Jewel on her early career trials: ‘They said I was the chubby Renee Zellweger’


Here’s a photo of songstress Jewel yesterday at a launch for the Swiffer Sweep & Trap. She seems enthused. Jewel has been successfully releasing music for decades, but she’s branching out into cleaning product sponsorships. It seems like just yesterday that I was watching the “Who Will Save Your Soul” video on MTV, right? Sean Penn also claimed to have discovered Jewel although I’m not sure “banging” quite counts as “discovery.” Ha.

Jewel has now released 12 albums (including a Greatest Hits record). She recently confirmed on her Twitter account that she’s working on a new, stripped-down album. She’s producing it herself without a label, which should be interesting. Jewel sat down with HuffPo for a quickie interview where she talked about the body struggles she had early in her career:

Her looks & her career: “I’m pretty lucky. I don’t feel my career has ever depended on how I look, necessarily. Certainly in this industry I’m photographed a lot and I’m on film a lot, but I think my fans have always loved me for who I am. It’s weird, I never thought a snaggle-toothed, big nosed girl from Alaska would [be considered 'hot']. But I enjoy it, especially as I’ve gotten older. I’ve just gotten more comfortable in my skin and I wouldn’t trade what I’ve gained in my aging for what I had in my youth … that insecure, scared feeling.”

Her early experience with body snarking: “When I first came on the scene I was probably 15 or 20 pounds heavier and they said I was the chubby Renee Zellweger. And it’s a hard thing to live through, but I was very dedicated to not developing an eating disorder and very dedicated to not becoming a drug addict because, to me, they weren’t longtime solutions and you have to go on your journey and you have to find that love for yourself.

On perspective: “What’s unique about you is also the most special thing about you. I was a scared, homeless kid that wrote in my journal and put it on a record and people said, ‘I like you. I believe in you. You move me.’ It’s a remarkable opportunity.”

[From HuffPo]

People can be so cruel. Why would anyone call someone “the chubby version of _____” and think they were being clever? That’s the stuff that eating disorders are made of. Jewel was never chubby at all. She was adorable for god’s sake. I never got a Zellweger vibe from Jewel either. They were both cute little starlets hitting the scene in the mid 1990s, but that’s where the similarities ended. Jewel certainly doesn’t look like Zellweger now. To be fair, not even Renee Zellweger looks like Renee Zellweger anymore.



Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

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23 Responses to “Jewel on her early career trials: ‘They said I was the chubby Renee Zellweger’”

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  1. blue marie says:

    I have always loved Jewel, but (and I know it’s been a while) I don’t remember her ever being chubby, either way I’ve always thought she was beautiful.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      She’s adorable. Our society needs to get a grip on weight issues.

    • MrsB says:

      I love her too. I think I was in middle school when she came out and besides loving her music, I remember loving that she wasn’t stick-thin. She was by no means chubby, she just looked healthy to me. She was a great role model imo and proof that you can remain true to yourself and be successful in Hollywood.

    • V4Real says:

      Standing next to the skelatal Zellweger even Halle Berry would look fat.

      Jewel does/did resemble Renee. I remember when she was popular people used to say that a lot. I don’t recall her being called chubby. But Jewel is still quite beautiful while Renee just looks like a shell of what she used to be. She should have left her face alone.

  2. Kiddo says:

    “Here’s a photo of songstress Jewel yesterday at a launch for the Swiffer Sweep & Trap”

    Wait, what?

  3. Granger says:

    Cleaning products? Really?

    I saw Jewel back in about 1995, before she got really big, at a very small venue in Vancouver. There were maybe 45 people in the audience. And she was amazing. I was mesmerized! I must admit, however, that after about five years of listening to her, she bored me to tears. She just never seemed to evolve musically very much. Maybe I’m too cynical. I’m curious to hear her upcoming album.

  4. Sankay says:

    I’m not a particular fan. Doesn’t she owe her career to Sean Penn? He had an affair just as she was breaking through?

    And I got real tired of her “wet” lip gloss but I know the guys loved it.

    • If they had an affair (which I have no clue if they did, never heard of it before now), how does she owe him her career? Sure, there might’ve been some interest in taking some pap shots of her, and maybe there might’ve been a bump in sales of her album, but continued success? You need talent for that… one will continually buy her albums because she’s banging Sean Penn.

