Jessica Biel covers the new issue of Marie Claire to promote her new series, The Sinner. As I’ve mentioned a few times now, returning to television is a good move for her. I might be more interested in what we’ll see from her in The Sinner than I’ve ever been for any film she’s done. That said, this interview… or at least the preamble to it is … well… it’s pretty derivative. All kinds of gushing off the top about how beautiful Jessica is. And then, having established that she’s so beautiful, a note about how Jessica’s beauty has been an obstacle to her being taken seriously as an actor. Seriously. She’s complained about it before. I’m not sure anyone else has to do it for her?

Of course the part of the interview that’s generating the most headlines is what she has to say about her marriage to Justin Timberlake, and why it works:

"We have similar values; we believe in loyalty, honesty. We like to have fun. We like a lot of the same things. Also, in the business, we're all very career-oriented, and you have to be a little selfish. I understand that about my peers—about being focused and driven—and if you can find that and someone who shares the same values as you, it's like: Score!"

That first part? About loyalty and honesty and fun? That’s every marriage. What’s interesting about HER marriage is the second part. “You have to be a little selfish.” If she’s using selfishness in a conversation about her marriage, well, now I’m not looking at her to be selfish. I’m looking at the other half of that marriage. The ME ME ME ME ME ME of that marriage. And, maybe, she wasn’t talking about her own selfishness. Maybe she was telling us how she tolerates his selfishness. SHE’s the one “understanding” HIS ambition.

Yeah, I’ll buy that.

What happens to his selfishness if she starts tapping into her own though? This is how Jessica described her approach to playing Cora, her character in The Sinner? It’s only a few sentences but there’s a lot to analyse:

"I have challenges standing up for myself sometimes. Times when I don't trust my own voice. And that's the stuff I needed to bring out and explore to understand Cora. [exploring her dark side] "It's like a drug, like an adrenaline rush. There's a real catharsis…you're exhausted, you are free; you feel a lot of different things. For me, it's like a rebirth. Like I'm a phoenix rising up out of the ashes."

Now relate this to her other comments about her marriage, understanding the “selfishness” required to make it work, the fact that she says she has a hard time standing up for herself – is there any insight to be gleaned here about the Biel-Timberlake marriage? When Jessica Biel reveals that she has “challenges standing up for myself sometimes” does this picture come to mind?

Click here for more on Jessica Biel in Marie Claire and to see the other photos.

That phoenix metaphor though…

Jessica Biel is very good friends with Jennifer Garner. Last year, Jennifer covered Vanity Fair. At the end of that article, she was asked about Ben Affleck’s phoenix rising tattoo. Here’s what she said:

“You know what we would say in my hometown about that? ‘Bless his heart.’ A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario?” Garner says with a wink.

“I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes.”

Jessica Biel is calling herself a phoenix. So… who’s the ashes?