Jessica Simpson: Doing “Price of Beauty” Was Like “Missionary Work”

 Dr. Billy Ingram/

To Jessica Simpson, The Price of Beauty was more than just a reality show — it's her life's calling!

"I'm not saying I'm changing the world," a teary-eyed Simpson said while accepting an award at the Gracies (which honor women in radio and TV) in Beverly Hills Tuesday.

"But…to be able to sit with my Dad and [create] Price of Beauty," she said of her VH1 show, in which she traveled the world to explore definitions of beauty in various cultures.  "It's similar to missionary work. It was what I was called to do and called to be." On the series, Simpson visited a "fattening hut" in Uganda, munched fried cockroaches in Thailand, and walked a couture runway in Paris.

Despite the show's lackluster ratings and tepid reviews, the 29-year-old star said "it's changing my life, and that's what it's all about. We're all women, we are strong and there is always a life to change, and you are powerful enough to do it!"

The Gracies honored Simpson for her strength and entrepreneurial endeavors in the face of adversity and public scrutiny.

Earlier in her speech, Simpson quipped, "I'm not used to people talking so nice about me," and explained that she felt "called to the ministry" at church camp (dad Joe Simpson is a preacher) when she was 13.

"I remember calling my parents on a pay phone and said 'Dad? Mom? Guess what? I've been called into the ministry!'" she recounted to the crowd. "And they were like… 'Whoawhoawhoa, did you sign anything? Are you sure you wanna take this on?' And I was like 'Sure, really! I know right now at this very moment I can change the world. Somehow.'"

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