Everything you think you know about Chrissy Teigen is true: She’s gorgeous, down-to-earth and as relatable as her unfiltered social media posts suggest. At a poolside event for Captain Morgan rum in Hollywood (she stars in the brand’s new ads), she judged a mixology competition kicking off the summer-entertaining season. That’s where we caught up with her for a chat about her crusade against Photoshop and her outspoken body-positivity message for all women.
She underscored her sentiment that there is far too much retouching, not just in advertisements — but also on social media. And that’s where it can even be more damaging, she said, because it reads like casual snapshots.
“Anyone who knows the in and outs of the modeling industry and social media [knows] you see people touching themselves up on a daily basis, and you don’t even know what anyone looks like anymore,” she said. “Honestly, I don’t have the kind of Instagram feed where I’m scrolling through and seeing real women. And that is killing me because I know what these girls look like and it’s not fair.”
That’s why Teigen has taken a stand against that behavior, famously posting a photo of her own stretch marks. She’s also willing to share the insecurities that she has — yes, just like the rest of us. “I want people to know that when I go do a Sports Illustrated shoot, I’m insecure because I’m looking at all these beautiful women too and I am not perfect. And even though it may look like that from Photoshop, we’re just not.”
What could a supermodel be insecure about, you might want to know? “When I first met [husband] John [Legend], I was so insecure about my feet, my tummy, these two dummy lines on my mouth.”
But after such a long time of people obsessively curating and retouching, Teigen thinks the culture may actually shifting in the right direction.
“I think something happened within the last few years. And I credit Lena Dunham for this: When someone goes out there and shows themselves unapologetically, says what they want to say, shows everything about their body, and doesn’t care — that makes me feel better,” she said. “If more and more women do what she does, more and more women would feel better. So when you see someone who in the smallest ways inspires you by showing you their flaws — I’m happy to be that person. I’m so fine with it.”
But don’t call what she’s doing — exposing her own flaws and being vocal about people who don’t — a movement. “I never do anything like, ‘Oh my god, let’s hashtag this, let’s make this a thing.' It’s more just like, I’m over it. I don’t have the energy to do it anymore. It’s not important to me, and it shouldn’t be important to you either.”
Noting the ascendance of plus-sized models in the industry (Like recent TODAY Show guest Tess Holliday, who has a major modeling contract as a size-22 model), Teigen said she loves to see more diversity creeping into modeling, but is no fan of the language being used to discuss it.
“My thing is with accepting all women: the rail-thin ones, the medium-sized ones, the plus-sized ones, everybody. So I always have had a thing against calling [a certain category of] people ‘real women.’”
“I look at myself and I think what I wouldn’t do for hips and curves and to be sexy and to have that butt — but I’m still a real woman,” she said. “We really need to retool the language because we’re all real women; we just come in all different shapes and sizes.”
With Memorial Day comes the unofficial kickoff of beach and bikini season. Going into it, Teigen has some advice for all women and girls.
“Everyone needs to know there’s no such thing as perfect. We’re all just jaded and weirded out by these people on Instagram. But it’s about being confident and going out there and being happy by the pool, having a good life and a good time,” she said. “When a weekend comes like this when you get to be with your friends and family and take some time away from the stress of life, the last thing you should be thinking about is, ‘Do I have a stretch mark here? Do I have this happening here?’ Screw it — enjoy your life!”