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One blond diva in for long haul

Singer: In a year of changes for Jessica Simpson, one of the biggest has been the way she struts her stuff.

September 01, 2001|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

"What I find especially sneaky is the way she plays the virginity card," said former Sun pop music critic J.D. Considine, now senior editor at Blender, a new music magazine. "By making an issue of [her virginity], she manages to sexualize herself without tainting her image. She makes us think about her having sex simply by making an issue of her not having any."

With her new sexy image in place, Simpson said nothing has changed on the abstinence front - except that her father's commitment ring flew off her finger last year during an opening act per- formance.

"It's very, very sad," she said. "The ring flew off, and some guy in the audience has it now. But I'm still holding onto the promise."

Simpson has also been as open in discussing her two-year relationship with Lachey, which she ended recently. The couple had discussed getting engaged, but Simpson said she realized it was the wrong decision to marry at such a young age to a man she'd dated since she was 18.

"Don't get me wrong - I still love him and I'm not saying that I'm not going to spend the rest of my life with him," she said. "But for now, I really needed to be on my own and not have to depend on somebody.

"I just think it's very important that before you spend the rest of your life with someone, you've done everything you want to do, and you're the person you want to be for the rest of your life," she said. "You're able to give the other person a lot more that way. But it was the hardest thing I've ever done."

Along with the breakup came the sexy look that Simpson said she's proud of.

"It's just part of growing up," she said. "I'm 21 now, and I think I dress like a normal 21-year-old. ... My new album is a lot more mature. I was only 17 when I recorded Sweet Kisses and 20 when I recorded this. There's been a lot of growth, there's a lot more confidence. My last record was younger and all about the butterflies of being in love. This one deals with more issues - heartbreak, telling a guy if you give a little bit more in a relationship, how much farther it would go."

Ultimately, Simpson believes her longevity in the business lies in the fact that she's displayed the ability to produce hit ballads in the style of Carey and Celine Dion.

"I'm really a ballad singer and that will rise above everything else I'm doing," she said. "I'm trying to run a marathon, not a sprint. I have my fingers crossed, and I'm pacing myself."

Jessica Simpson

Where: Shine Sports Field, Aberdeen Proving Ground

When: 5 p.m. today

Tickets: General admission, $35 at the gate

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