Jessica Simpson: Role Model?

PAULA JOYE
Last updated 16:51 30/03/2012
Jessica Simpson
ELLE COVERGIRL: Jessica Simpson. Click here for full-size image

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How many more photos can they take of Jessica Simpson heaving her big, lovely pregnant belly down the street dressed in a lollipop-coloured kaftan and ten-inch heels?

Seriously. Simpson's pregnancy has been papped from start to finish but this last trimester has been particularly brutal with photographers intent on making her look like Elvis - the fried peanut butter sandwich years.

I'm so glad she posed naked on the cover of US Elle (glorious) because those shots will go along way to undoing the damage done by her baby shower pictures. Jessica was wearing (and I'm not even kidding) a satin, snakeskin print mu mu and sitting on a couch next to a giant pink bunny.

The bunny looked like a Lilliputian next to Simpson whose outfit made her look like she should be serving chocolates at Darrel Lea.

If Simpson wasn't so surprisingly cool I would have cringed but she's one celebrity that seems to be missing the vanity gene.

She's embraced all her public moments - from calling tuna chicken to messy divorce - with a sense of humour and refreshing honesty.

She's handling her first pregnancy in exactly the same way. Even in the fullest of bloom, she's curling her hair, laughing at her swollen ankles and telling talk show hosts that she's having the greatest sex of her life.

The world needs more pregnant women like Jessica. Especially in the spotlight - because Jessica is what most pregnancies look like. Round. Awkward. Waddley. Clumsy. Beautiful.

When I was pregnant I seemed to be surrounded by the opposite. Everywhere I looked there were Earth Mothers with tanned skin in bikinis or Victoria Beckham. That was my range of comparison.

Gorgeously pregnant women who from looked like they might be giving birth to a Cabbage Patch Kid. Or an apple. I did not look like this. I looked like Jessica. Minus the bunny. In fact I was a human circle. It's not because I overate. To the contrary, I was super, super healthy and exercised but that didn't stop me loosing the ability to see my feet. It was just what my body looked like knocked up.

I worked through both my pregnancies at a fashion magazine. Working. Fashion.

Magazine. I could end this column right here -  it was haaaarrrd. I lost my style mojo along with every piece of food I ate.

So it didn't shock me last week when outrage erupted over the use of thin models with prosthetic bellies being used to sell maternity clothes.

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Headlines shouted deception and the company in question argued their cause by claiming that there were "no actual pregnant women available at the time of the shoot".

This may be true. It also may be true that all clothes (not just maternity) photograph better on smaller frames but the forums were over run with women bemoaning the lack of realistic pregnant figures in the media spotlight.

I went through pregnancy wearing non maternity clothes - except for a single pair of jeans - opting instead for lots of stretch jersey in jumbo sizes because I couldn't relate to the pregnant bodies in the maternity catalogues.

The clothes looked like they fitted thin pregnant people and that was not me. I can't help think that if there had been more woman that looked like Jessica modelling the outfits I may have been more inclined to buy.

Simpson is a seriously clever women with a one billion dollar fashion business to her list of credits. I'm tipping she'll turn her hand to maternity wear next and that pregnant bodies everywhere will rejoice.

She's definitely found a fan in me, I only hope she doesn't ruin it by posing in a bikini on the cover of a magazine six weeks after the birth.

That's another pet hate of mine but it's also another column.

Paula Joye is Editor of www.lifestyled.com.au.

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