We have had some requests for celebrity interviews being that this is a magazine of sorts. So as my gift to you, I am presenting you with my first celebrity interview.
By Heather Lopez
If you are an A.I. fan, you might know Jessica as one of the Top 10 in Season 4. You might also know her as the "Fallen American Idol," because she proceeded to embark on a path of drugs, jail, and rehabs, including a stint on Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab show. What you might not know is that she has been sober for two years and became a new mom on December 5, 2009 to a baby boy named Kayden Cash. "Cash" of course being inspired by the late Johnny Cash, another celebrated celebrity with a past involving jails and drugs. But like Cash, Jessica hopes to overcome her past and become one of the great ones.
Speaking with Jessica was more than just an interview, as the conversation felt like we were friends sharing war stories of the past, pregnancy, giving birth, and caring for babies. It is my hope that I do her justice in portraying her story to the world.
HAHMom: I hear you're back in the studio and your son is only 7 weeks old. How has that been for you?
JS: I am just finishing up 16 songs. I obviously started before my son was born and I should be done by next week. We are going to decide what edits to make, what songs to include on my EP. My son comes with me and my friend watches him in the other room when I am recording.
HAHMom: I saw an interview in which you said that you and Kayden's father were no longer together, but that you were still good friends. Has his father been in his life since the birth? Do you have a support network to help you as a single mom?
JS: Yes, Kayden's father and I are friends and he has seen Kayden a few times since he was born. My family is in Florida, so I rely a lot on my friends who live in California to help me out. I will be going to Florida soon as my uncle passed away and I need to make funeral arrangements. I am going to stay in Tampa for about a week so that my family gets to meet Kayden. It is hard being a single mom, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
HAHMom: Is there anything you wished somebody told you about having a baby before, but you had to learn on your own?
JS: Everyday is a new learning experience. Everybody tells you try this, try that, but every baby is different. You learn what your baby likes, where he likes to sleep, how he likes to be held. Kayden's a stomach sleeper. He moves that way on his own. But, one thing I didn't really understand was that I wasn't going to get sleep. I thought he was going to come home and sleep at night. Yeah right! I am looking forward to the time when he is sleeping through the night.
HAHMom: Now we're going to talk about the past alittle. It is important for the readers to know what you have been through, so that they can see how far you've come. You started singing at the age of 3, you were a contestant on Star Search, and of course, American Idol. But after these immense highs, you proceeded to hit some very deep lows. Tell us more about this.
JS: I actually started drinking when I was 15. My past involved a lot of abuse, with many family members battling their own addictions. My mother was in and out of jail and I did not even meet her until I was 13. I did not even recognize this woman and she was hugging me and crying. She appeared very old. I stopped seeing her when I was 15, as she got more heavily involved with drugs and prostitution. My mother died of a drug overdose right around the time I was doing American Idol. I took this pretty hard. I felt as though she chose drugs over her children. You would think that I would left drugs alone.
HAHMom: How were your experiences in jail and in rehab- both on the show and after sentencing?
JS: Jail was horrible. Being handcuffed, arrested, it was not what I wanted. I was in there over a month in solitary confinement, facing up to 10 years in prison. But I knew I had to break the cycle of my family. I went to rehab for a year and it saved my life. Going to rehab gave me a chance to think it over. Attending groups, opening up, it was hard.
HAHMom: If your son hears about your past, and heaven forbid the sex tape, how do you plan on discussing this with him?
JS: By being honest, to an extent. It happened. I will be completely honest, as much as is appropriate for his age, because I don't want to hide. I do not want it to be as much of a shock if he finds out from someone else. He will be growing up around other people in recovery, in AA meetings, so he will know alittle bit about addiction and especially about recovery.
HAHMom: I read that you were banned from being within 100 feet of a microphone or camera. Is this true? To a singer, that must've been a wake up call. How did you feel?
JS: It is true. The judge banned me from all media because he wanted me to focus on getting myself better. After the year in rehab, I got a job and did everything he wanted, so he lifted the ban. When I first heard about the ban, I hated him. I didn't even know that he could do this. I questioned my lawyers and found out that he could. It wasn't until 5 or 6 months into rehab that it clicked. He was not trying to punish me, he was trying to help me by making me focus on myself without being distracted by everything else. So many celebrities are involved in drugs and alcohol and many don't recover because they don't have the time they need.
HAHMom: When the media ban was lifted, what was the first thing you did?
JS: At first I started speaking to kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol. Then I slowly made my way back into the studio.
HAHMom: I read that you were working with children through a nonprofit. Has this helped to put your life into perspective?
JS: Absolutely! I have been working with at risk youth. They are in danger of getting involved with drugs and alcohol. Many of them have been sexually abused. On one occasion that I spoke with them, all of the children had been sexually abused. None of them were over 10 and one was only 4 years old. It was eye opening.
HAHMom: Back to having your baby. Going through pregnancy did you have any unusual symptoms? Any regular symptoms?
JS: I had unusual cravings, and then one that was not so unusual. I craved pickles. I used to get that at Jerry's Deli and eat about a pound or so a day. I'm not kidding. I would buy five pounds every three days. I also craved McDonalds and Pollo Loco. I was sick all the time. My back hurt so bad. The last few months, I had preterm labor issues so I was getting really bad contractions. The worst thing was that the Triple Test they gave me showed positive for Down Syndrome. I was so worried and nobody was available to answer my questions. I had to wait until the next day to speak with the doctor. I thought it was definite that my son had Down Syndrome. Fortunately, they referred me to a genetic doctor who did an amniocentisis and found out my son would be okay.
HAHMom: Did you find anything useful during your pregnancy, such as certain exercises, foods, books, and products?
JS: Cocoa & Shea Butter Babywash by Johnson & Johnson. I used this and didn't get any stretch marks. Cocoa Butter has always been known to help avoid stretch marks, so I guess that might be the reason it worked. Plus, it smelled great and was so soft on my skin. I also took a lot of advice from my family, especially my sister, as they have been through this before.
HAHMom: Have you lost any baby weight? Do you have a plan to lose weight?
JS: I lost all of the weight I gained within the first week after having my son. I am breastfeeding, so I think that has something to do with it. I also think it runs in my family and my genetics. I still feel alittle flabby, but I plan on starting to workout soon.
HAHMom: Have you had any time for yourself since your son was born?
JS: I take baths. Sometimes, I bring my son in his bath seat and put him in the tub with me. He usually falls asleep. I also take him for walks and go shopping. When he sleeps, that is the time I try to take care of myself. It is hard because everything is on their schedule.
HAHMom: What has having a baby taught you about yourself?
JS: When I first brought the baby home, I was so scared. I had a total meltdown and the baby was crying. I thought I couldn't be a mother. But then I talked to a lot of people. I have become more patient and nurturing. I have found out that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. He's so precious.
HAHMom: What are your plans for the future? Are you planning to tour? How will you be managing your son during this time?
JS: I plan on releasing a new album. I will then start doing local shows first. When my son gets alittle bigger, I will start touring in other states. I think it would be best to tour for two weeks and then come home for two weeks. This will help my son gain a little stability. I think I will have a nanny with me to help care for him while I am performing. I haven't really left my son with anyone. Yesterday was the first time I left the building without him. I left him with a friend for less than ten minutes so I could walk two blocks away and it felt like forever.
HAHMom: Anything else you would like to share with the world about your journey, your plans for the future, or any advice for other new moms?
JS: For single moms, don't overwhelm yourself. Think positively. No matter how hard it seems, don't give up. My son was the best thing that could happen to me. I wouldn't take anything back because everything led to me having my son.