Supermodel Chrissy Teigen is more than the biracial beauty John Legend totes around to red carpets. The outspoken Twitter chatterbox is also a swimwear designer, TV personality and self-made chef. Most surprising of all? She’s human. — Adelle Platon
BRED IN THE RURAL innocence of Seattle, Washington, Chrissy Teigen accelerated her maturity when she became a California transplant. “Seattle was like a Disney family town,” she recalled. “There was no emphasis put on being sexy and people didn’t even talk about sex or drugs. I moved to Huntington Beach and everything grew up a lot faster there.”
After clocking in for a retail gig at a surf shop on Main Street, a photographer came in and asked to flash his lens at the beach beauty. Chrissy took the snapshots to a modeling agency in Los Angeles that praised her exotic features even when she felt more tomboy than model. “All models say growing up they were kind of awkward, but I wasn’t awkward,” she said. “I played sports like baseball and soccer, and I had all guy friends. It was more weird, not ‘Oh my look at the dark-haired, mixed girl.’
Now, even with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover crossed out on her to-do list, the Thai/Norwegian model still has yet to find her sexy. “Probably last year, and even then, not really,” Chrissy laughs when asked when she embraced her self-image. “I’m very aware of what people say about me and what people think all the time.”
The 27-year-old also recognizes when gossip outlets troll her love life. Her engagement to R&B singer John Legend has recently drawn a media firestorm after a tabloid-y newspaper accused him of cheating on Teigen. Her line of defense? Humor. “Gonna buy a parrot for the sole reason of it shitting on the post every day. Also the singing and companionship,” she tweeted.
This isn’t the first time the Twitter addict has caught shade online. In May 2012, Chris Brown’s league of stans came with death threats after she fired an e-shot against the singer’s lipsyncing performance at the Billboard Awards.
Still, no amount of characters can deter the svelte firecracker from planning her nuptials to Legend, hosting a messy model competition and planting the seeds for her own mini-empire.
VV: On Twitter, you would never guess that you had self-esteem issues. I feel like you just say whatever the heck you want.
In the beginning, I didn’t understand why I could say things and get crap for them. I knew there were people watching, but there is a way to say things and make it funny, not a malicious attack. I‘ve kind of learned and grown in that way but I’m still insecure and I still read terrible things. You kind of become desensitized to it.
Let’s talk about your Top Chef skills. Why did you start a foodie blog?
I always wanted to go to culinary school but it was never in the cards for me. Modeling is such a short window of time, and I’ve been lucky enough that the blog took off. Some people from the Food Network were leaving comments on it and that’s when I knew it could really be something.
What’s your earliest cooking memory?
I remember actually having food competition shows with my friend Bonnie, and I would look in the refrigerator and be like, “Okay you have one minute to use anything in this refrigerator to create a wonderful dish.” And this is before Top Chef, but I remember more than anything my mom’s scallop potatoes and helping her roast potatoes, the ham and the bacon. I can smell it every time.
You’re hosting a show called Model Employee, which recently aired. What can people expect?
The reason why I would watch is because you’re putting eight gorgeous in a house, sifting through trash and recycling, for this Mandalay Bay spokesmodel role that they lose all concept of the cameras and it just becomes amazing.
Now what’s amazing about your upcoming swimwear line?
It’s kind of lingerie but swimwear. This year, I collaborated with Beach Bunny doing their beach bridal line. I got to come into the offices, sift through fabrics, see their designs and make changes. It’s all the elements I’m looking for in a dress — very natural and soft and feminine.
Speaking of bridal, what’s the update on the wedding?
This sounds like the typical answer but I’m not kidding–we know no details. We know we’re gonna get married. There’s no real rush. My mom has her dress already. My bridesmaids are freaking out. [John and I] aren’t too worried about it for some reason. [Laughs]
What’s your advice to women who are extremely successful that want to find love but don’t have the time for it?
You gotta make time for yourself and get out there. That’s the hard part about dating alone. You could have everything but it’s hard to find that perfect guy. I guess I just got lucky.