Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty: Bollywood Boulevard

It's our third stop in Jessica Simpson's Quest for the Perfect Spa - otherwise known as Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty.

Touchdown, Mumbai India. Well, this is where last year's Best Picture of the Year was filmed so certainly there should be some beautiful people to gaze at, right? Freida Pinto? What's her secret? Genetics you say? Bah! Jessica is here to uncover Freida's secrets and at the end of this episode we'll all look just like her.

You too, can look like this.

The gang's first reaction is that there sure are a lot of people in India. Ya think? Just like there were a lot of models in Paris, right? Our Beauty Ambassador for this stop is a former Miss India and a Bollywood star, so you can be sure she'll have an unconventional look. Meet Neha Dhupia.

"All the places like the Iraq and such as..."

Do you think she had to answer a question about gay marriage to win Miss India? She shows them around a Bollywood film set and they stop to watch a troupe of girls performing a dance. Jess and company are amazed.

The kids toilet papered the studio again.

I guess with all these years in show business they've never seen a bunch of people dancing in unison. Britney Spears wouldn't have this problem, she'd just join in without missing a beat. We learn that fashion trends in India reflect images seen in successful Bollywood productions. So it's like the American film industry. We see beautiful images on the silver screen and try to imitate them. The choreographer asks if they would like to learn a Bollywood dance and Jess says all she can move are her shoulders, but they'll give it a whirl. I learned all about Bollywood dancing from So You Think You Can Dance and let me tell you, it looks HARD. Our friends only attempt some side to side steps incorporated with some arm waving and they aren't too successful.

Next we're going to attend one yoga session to see what kind of results we can glean in a half hour. We quickly learn that this is not your everyday yoga class - it's laughter yoga!

Ken thought we were practicing dentistry today.

I saw this in the Albert Brooks movie Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World (rent it!). He went to find out what was making them laugh at laughter yoga and it turns out that nothing is. You laugh for the sake of laughing, which is supposed to increase your sense of well-being. Of course for the purposes of this show we have to bring it around to beauty, so the yogi has everyone pretend to hold up a mirror in front of their face and say they're the most beautiful person in the world. Then laugh really hard.

"My mirror is broken!"

For the next five minutes we watch all these people standing in a circle laughing. I can see them getting more beautiful by the second. Calling this yoga is a stretch. And not a downward dog stretch.

At the break we're directed to go online and purchase the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. Hey, I thought we were promoting Bollywood here. And where's Freida Pinto?

It's time for our weekly spa visit. More massages? Well, we're going to learn about Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity. Sooooooo massages? Shockingly, no. What we DO get is a hot oil hair treatment performed Indian style, where they put these tall cylinders on the crew's heads and just dump oil all down them. See, I'm of the oily variety and have never had the need to add EXTRA oil to my hair. In fact, If I go one day without washing my hair I can grease all the door hinges in my apartment, so I don't relate to this part at all. But it doesn't seem like the most practical way to accomplish moisturizing.

I guess it's too Western to lean back into a sink.

The next astonishing beauty treatment is a sinus rinse utilizing a neti pot. Okay seriously? I do this daily. We really had to travel to smelly India to learn about this? And Jess and pals are all dumbfounded and shocked to try this.

Jessica accidentally mistakes the teapot for the neti pot.

You can buy the supplies to do this at every grocery store in America. The only difference would be that your neti pot or squeeze bottle is plastic instead of metal. Jessica asks if this does anything for appearance and the spa guys tell her that of course, it makes your skin glow. Whatevs.

And the final spa "treatment" is to drink a glass of herbal water to eliminate the body's natural gasses. They drink it and proceed to practically belch the alphabet. It's quite charming. I guess they're cleansed and beautiful now.

We take time out from Jessica's World Spa Tour to do a good deed. It seems that Jessica does a lot of work with Operation Smile, which is a worldwide organization that performs free operations on children who are born with cleft palates. And India has one of the highest rates of children born with cleft palates in the world.

"I have come to save you."

We meet little Meena who has been cast as the recipient of Jessica's infinite compassion for the episode.

One more appearance and she earns her SAG card.

Jessica sits down to ask Meena if she's excited about all the wonderful things that are about to happen to her. This little girl has actually had to live through "The Price of Beauty." She used to cover her face at school because she was so ashamed of her cleft palate.

The next day, the group suits up in scrubs and hangs out in the operating theater for a photo op with little Meena as she goes under the knife. Then they take turns gushing to the camera about what a life changing experience this has been for THEM.

Despite my sarcasm, it's actually a sweet segment and they talk about her being able to kiss her father one day. The poor little thing is just barely coming out of anesthesia when Jessica gets all up in her face asking her if she feels beautiful now. She crams a mirror in front of her. Bless her little heart, she nods and says she feels beautiful. Great, did you guys get that sound byte so she can recover from her surgery now?

For the Indian finale of tonight's episode, we will be attending a red carpet Bollywood party where our pals will be all decked out in sparkly Bollywood finery. We are talking the whole nine yards - henna tattoos on their hands and bindis on their foreheads.

Jessica requests that her bindi be a tribute to Popeye.

They visit India's answer to Rachel Zoe to choose their elaborate red carpet wear, which will be intricately decorated saris.

For her grand entrance, Jessica is carried into place in some kind of giant basket while Ken and CaCee stand around watching.

My Super Sweet Hindi Sixteen

Our Beauty Ambassador is back to tell the girls they look like princesses, but really all I've discovered is that Bollywood fashion is different than American fashion. They're wearing super snazzy versions of traditional Indian costumes to go to a snooty party. Whoop-dee-do. Jessica informs me that Indians are very spiritual and they are so at peace with their inner beauty that they can express it outwardly through all of these colors and jewelry. I'm going to go ahead and give that theory a thumbs down. It would be like saying that Hollywood starlets are so inwardly at peace that all they have to do is wear a $40,000 dress on the red carpet. Not so much.

Well Jessica did something nice this episode and next week we visit the much-anticipated Fat Huts! That's what I'm talking about. I'm going to pay close attention to see how I can get hooked up with one of those.

So what did you guys think of Jessica's Indian discoveries? Are you feeling very Freida Pinto-esque? Ready to rush to Rite-Aid for a plastic neti pot?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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