A pop-culture resume doesn't get much longer than Jessica Simpson's. More than 10 years since she burst on to the pop music scene... she's now known as a singer, songwriter, actress, designer, reality-star, paparazzi target, trend-setter and, maybe less well-known, philanthropist.
Simpson has been working with Operation Smile since 2003. The organization provides free surgeries to kids all over the world to repair cleft lip and cleft palate. Her passion for the cause brought Simpson to Denver Sunday night. She was the keynote speaker for Operation Smile's International Student Leadership Conference. It's happening all week at Denver University.
11 News Anchor Stacia Naquin talked with Simpson about her charity work, her faith, style... and the truth about her involvement with American Idol:
Stacia: You are so busy with music, acting, fashion… why is something like Operation Smile so important for you to make time for?
Jessica: Operation Smile is so important to me because it is my heart, it is my soul. I mean there is a lot of things I can do creatively that will drive me and inspire me. But for some reason Operation Smile I can relate to and its kids and its giving somebody a smile that can last forever. To be able to make people smile you go to a comedy club to laugh your butt off or whatever. You go to be entertained by so many things but with Operation Smile you can actually give somebody that smile surgically. It's really an incredible thing.
Stacia: We talked with the founders of Operation Smile, the McGees’ about how this organization was formed. You’re here talking to a group of kids. They don’t have money, they’re not doctors. Why is it important to make time for them, as the future of the organization?
Jessica: To Support Operation smile you don't need to have money. You don't need have anything, you can just be you. If you want to give a little bit… even if your friends go in, it's like, ok, we’re all going to give ten dollars… and it’s twenty of you… then there's a smile for somebody. That's huge! That's an incredible thing. You’re not having to give too much but you are giving everything to somebody else. I think being vulnerable and really allowing that sacrifice to happen within your life… you can change somebody else's life. It is important.
Stacia: You’ve been really open about your faith. How does that affect your idea of beauty?
Jessica: God is love and God is my beauty and I am so compassionate about my relationship with God and it makes me who I am right now. It makes me stand up tall and proud and the world cannot take me down, because I know I can take pride in my love for God and I believe everybody else around me can have that as well.
Stacia: In your travels around the world – for The Price of Beauty and your career – what’s the one thing that you’ve seen to be universally beautiful?
Jessica: The universal thing that defines beauty is inner confidence. And I know a lot of people say that, but it is really hard to find. It is really hard to do your own personal homework and really understand who you are as a women, as a girl, like, who you are. What makes you authentic? What makes you unique? Like, who are you? Answering all those questions and really knowing yourself. That is probably the hardest part about feeling beautiful, but it is the most incredible part, when you actually do discover it.
Stacia: You’re from Texas. I’m from Oklahoma. There really is a style to our part of the country. How do you think that differs from L.A.?
Jessica: I think Texas and L.A., in style, are pretty similar.
Jessica: Yeah, I have to say coming from Dallas… women are… it’s really about their outward appearance and wanting to look done and beautiful…
Stacia: … big hair…
Jessica: …and big hair and it’s the same in L.A. Unless they are trying to look grungy. And, like, when you try to look grungy that's kind of weird. ((laughs)) Just be grungy!
And of course, we asked Jessica about American Idol. A lot of folks have said she’s on the short list to be a judge. She told us there was a meeting where it was discussed. But for now, that’s all there is to report.
So for more with Jessica, you’ll have to check out our KKTV Fit Club Blog, where we talked with her about health/fitness and how it fits in with the idea of beauty. Check that out in the link below.
You can also find out more about the work Operation Smile is doing in 50 countries around the world to help kids get their smiles back. Check out the organization’s official website below. And watch our exclusive interview with the founders of Operation Smile, Dr. William Magee Jr. and his wife Kathleen. They talked with us about the reason they started the organization in the first place and how important it is to give the gift of a smile. Look for that interview at the top of this page.