What is Ashlee Simpson up to these days? It’s a question I find myself returning to more than you might expect. And the answer is usually: Selling something on Instagram, casually. The former pop-punk singer and little sister to Jessica has an infinite number of corporate clients and a half-hearted interest in some of them.
Take, for example, this grid post from last month. It’s a photo of Simpson with her second husband Evan Ross, himself a musician and the son of Diana Ross. They could be anywhere or nowhere, though I’m guessing the photo was taken in Los Angeles. Note that Simpson is carrying a lime green quilted bag. And the caption: “Date night with @CoinCloudDCM learning about #DigitalCurrency ❤️ #Sponsored.”
What is Coin Cloud DCM? I guess it’s something to do with #DigitalCurrency, but it’s unclear if Simpson bothered to find out. Shortly after she attended this sponsored event, she was off to promote the television show Girls5eva, now streaming on Peacock. Here she is walking by a bus plastered with the faces of the show’s stars in a set-up paparazzi photo, carrying that same lime green quilted bag. HollywoodLife.com picked up the news in a roundup of celebrity photos with the caption: “Ashlee Simpson stops by Peacock`s Girls5eva Karaoke Bus in support of the show’s Emmy ‘5YC’ campaign.”
Has Simpson watched Girls5eva? Is she even an Emmy voter? I guess it doesn’t matter. Perusing her feed, you will find many similar, almost-enthusiastic recommendations for products and services. As a mother of three, some of these sponsored posts are geared toward children: In the last few months, Simpson has promoted Nick Jr.’s new line of toys, Pottery Barn Kids’ nursery items, and “a BRAND NEW SHOW from the makers of PAW Patrol” called Mighty Express. In each post, you sense that Simpson is discovering these items roughly 30 seconds before we are.
Sometimes, Simpson only commits to promoting a product for a certain amount of time. Last summer, she announced she was expecting her third baby with an #ad for ClearBlue pregnancy tests. “We are pregnant and we are so excited to share it with everyone,” she wrote in the caption. “Baby #3 Thank you @clearblue.”
By the time Ziggy Blu Ross was born, the post was scrubbed from her page.
One sponsored event we’ll never forget, though, occurred the week before Thanksgiving last year. Simpson, along with her husband, visited the neighborhood chain restaurant Applebee’s, perhaps for the first time. A paparazzo — the same one who was available to capture Simpson’s visit to the Girls5eva bus — took several photos of Simpson and Ross almost drinking large, red frozen cocktails that ended up on JustJared.com and The Daily Mail. And Simpson posted a video from the casual outing on her Instagram Stories, in which she explained what she was doing there.
“At Applebee’s. Having holiday drinks with my man,” she said. “Yep!”
It is really important for celebrities to sell things. If they’re not selling things, what are they doing? Writing songs? Taking long, slow walks around their gated communities? When a celebrity is selling something, you know exactly where they are and subsequently what to buy. It’s comforting. Perhaps no one understands this purpose more than Ashlee Simpson.