Chrissy Teigen On Why She'd Prefer You Not Call Her A Model & Whether She Has Plans To Run For Office
It's a gorgeous summer night in Malibu and I am hanging out on the balcony of my best friend, Chrissy Teigen's, beach house. We're admiring her newest BECCA collaboration, chatting about her daughter Luna's adorable 2-year-old antics, and searching for the best light to snap a sunset selfie as the waves crash into the sand below us. A typical Thursday evening, for sure.
OK, fine: Only half of this dreamlike scenario is true. I am at a Malibu beach house, but it's been rented out for a very fabulous soirée (complete with oil-slicked, shirtless men slinging gold-flecked sushi and Teigen's hubby, John Legend, sipping rosé from his very own label) to celebrate the launch of BECCA and Teigen's Endless Summer Glow collaboration.
Also, sadly, no — Chrissy Teigen is not my BFF. But one look at the comments of her posts or the replies to her tweets and it's clear that every one of her fans feel as though they, like me, connect with the multi-hyphenate millennial icon on a personal level. It's just the way that she is, not only on her very active social media channels, but also in real life. Teigen's aura is as warm and enchanting as the glitter-speckled glosses and jasmine-infused body oil she dreamed up for her BECCA collection. You can't help but be drawn to it — all of it (bronzer included). It's why she has over 29 million followers combined on Instagram and Twitter and why so many people make the hours-long trek (braving Los Angeles rush hour, no less) to attend her epic beach bash.
But before the rest of the evening begins, Teigen sat down with me to talk about why she continues to work with BECCA Cosmetics, why she never really considered herself to be a model, and if she'd ever consider running for office to beat her favorite arch nemesis, our president.
Sara Tan: First of all, congratulations on the Emmy noms for the whole family!
Chrissy Teigen: I know, it’s crazy! Thank you!
ST: How are you guys feeling — nervous? Excited?
CT: I really am [excited]. I woke up this morning, I think Miles — I was sleeping with him — we do this nursing session with him at 5 a.m. in the morning...
ST: Congratulations on Miles, by the way! You look amazing.
CT: Thank you! So I lay with him and John usually gets up to wake up Luna around 8 a.m., and then he came running in from his little gym session and was like, "We did it! We got it!" I forgot the Emmy noms happened and he was just like, a little kid, he was so happy. It takes a lot to excite John these days — he has an Oscar! — but he was really excited and it was really cool to see.
ST: Another congratulations — this time for your latest BECCA collaboration. I’m actually wearing the first palette right now!
CT: Yay! Looks awesome!
ST: So, how did you come about creating this latest collection?
CT: I think summer was a very natural pick for us. John and I had decided to kind of move to Malibu maybe about four months ago. We were like, we don’t really get to spend that much time when we’re in California at the beach. We never really take the time to drive to Santa Monica or drive to Malibu, so we decided to get this Malibu beach house and become beach people for the kids' sake at least because it’s so serene and peaceful and Luna loves it.
So, when we decided to come out here, we were talking to BECCA about what our next collection should be, and it was a very natural thing obviously to have this summer endless glow collection.
ST: And what’s your favorite product from the collection?
CT: Ah, that’s so hard to say, but I definitely want to say the Glow Body Oil. It’s just so easy to just feel sexy in, especially as a new mom, or not a new mom…
ST: A mom a second-time-around…
CT: Yes, a second-time-around mom! You do anything you can to feel sexy again.
ST: So how do you like to wear it? How do you apply it?
CT: I just do little dabs on my collarbone, behind the ears. The scent is really nice. The scent is really something that we take a lot of pride in. I focus-grouped it to everyone around me — there are a lot of amazing women around me that are moguls in their own right and they have beauty brands and beauty companies and I was messengering it to them and making sure they were OK with the scent. I wanted John and Luna to love it.
ST: What’s it smell like?
CT: It’s got these beautiful hints of jasmine which I really, really love because it reminds me of my mom and Thailand. It’s a really fresh, clean scent. When it came down to it, I was debating between this one that smelled really sweet and almost vanilla-y, like how I would want my kitchen to smell at all times. It was so hard because everyone really loved the fresh scent and I really loved this really sweet scent, and then in the end, I took a break from it and I went back to it after a week I was like, "You guys are right, it’s the clean scent." I’m happy I was able to give it to such a diverse group of people and we all came together and picked that scent. I love it; it makes you feel nice and fresh at the beach especially when you get kind of schmutzy.
ST: Totally. So, you mentioned being friends with lots of beauty entrepreneurs and you obviously are one in your own right, but would you ever start your own beauty brand?
CT: I really honestly have been so happy about this collaboration that I can’t really imagine going off and doing anything on my own, in the beauty world at least. It’s been such a wonderful group of women since the very beginning. The second I met with BECCA, I knew that they were the kind of people I wanted to work with for a really long time. How the partnership came together in the first place was me loving the product and they had seen it on Instagram. It wasn’t just something like, "Hey, do you maybe want to endorse this?" It was something that I already loved which is something I always look for when working with somebody. I don’t know, maybe it’ll happen, but for now I’m really happy being a part of this team and being with these women.