    • Original Tessa says:

      Or, you know, her smash hit songs could have helped. Her albums were huge in the 90′s.

    • minime says:

      I never even knew that she was once with Sean Penn, so I’ll dare to say “no, she doesn’t owe her career to Sean Penn”. I’m really not a fan but even I know a lot of her songs. As Tessa said, she had some smash hit songs in the late 90′s and she got pretty big in the still “watched the videoclip on MTV”-era

      I actually always thought she looks like Rennee Zellweger, but I don’t recall that Jewel was ever “chubby”…people sometimes just find stupid things to say.

  5. Luca26 says:

    I liked her songs a lot during the day.

    But I also remember her god awful book of poetry. I remember that it was just so laughably bad that it sort of ended her career.

    • FingerBinger says:

      I remember that poetry book, “A Night Without Armor” being particularly bad and pretentious. James Franco level of bad.

  6. Question: Was there a ‘Jewel’ on American Idol a few years ago? She had dreadlocks and was blonde?

  7. Atticus says:

    I love, love, love Jewel. Her life story is amazing. @Granger, I saw her in Feb 1995 in a teeny venue in Milwaukee, also right before she broke through with “Who Will Save Your Soul”. She was incredible. So engaging with the crowd, her performance was flawless and she was just so entertaining. Very down to earth and funny. I followed her through the years but dropped off a bit more recently when she did her country album and lullabye CD (if only that had come out 8 years ago when my kids were born), but I did go see her live again in Washington, DC, about a year ago. It was just her and her guitar, and she asked the audience to call out requests…and she played them all. Just as engaging, funny, down to earth as she was in MKE almost 20 years ago. Love her, thank you for doing a story on her!!

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I used to love her, especially the song “You Were Meant for Me”. The little details just seemed so human to me, they described the feeling of heartbreak so well. I also love how she reinterprets her songs when she performs them live. The variations that she choses to make always add a lot to the song. I think she is very talented, but I haven’t listened to any of her new work for a long time.

  8. 'p'enny says:

    I loved her first few albums especially, her first Pieces of You, I still find Foolish Games one of the most emotional songs ever written. However, she lost me with her Christmas album and the last I bought was Goodbye Alice in Wonderland. Then she went all-country music – and they came difficult to get hold of in the UK without paying a lot of money. I just really wasn’t keen on the musical style change. I will look forward to hearing go back to her simple song writing roots.

    I have to go listen to Foolish Games, now. ….

  9. dizzylucy says:

    I always thought she and Renee looked a lot alike, back in the day.
    I loved her music in college, but haven’t listened to anything new of hers in quite some time.

  10. shellybean says:

    I love Jewel! I got to see her in concert last spring or summer, and I was in the first few rows, and she is as pretty as can be. She also sounded amazing! Really a good vocalist! And she yodeled at the end for like 5 minutes, which was really cool. Her brother was her opening act, and he is also super talented, and he was sooooo funny and seemed like the best guy. Definitely one of my favorite concerts I’ve been to.

    My neighbors have a ranch a couple of hours away, and they have seen her husband several times when they go in to “town”. They say he is so nice.

  11. Ginger says:

    I like some of Jewel’s music but I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan or anything. I’ve always thought she was pretty but never, ever fat. My goodness! She looks perfectly normal to me. I have admired the fact that she never changed her looks with plastic surgery. I also have a bump on my nose and have thought a lot about changing that over the years. But then I look at her and think, maybe not. As I recall, didn’t Sean direct/film her video for “Who will save your soul?” I suppose that’s why people think he launched her career. And I do remember people gossiping that they may have had an affair. How does Sean always land these gorgeous women? I still can’t believe she’s shilling cleaning products. Wow. That seems so random.

  12. Kate says:

    I don’t know were the chubby bit is coming from. I worked her first few releases and know one ever talked about her weight. I remember the residency tours she did for the “Piece of You” release.

  13. lna says:

    I despise her and Penn since the affair they had while Penn’s then girlfriend was pregnant with their first child. What an horrible pair.