You probably saw it coming it months ago, back when Ellen DeGeneres was feeding Jessica Simpson onion rings on live TV. You knew it then, and so did I: Jessica Simpson was going to become the next Weight Watchers girl the second she popped out that kid.
And on May 1, she gave birth to Maxwell Drew Johnson, a daughter (Maxi Johnson? Anyone see something potentially wrong with this?) A mere 30 days later, CNN reported the burgeoning partnership between Simpson and Weight Watchers — a company that has seen many a celebrity endorsement in its history. After Simpson announced the news on Facebook, ABC reported that Weight Watchers was offering the songstress $3 million for the gig. Free food, trainers and money? Who wouldn’t lose weight with an incentive like that?
The best Jessica Simpson song. Period.
Weight Watchers’ most recent spokeswoman, Jennifer Hudson, had a bigger frame from the start of her career. Since joining the program, she’s dropped 80 pounds, several dress sizes, but thank goodness — none of that incredible voice. Other celebs, like Kirstie Alley and Carnie Wilson, have been dropped from the Weight Watchers cash cow because of their yo-yo dieting. Fair enough.
But now after the contracts have been signed and I rewatch Simpson pop that finger food on Ellen’s YouTube channel, her higher-than-average baby weight gain makes me wonder: Is it possible that she piled up the pounds on purpose, just so that she could sign a weight loss endorsement deal? Whitney Thompson, “America’s Next Top Model Cycle 10″ winner, comes to mind. Reportedly a size four before the CW endeavor, she was scouted in an airport and was told that she could have a shot of winning — if only she gained a bunch of weight first. Thompson was the first “plus-size” model to win “ANTM.”
While Simpson already had her shot of fame, and yes, somehow, keeps herself in the tabloid spotlight, the comparisons are there. Increase your dress size, increase your exposure, increase your income. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before.
The day Simpson and Weight Watchers joined forces, BuzzFeed posted a nasty article entitled “Jessica Simpson’s Body: A Timeline,” which, let’s get real here, could have been created for any of Simpson’s pop princess rivals from the glory days — Britney, Christina or Mandy. Sure, it’s fun to scroll through and laugh at the early 2000s hairstyles and fashion trends, but come on — let’s lighten up (no pun intended) on the Jessica Simpson jokes, ok?
Allison Berger is a Philadelphia-based writer and a pop music columnist for Reverb. Check out more of her writing here.