Jessica Simpson may just be America's favorite dumb blonde right now — and she doesn't mind. Really.
Laugh at the singer all you want — even call your goof-ups "doing a Jessica" — and she promises she won't take offense. If anything, she hopes that eventually people will realize that you can be smart and silly at the same time — which is how she sees herself.
"I'm smart," she said. "I just say lots of ditzy things."
Simpson's been criticized for her intelligence (or lack thereof) based on comments she's made during her married-life-on-display reality show "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica," in which cameras catch her sometimes hilarious off-the-cuff remarks to her husband, Nick Lachey. Her most famous blunders are featured in now notorious "Newlyweds" episodes where she confuses the content of the Chicken of the Sea tuna fish brand for actual chicken, and suggests Buffalo wings are made of actual buffalo meat.
"Everyone has their moments when they stick their foot in their mouth," Simpson laughed. "I just say things right as they come to my head. I don't stop myself and think, 'Should I say this?' Nick is always like, 'Jessica, close your mouth! Why do you say everything that you think of?' "
Of those now golden moments, Simpson said that her confusion was reasonable, not idiotic.
"I knew that it was tuna fish," she said. "I was just really confused because I liked it, and I hate fish, and I thought for a split second there, that maybe it was chicken. Maybe I was confused, and maybe what was really in the can was chicken. And you know, of course, that made me a dumb blonde."
Needlessly adding to confusion, she said, is when identifiers and brand names are misleading. "The buffalo thing, that's the stupidest name in the world," she contended. "Why name it a Buffalo wing if it's not buffalo, you know?"
But confusing chicken for tuna could have its payoff — Chicken of the Sea told Simpson during her recent visit to their San Diego headquarters that sales of the brand have gone up 10 percent since she mentioned them on the show (see "Jessica Simpson Solves Age-Old Mystery: Chicken Of The Sea Is Tuna"). And the pop star and the tuna company are in talks to have her become their new spokesperson. "I would love to be the next mermaid on the can," she said. "I think that would be hysterical."
And ever since that and her other notable blunders, making a goof has entered the common parlance as "doing a Jessica." Simpson sees it as an honor, not an insult. After all, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Mandy Moore — her pop peers — don't have slang named after them yet.
"You know what's so funny? A fan will come up and start to work her camera and try to take a picture and she goes, 'Oh, I just did a Jessica!'" Simpson laughed. "I was at the radio station this morning, at Z-100 here in New York, and one of the DJs messed up and said, 'I just did a Jessica!' and didn't realize I was sitting right there. I think it's funny when people think of me when they mess up, when they say something silly or off-the-wall."
Taking it all in stride, Simpson hopes to fight back some of the dumb blonde stereotypes and show off some of her smarts on her upcoming Ivy League tour with Lachey (see "Jessica Simpson Is Going To Harvard — No, Really"). But even if she goofs, she said, it'll make for great television.
"Legally Blonde, you know," she joked. "It was my dad's idea. He was just like, 'You should just go head to head with the smartest people; it would make for a great show.' And it will. And I'll probably stick my foot in my mouth. A lot. But it would be fun to know that I can be on the same level, at the same time. It depends on how MTV edits it, but I think people will see that I am smart, as well."
Even if they don't, well, that's OK. If she goes down in the annals of pop culture history as a dumb blonde, her only hope is that it's as a loveable one.
"I just had to let my guard down and let people take shots at me," she said, "because it was just going to happen. But then you know, for some reason, the ditzy blonde thing is endearing to people, like you love to watch Cameron Diaz in 'Charlie's Angels,' or Goldie Hawn in 'Private Benjamin,' or Lucille Ball in 'I Love Lucy,' because they're a total mess, and they're goofy, and you love them at the same time. Hopefully I've become one of those characters."
Jennifer Vineyard, with additional reporting by SuChin Pak