ST: Absolutely. So, how has your beauty outlook changed since having another baby?
CT: [Laughs] It gets less and less every time. I feel like with Luna, I might have put a strip lash on to go out. Now I’m like, no lashes. Basically it’s just like a beautiful lip, a nice glowy cheek, and a huge pair of sunglasses. I don’t know, I’m really comfortable in it, too. I feel happier. I think that really helps a lot. There’s just something about feeling happy that brings it out, no matter what you’re wearing, no matter what makeup you’re wearing, no matter how much you’re wearing, it’s important to really feel happy. Right now, I feel good about myself. I don’t feel like I’m wearing less makeup and I’ve given up. I feel like I just have this inner confidence and this inner beauty. Is that braggy? [Laughs]
ST: No, that’s amazing!
CT: OK, thank you.
ST: So, we know that Luna loves to play with your makeup. We see her on your Instagram doing it all the time. I know she’s still really young, but do you have any beauty advice for her once she starts exploring her beauty identity? Are you going to be the kind of mom that’s like, "No, you can’t wear that"?
CT: No! I like her to explore. I like her to fumble around with things. If it’s not dangerous, I kind of basically let her figure it out for herself. She’s into this stage where she’s like pouring water everywhere and I’m like, it’s just water — it’s on the carpet? OK, it’s fine.
But with makeup, she kind of doesn’t know how to open it yet, so we’re having a lot of fun [with the unopened containers.] She thinks she’s putting on lipstick and she feels so cool doing it. I will say once she gets to the age where she can really know what it is and what it’s for, I hope she goes for that effortless, natural beauty look. I want her to embrace her curls, all her crazy, curly hair, I hope she really loves it. I want her to highlight what’s natural about her, her big, beautiful cheeks — I want her to be proud of those. I want her to be proud of her lips. I think you can tell [your kids] something, but it doesn’t matter. My mom told me to leave my eyebrows alone and I still took them all off. You just do what you can and you see what they come back with.
ST: I love that outlook. OK, so, you’re obviously busy doing everything — you’re rallying for the people, you just had another baby, you’re writing cookbooks, you’re collaborating with brands, you host — does it bother you at all when people still refer to you as a model?
CT: Yeah! I don’t know why it does, because there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s so weird. I just feel like, it’s the last thing I do or I don’t really feel like I do it at all anymore. I’ve never been offended by it. If anything, I was just always weirded out to say it. I remember being on an airplane and this man next to me was like, "What do you do for a living?" And I was like, "Uhhhh," and I just made something up because I’ve never been able to physically say it, even when I was one, so I don’t know. There’s something about it that never vibed well with me because I never felt like I was one. I was always doing something else that I thought was equally cool.
ST: So, when people ask you now, do you have an answer?
CT: No. I still don’t have an answer now. Honestly, I swear, I really don’t. I never thought I would be the slash person — a host slash this slash this. So, yeah, I still don’t know and I feel like I’m still learning that about myself and what I want to do, but I think we’re in this time now where people really have so many different titles and you don’t have to be held down to one thing. I’m proud of [having multiple jobs] whereas before I would’ve felt like, "Oh, this makes me feel like I have no job." Now I’m more proud of it.
ST: Plus, everyone should just know who you are by now.
CT: Yeah, I hope so!
ST: So, you’re obviously on social media all the time and you engage with people who are not very nice to you. Do your feelings ever get hurt?
CT: All the time. All it takes is — I feel like if I read anything within the first half an hour of waking up, my phone should just be disabled. I shouldn’t be able to type back because I’m so sensitive in those first moments. And then I go back and read it after I’ve had the day to think about it and I’m totally OK. It really depends on my mood. If I’m feeling a little sensitive that day or I’m exhausted, things tend to hurt a bit more, but there are some days that I’m totally happy in life and the same comment wouldn’t hurt me. But yeah, I’m definitely affected by it and I think it’s important for people to know that we read what they say and they’re not just typing out into this empty universe. We read it, or I do at least. I read everything. It’s a blessing and a curse.
ST: Well, you defend yourself well.
CT: Thank you!
ST: What’s left for Chrissy Teigen now that you’ve accomplished all of the things?
CT: I don’t know! I feel so full.
ST: How about running for office?
CT: [Laughs] Oh, should I run for something?
ST: Yes. I mean, would you ever?
CT: Well, I didn’t think it was possible before, but apparently anything is possible. [Laughs] Donald did it! I always thought John would be that person and then I would always joke to him, "I’m not capable of being a first lady," and now I’m like, "Oh my gosh, I could literally be the president." But no, I would never. [Laughs] Don’t worry, we deserve better than that.
ST: Last quick question — what’s in your makeup bag right now?
CT: Oh, my gosh! My makeup bag is honestly — right now, it’s currently Malibu Soleil, I have a little bit of Aquaphor in a little tub that I put in there, I have some blotting pads, and, oh, a mini deodorant. I’m really neurotic about deodorant.
ST: Oh, same. Same.
CT: But it doesn’t stop you from sweating. Maybe a doctor will give me something that works.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.