Three days after hosting the Billboard Music Awards, Chrissy Teigen was exhausted. Not that you could tell as the realest model in the game arrived bright-eyed and dewy-faced to Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel to host a midday cocktail mixer for Captain Morgan.
“It’s been an interesting few days,” smiled Teigen, 29, who’d just taken a brief sabbatical from her Twitter feed after placing a target on her back at the Billboards, her biggest gig since breaking through with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
“People can be kind of brutal,” she said. “But that’s how big the Billboards are! You have to actually stay off social media for a while.”
The 2015 Billboard Awards saw Teigen co-hosting with Ludacris in a night bountiful with prime shade from Taylor Swift and J. Lo. Teigen made headlines twice herself, when her gown accidentally sent a woman flying to the floor and when she threw a well-timed eye roll at Iggy Azalea on the red carpet.
“Well, what can I say? I’ve never been good at hiding my emotions,” Teigen laughed as we sat poolside, me sipping on a fruity rum cocktail dubbed “Baewatch.”
“There were a million things that went into that. I obviously had a show to prepare for and that carpet was not something that I exactly wanted to do in the first place because I was like, ‘I have to read this script, I’m terrified, and now I’m up here taking pictures pretending not to be terrified.’ I hear all these screaming people and it was just… listen, whatever.”
So for the record, was that premium shade directed at Iggy? I ask.
“It was a multitude of things,” she said with a sphinxlike smile. “It was a multitude of things, for sure.”
Teigen, who also provides color commentary on Spike TV’s celeb-heavy Lip Sync Battle, is used to reading between the lines, most of them sung with gusto by the likes of Anne Hathaway, who recently lip-synced to Miley Cyrus while astride a swinging wrecking ball.
Most celebrities, too, run safe and sanitized social media feeds. But not Chrissy Teigen, who is unusually open about being hyper-aware of her haters and what the gossip rags whisper online.
“I think it’s important that I don’t pretend to put myself in the caliber of a Britney or an Iggy or a Mariah,” said Teigen, who routinely practices her “no bullshit” philosophy with her 2.3 million Instagram followers and vowed never to retouch a selfie. “I’m smarter than that. But it’s important for people to realize that we’re all human and I read everything people write about me. I know every comment.”
“We’re aware of this stuff,” she continued, “and even though you say it in jest or as a passing comment or are just being bitchy, we see everything and we’re real people and it hurts us, and it affects us. Just like it would hurt anybody! So there is another reason behind it—it’s to say, ‘Listen, I’m real and I know what you’re saying about me and it still hurts me.’”
In any case, Teigen didn’t stay offline for long. Within the week she was back posting home selfies with her husband, Oscar-winning R&B artist John Legend, and waxing poetic about various food revelations, like the awesomeness of peas:
When their Kimye at the Waffle House pic went viral, it was thanks to John ’n’ Chrissy, who have a well-documented penchant for the finer tastes in fast food.
“I’ll drag John to Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr… I can’t tell you how many weirdo black cards I have for those kinds of establishments,” said Teigen. “We had just brought it up to them, ‘Would you guys want to come to Waffle House?’ Kanye was so down and Kim was like, ‘Yeah, of course!’ We took the picture, which we did not think would go as far, and it just took off.”
As for the other A-list couple in their celeb power quartet, “What I love about them is they’re so down to do anything. They’re down to have a good time,” she said.
“Trust me. We were all eating. We didn’t just do it for the photo,” she said of the foursome’s Waffle House double date. “We were all enjoying ourselves, having a good time. What was really cool was that there were people there but nobody gave a shit about us.”
What’s the biggest misconception out there about Kimye?
“Honestly, they’re so loving,” she said. “They’re so fun. Fuck, they love each other so much. I’ll be damned. The fact that anyone would ever have any doubts about anyone’s relationship in the public eye when they have no idea what’s happening is crazy to me. But they’re really, truly good people and I think people tend to want to attack when they can. I love them to death.”
Teigen’s seen all your Kimye comments. And yes, she’s even seen the meme that borrows a choice screenshot of her face in the midst of a transformative emotion.
“Imagine how often I see it. It’s always funny, though, I’m never disturbed by it,” she said. “It is weird seeing it; it was me stopping myself from crying, but crying. I don’t care about that kind of stuff. That stuff doesn’t bother me at all.”
With an upcoming episode of Top Chef in the can (“a dream of mine for a long time”) and a cookbook in the works based on her hilariously unfiltered cooking blog, Teigen’s racking up the celebrity portfolio for herself. She and her co-writer are putting themselves through arduous 12-a-days, cooking a dozen potential recipes a day and testing the concepts with a social media focus group of millions. The cookbook “is harder than anything I’ve ever done, career-wise.”
The daughter of a Thai mother and a Caucasian dad, Teigen counts her mom’s cooking among her greatest foodie influences. And even though her journey’s taken her from grocery shopping at Ralph’s to hitting Bristol Farms of Beverly Hills on a first-name basis (“I walk out of Bristol Farms every day and they’re like, ‘Bye, Chrissy!’”), Teigen’s still looking out for the everywoman.
“If I have to work too hard to find the ingredients in Los Angeles I don’t want that woman in the Midwest to have a harder time finding them,” said Teigen. “That’s not fair. Sometimes it comes down to, some people can’t find cilantro. I’m from a small town north of Seattle; we didn’t have cilantro in our grocery store. So you think about things like that.”