sweet girl, but misguided. As for her merchandise — shoes, etc.– she doesn’t design anything. In fact, her mother handles these business decisions for her. Jessica is paid to put her name on these articles. I heard her say as much on The View, and I respected her for being candid.
    As for her engagement, I wish her the best but don’t think this marriage will last. For more than one reason, it is risky to date someone whose divorce is not final and to marry him so soon, and it has nothing to do with moral issues. Yes, I know — many of you can cite examples where it worked, but I don’t think this union will last. That wouldn’t bother me at all unless they have children that will be affected by a divorce, and I think she wants a baby ASAP. Poor kid.

  • anonymous

    I don’t think Jessica is stupid but she ACTED like it on her show so people would say how cute she is. I do think she is a spiteful, self-centered b*tch who wanted to steal Nick and Vanessa’s thunder. It’s always about her. Come on Jessica fans! Even her closest friends have turned against her saying how she uses them until she doesn’t need them anymore. She is NOT sweet.

  • anonymous 2

    I TOTALLY agree with Anonymous. Jessica is all those things, I use to be one of her biggest fans and adore her and look up to her, now I have lost any respect I had for her, I think she has become trash and I have always loved Nick, I love him more and more. She made the biggest mistake of her life leaving Nick, in every way possible. She’s a loser.

  • FabulousTerrah

    Love everything about her. People should stop hatin’ and get a life. ;-)

    • anonymous

      The trouble with Jessica lovers is they think she can do no wrong.

  • punky

    It is truly amazing at how we as people keep judging what has happen between a man and a woman. I don’t think because they are celebrities that we have a right to speak dirt about them, true or false, why we can’t wish them well and leave it at that. Jessica was very young when she married, don’t know if that had anything to do with the break up or not but I believe that people just don’t just break up for nothing. I admire Nick and Jessica, It sad that no one could help them to grow in their marriage, yet stay out of their marriage. It takes a pretty special person to speak tryth to us and love us just the same. You know Jessica confided in Vanessa about her marriage and Vanessa told her she should move on…WOW!! WITH ENEMIES centered around us…how can we have God ordained marriages.

  • Tonya

    It really baffles me how people who do NOT really know Jessica on a personal level can make such remarks! Tell it like it is…. This is NOT truth, it is judgement and speculation. Stop sitting behind the guise of anonymous and get real. Did you know that Rob Shuter(Popeater) use to rep Jessica and SHE fired him because he sold stories of not only her, but others. He was even let go of the agency because of misconduct. So he gets a job making up lies and uses (…a family friend tells him). Its all bull! I see it every time he puts something up… He is a liar and will make up anything that he wants… If you all want something to talk about, who makes all these so call “gossip gods” accountable for the words they print? How can someone who does NOT know say that “Jessica bought her own ring”! It is simply not truth. Come on people, live your life thinking for yourself, and don’ judge others. What ever happened to “treat others has you would have them treat you”….

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