The gender reveal is like the “surprise album drop” for the Minivan Majority – they can’t get enough of it. It’s so prevalent that even celebrities can only come up with so many ways to reveal pink or blue: balloons, cutting into a cake, hitting a baseball, shooting confetti out of a cannon. Like regular people, famous people must share the birth gender of their baby with the world or the earth will spin off its axis or something.
With that, Jessica Simpson announced on Instagram that she is pregnant (reveal number one) with a girl (reveal number two).
Kate Hudson also did the combined announcement/reveal (I guess this is the equivalent of dropping a visual album?) but you have to be a high-tier celebrity to do this, otherwise you can’t milk both the pregnancy announcement and the gender announcement. Some reality stars need to get the most they can out of both.
So Jessica Simpson is pregnant. Not exactly shocking, but maybe it was to her? In August, Jessica got on stage with Willie Nelson and said it was the first time her husband or her children had seen her perform live. Eric and Jessica started dating in 2010 and Max is 6, so it’s been a minute. She also teased new music way back in February. Whatever happened with that?
Of course she could still be working on a single or an album, or just recording for her own enjoyment (she has enough money to do that). But for Jessica, releasing new music would be a vanity project at this point. No one is asking for new Jessica Simpson bops. Remember A Public Affair? To give you an idea of how badly it has aged, the video features Andy Dick. Jessica Simpson may have great business instincts but when it comes to music and videos, she was never on par with her peers.
But in that realm, was Jessica set up for success? At the start of her career, she was marketed as an unnecessary, superfluous pop star alternative to Britney and Christina. Then it was the whole virgin/new bride thing. Then Papa Joe became famous, and by the time Ashlee came onto the scene with her Hot Topic brand of emo, Jessica was pretty much past her music career.
With fashion to focus on, “Jessica Simpson’s empire is worth one billion dollars” headlines were happening before lip kits were even at thing. Even though the “billion dollar” marker is misleading, she does have 30+ product lines and incredibly lucrative licensing deals. She just doesn’t lean into the Girl Boss thing, which sets her apart from her lifestyle contemporaries. I don’t know if the privacy around her day-to-day work is a purposeful decision, but in the long game of sustaining a lifestyle company, it has worked in her favour.
Back in 2012, Forbes noted that Jessica boosted her income around pregnancy (specifically her first, which led to a fraught, but very lucrative, deal with Weight Watchers and a maternity line). When Maxwell was born, the photos sold to PEOPLE for $850k. When Ace was born, she sold the photos to US Weekly. The baby photo market has changed drastically because of social media; it simply makes no sense for magazines to offer that kind of money for photos unless it’s a true A-list exclusive (as in George and Amal’s twins). Appetites have changed.
The interesting thing about Jessica is that no matter how much things around her evolve, like media consumption and retail trends, she doesn’t have to change. She’s still all about the leopard print and blonde princess waves and oversized sunglasses. She doesn’t get more or less popular, or more or less relevant, or more or less interesting with this news. Look at the photo below – like many of her looks, it could be from 10 years ago or 5 years ago or yesterday. If Jessica ever wants to surprise her fan base, she’d have to do something drastic, like dressing androgynously or getting a pixie cut. A pregnancy announcement is good news, but like all things Jessica Simpson, it’s not meant to reinvent the wheel. It just keeps things rolling.