Oh, friends – there are a million things I want to write about right now, but I am pressed for time so I am going to focus it down to one: Jessica Biel. Jessica Biel is coming for your eyeballs and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Who is Jessica Biel? Well, you might know Jessica from the CW school of teen acting. You might recognize her from her numerous Maxim magazine covers. You’re probably aware that she’s married to my blood-oath nemesis, Justin Timberlake (who takes a second seat only to Eric Clapton, but that’s for another day). Who can forget the famous photo of Justin jumping on Jessica’s head to announce their nuptials? (Girl, that is foreshadowing if I’ve ever seen it. The call is coming from inside the house. Run.)
Perhaps you remember that none other than Cameron Diaz lost her shit over Timberlake’s relationship with Biel, when Diaz screamed, “So, is she, like, your fucking girlfriend now?” In public. At the Golden Globes. On the red carpet. And she didn’t stop screaming until Drew Barrymore had to come drag her away. God damn, that’s vintage tea. Please enjoy this finely aged gossip.
Biel, by the way, has done herself no favors, especially when she claimed she was “too beautiful to be taken seriously for dramatic roles,” and she regrets that she’s “incredibly sexy.” The girl can’t help it – she woke up looking like this! Did she attend The Gwyneth Paltrow of High Regard GOOP Seminar? Please, leave some self-esteem for the rest of us.
For a while, it looked like Jessica had indeed ceded the stage, instead attempting to go the lifestyle route when she opened up the L.A.-based, high-end, child-focused café, Au Fudge. Yes, you read all of those words correctly – the concept was, indeed, a high-end café for children. I mean, not to imply that kids aren’t worthy of such a venture. But... come on. If I had the money, I would open a play-café called “Here's Your Bubble Wrap, Because That's What You Will Gravitate Towards Over These Expensive Plastic Toys I Just Bought You.” It’s a little wordy, but it’s a million-dollar idea. You’re welcome.
Speaking of money, that’s exactly what shuttered Au Fudge’s doors. Biel and her business partners were sued by employees “back in 2017 for allegedly cheating employees out of breaks for meals, bathroom visits, and rest — not to mention a huge sum in tips generated from private events, which the venue regularly hosted in various spaces… including a craft and activity room, and a Bohemian treehouse-like hideaway. The staffers were asking for $430,100 in tips they felt they were owed after events, as well as $31,549 owed to them for the missed breaks. They also sought an additional $1 million in punitive damages. It's all ended in a settlement, the details of which are not public.”
[Yeah, this is shady AF and beyond shitty. I kind of hate myself for even writing about her after revisiting this scandal in research for this post. This is some Karen/Cancel Culture level nonsense, for sure. But I’m going with the “love the art, not the artist” clause, given that if we cancelled every crappy person and their art, we’d have almost zero entertainment to consume. That said, I look forward to the day when there are actual consequences for wealthy people and their actions.]
Biel laid low in the interim, tending to her two children and husband as they weathered multiple cheating allegations via the Timberlake Entitlement Machine. It looked like she was safe to fade into rich oblivion where she could enjoy her hotness in peace.
Then came Cruel Summer, the wildly engaging limited series that debuted last year on Freeform (the station’s biggest hit, to date). The show was produced by Biel, via her Iron Ocean Productions, with her producing partner, Michelle Purple. If you’ve seen it, you know it’s a tense, skilled, must-see binge, with incredible attention to detail. I could not get enough. (Lucky me – season two is filming now!) And that’s when I started to think: Huh. Jessica Biel did this? Well, hell; perhaps there is more to this Jessica person than her perfect ass, terrible taste in men, and questionable employment tactics. Maybe, just maybe, there is some talent here.
One of the things I love is work. Real creative work. If you know me, you know I love Lainey Gossip, who extols the virtue of work (on her podcast, Show Your Work) especially in the female space. Other excellent examples are Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, and Olivia Wilde who are all creating incredible entertainment and opportunities while also bringing other women up with them. Jessica has now joined those ranks. Good work is sexy. Put the bikinis away and fire up the laptops!
So, with this backstory, you can understand why I dropped everything to watch Biel’s latest venture, Candy, based on the true story of woman who murdered her “best” friend. Yes, much like Cruel Summer, the subject matter is extremely unpleasant. But the execution is flawless, addictive, and highly-watchable. Bonus: This will make you think, and you will definitely be talking about it! The attention to detail of the time period is stunning; every inch is stunning.
And this is what brought me to Jessica’s side: the work. The passion she brings to each of her projects is palpable. And I can respect that. (When this latest show wrapped, I turned to Larry and said, “What are we going to do without Candy?!” We’ll find our way, but it won’t be easy!)
Okay, sure – Jessica is too hot, even in the horrific permed wig she donned for her latest character. She’s still married to my sworn enemy. (Though divorce rumors are floating. Fingers crossed; free yourself!) She’s hopefully a better/kinder employer as a producer than restaurant owner. All of these things. But I’m seeing her step out of the shadows and into her own power. Her carefully curated love of true crime meshed with kitsch is a delight, and I am paying attention.
But wait, there's more! Click here to read about my personal most embarrassingly true Jessica Biel story. It is one-hundred percent humiliating - for me. Not her. She's fine! Until next time, peeps! xo