Jessica Simpson Gags and Giggles on The Price of Beauty Premiere

03/16/2010 AT 12:00 AM EDT

"There's a lot of pressure to feel beautiful," Jessica Simpson says on the premiere of her reality show, The Price of Beauty, which debuted Monday night on VH1. "There's always a new diet to follow, a new product. But is that really what defines beauty?" Simpson's goal, she explains, is to travel the world and find out what different cultures find beautiful -- and to find beauty for herself.

First stop: Thailand! Jessica and her BFFs Ken Paves and CaCee Cobb head out to experience a gamut of beauty treatments and ideas, including a Thai massage.

"Beauty ambassador" Sonia Couling, a Thai actress and model, takes the gang to Wang Lang Market, a bazaar full of jewelry, beauty-enhancing "delicacies" and fortune tellers -- one of whom predicts Jessica will find love. As for the "delicacies," there are fried worms and cockroaches, considered beneficial because they can speed your metabolism, Jessica explains. The singer, who admits she can't usually stomach salmon (but loves tuna!), dry heaves just looking at the critters. She eventually forces down a bit of worm and nearly pukes, making gagging noises until everyone in the market seems to be staring at her.

But it's not all fun and games. The beauty ambassador introduces Jessica and her pals to Panya Bunjan, a woman whose skin has been permanently discolored by bleaching creams, which are used in Thailand to lighten complexions. "After meeting Panya, I just felt so sad," Jessica says. "I just felt guilty for having moments in my life where I obsess over things that make me feel and look beautiful."

After that lesson, Jessica is in the mood for another kind of beauty, so she and her friends visit a Buddhist monk who tells them, "Buddhists believe true beauty comes from within." In search of that inner peace, the group meditates -- until Jessica gets an uncontrollable case of the giggles. The monk is not amused.

The posse finally goes to a small village in Northern Thailand, where the women of the Karen tribe adorn themselves with stacks of rings around their necks. "It crushes you, like it pushes down on your ribs," Jessica says of the rings. "That is definitely a price to pay to feel beautiful."

In the end, after a celebration and a big meal in the village, Jessica says she's learned that in Thailand there is a "reserved inner beauty" that she's come to really respect. --Marla Lehner

Tell Us: What do you think of Jessica's new show? Were you enlightened or embarrassed? Will you continue to watch The Price of Beauty?VH1

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