UPDATE: After this story was published, Natalie Portman took to the comments section of Jessica Simpson’s Instagram post, writing, “Thank you for your words. I completely agree with you that a woman should be allowed to dress however she likes and not be judged. I only meant to say I was confused – as a girl coming of age in the public eye around the same time – by the media’s mixed messages about how girls and women were supposed to behave. I didn’t mean to shame you and I’m sorry for any hurt my words may have caused. I have nothing but respect for your talent and your voice that you use to encourage and empower women all over the globe.”
Jessica Simpson posted a pointed response Wednesday (Dec. 5) to a comment made by Vox Lux star Natalie Portman about the impact a bikini pic of the singer had on her as a teenager.
The post came after Portman described to USA Today feeling torn by the “virgin/vixen paradigms” played up by the music industry around the turn of the millennium. “I remember being a teenager, and there was Jessica Simpson on the cover of a magazine saying ‘I’m a virgin’ while wearing a bikini, and I was confused,” she said. “Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl.”
In Simpson’s Instagram response, she wrote in part: “I was disappointed this morning when I read that I ‘confused’ you by wearing a bikini in a published photo taken of me when I was still a virgin in 1999,” Simpson wrote.
Portman’s quote, from a profile in support of her over-the-top Vox performance as a pop diva in the film that tackles the price of fame and scourge of gun violence in America, appeared to upset Simpson. In her Instagram post, the “With You” star added, “As public figures, we both know our image is not totally in our control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us and box us in. However, I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then — and I believe now — that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex.”
Simpson said she’s always embraced being a role model for all women and encouraging them to look any way they want and wear anything they want and to have sex, or not, with whomever they want. “The power lies within us as individuals,” she wrote. “I have made it my practice to not shame other women for their choices. In this era of Time’s Up and all the great work you have done for women, I encourage you to do the same.” A spokesperson for Portman — who earlier this year shared a #MeToo story about an incident of “sexual terrorism” as a 13-year-old — could not be reached for comment at press time.