It may be a long way from the muddy pits of Louisiana to the fashion runways of Miami, but Jessica Simpson made the trek in time to debut her swimwear collection Saturday night during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, shifting gears from her next film role to an entirely new challenge.
"My role at this fashion show is designer," Simpson told MTV News. She said she's been involved from the very beginning, "coming up with different fabrics and everything that reflects my personality and putting that into a bathing suit." She hand-picked the runway models that will be premiering a retro look, a bohemian look, and "an All-American-slash-pinup-girl" bathing suit.
Simpson's own happy memories of learning to swim alongside her mom contributed to her desire to pursue this project. "There's always fun in a bathing suit," she said. "And you know that when people are buying a bathing suit, they're buying it because they want to go do something to enjoy themselves, and that's kind of where I'm at in my life." Simpson said her swimsuit line is "not afraid to celebrate a woman's body."
Simpson also said she hopes her bathing suits will encourage women to embrace positive self-images. "I do want to inspire people to fall in love with their body and be confident in who they are," she said. "I mean, I'll show you that I have fat rolls. I have cellulite here and there, but I just want people to know that I'm a real person."
It's difficult to imagine Simpson with fat rolls, especially after the vigorous boot camp she just went through in Shreveport, Louisiana for her upcoming film, "Major Movie Star." Simpson will be playing a high-maintenance actress who joins the Marines hoping to toughen up for a role in a military-themed movie. "It's pretty much 'Private Benjamin' meets 'Stripes,' " Simpson said. "Vivica Fox is my sergeant. She gets to scream in my face as I'm dropping down and giving her 50."
Simpson has a "newfound respect" for the armed services after learning how to march, salute, and practice "very strict" military regulations. "Our socks are even wool ... Wool and polyester, on my feet, with army boots and the whole thing. I'm afraid of heights, and I have to climb a 40-foot tower — and I have to be in the swamp!" she squealed. "I mean, there are alligators in Louisiana!"
Filming her other upcoming film, "Blonde Ambition," was a much different experience than "Major Movie Star" (see "Jessica Simpson Proud Of Learning Lines, Making Faces For 'Blonde Ambition' "). Simpson plays a small-town Southern belle tossed into the big-city corporate world, and stars alongside Luke Wilson, Andy Dick and Larry Miller. She said she relates to her character's naivete in this film, but said having her own collection of shoes, purses, clothing, and hair extensions has taught her to "understand the business side of my 'Southern.' "
Simpson's own blonde ambition has her "concentrated on all the other 10 things that are going on."
"Well, we do the runway show tonight," she said. "And I have to leave back to Louisiana tomorrow, memorize lines, and then I start filming on Monday."
While there are no plans for her to record more material any time soon, Simpson isn't going to abandon her singing career. "Music is a part of my soul," she said. "I would like to start fresh and start new with a record, because by the time that I would ever release another single, I will be in a different place in my life."
As for when fans will hear some new music, she's not quite sure. "When I feel like there's more words to sing and a different place that I want to go musically — which there is, by the way, it's just not the time yet — I'll go there."
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