Jessica's Sis Gets Real
Brace yourselves: Another Simpson is about to get the MTV-reality treatment. As previously reported, Jessica's 19-year-old actress sis, Ashlee — who plays Cecilia on WB's 7th Heaven — has landed a six-episode series that will chronicle the writing and recording of her as-yet-untitled debut rock album.
Premiering in June, Ashlee was pitched to MTV by manager dad Joe Simpson, who saw it as an opportunity for the actress-singer to break out of her famous older sister's shadow. "I knew people were going to say she got her record deal just because she's Jessica's sister," he says. "I wanted people to see Ashlee's the real deal."
While the cable network bit, Ashlee herself proved a tougher sell. "I was sort of anti-reality because my sister has her show," the younger Simpson admits. "But it's cool because it's the first time people will really get to see the real me."
So, who is the real Ashlee Simpson? Well, musically speaking, she's not Jessica. While the Newlyweds star can't resist a good frothy ballad, Ashlee — who co-wrote each track on her forthcoming CD (due in July) — counts Courtney Love and Alanis Morissette as influences.
"I get p---ed off," says Ashlee, whose voice is a surprisingly soulful rasp that complements her music's harder-edged sound. "And writing a song helps me get over it." To wit, one of the disc's tracks, "Autobiography," is "basically a response to people assuming I'm a Jessica clone. It's like, 'If you wanna know me, just ask me!'"
Or just watch Ashlee, which, like Newlyweds, will focus on both the star's professional and personal lives. "You'll see my heart completely break," says Ashlee, who split with her boyfriend of two years during the course of filming. "It could be scary to go public, but I don't have anything to hide. I want people to connect to my music. And I think they will if they can connect to me."
For the latest dish on the Simpson sisters, pick up the new issue of TV Guide magazine, on sale now.