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Jessica Simpson's weight paranoia

Jessica Simpson has admitted she was paranoid about people talking about her when she was out in public after being criticised for her weight.

The 29-year-old, who hit the headlines last year when she appeared to have gained a few pounds, is starring in a new show - Jessica Simpson's The Price Of Beauty - which examines people's efforts to measure up their society's standard of beauty.

Jessica said: "You can't walk anywhere without thinking, 'I wonder if they think I'm fat .... I wonder if they've read that story, I couldn't help it - and I think that once I realised it wasn't going to stop, I had to find a way to accept it, and I had to find a way to use it."

Jessica travels the globe with two friends, hair stylist Ken Paves and former assistant Cacee Cobb, in the new show with the goal of empowering women to accept themselves.

Jessica and her friends meet a woman in Thailand who burned herself permanently from bleaching her skin lighter, and they talk with a former Paris model who starved herself to under 100 pounds to be thin.

"I'm very vulnerable on the show. I'm very open. I don't have anything to hide," Jessica said. "I want people to know I am just a normal girl that faces normal issues just like everyone else."

There are also lighter moments, when Jessica and her pals try to immerse themselves in local culture.

"In Mumbai, we drank cow urine because it detoxes you and it's good for your skin," Jessica said. "I puked that up like all over the place."

The weekly show has already aired its first episode on VH1 in the US.

© Press Association