Chrissy is on the cover of the October issue of Women’s Health. Read the interview down below & make sure to check out the images in the gallery.
Chrissy Teigen is not a fan of rules. There’s the rule about how much screen time a 2-year-old should get. (Her daughter, Luna, loves Elmo—what can you do?) The one about never eating after 7 p.m. (Chrissy likes to go to bed with a full stomach, so dinnertime is around 10.) Oh, and of course, the most important unspoken rule of using social media while famous: Don’t lurk in the comments.
“I leave little comments on my friends’ pages or random people I think I’m friends with, like John Mayer,” she says. “It makes me look pathetic!”
Chrissy walks into Malibu’s Little Beach House in full glam, wearing a floaty sundress and cradling 6-week-old Miles. Pathetic is not the first word that comes to mind. She and her husband, sure-to-be-future-EGOT winner John Legend, are renting a place in Malibu at the moment. As Chrissy settles onto a couch, I surreptitiously glance at my phone to see if she has tweeted in the 15 minutes since I last checked. (She has.) When you’re engaging with Chrissy Teigen, every update matters.
Chrissy’s suffered several recent highs—and lows
The 32-year-old has had a whirlwind two years. Born in Utah, Chrissy started catalog modeling in her early teens and scored her first Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover in 2014. Her extreme love of food and cooking, inherited from her mom—who lives with Chrissy and the family—inspired her to write Cravings, her 2016 best-selling cookbook.
Now it’s time for the follow-up, Cravings: Hungry for More (out September 18), which she calls “lighter, brighter, and quicker,” though she adds that there are still OG Chrissy recipes. Just think fewer steps, fewer ingredients, and slightly less ambitious instructions. (Chrissy can’t believe she told people to make their own tortilla chips in the original book.)
But it hasn’t been all sunshine and iconic GIF creations. In 2017, Chrissy went public about her severe postpartum depression. “After Luna, I was drinking too much,” she recalls. “I wasn’t eating as much because I was full from drinking. I wasn’t being good to my body. I remember being so bruised from nothing.” Writing another cookbook while feeling this way, she remembers, was “torturous.”
Drifting back to normal after she started taking an antidepressant, she and Legend decided to go on a wellness retreat at COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali. It was there, Chrissy says, that she felt a shift in her whole perspective. “It’s like, what could be more important than mental health? What’s more important than being proud of yourself and doing the best you can for your body?”
This time around, Chrissy wanted to create a cookbook that reflected her new lifestyle. “Two kids in, you can’t eat the way you used to. I changed, so the book had to change. With the first book, I wanted to get people out of the headspace of a 15-minute meal with less than five ingredients. Now I identify more with the people who don’t have time for that shit,” she says, laughing.
As someone who is traditionally more of a strict recipe person, Chrissy has begun to take cues from the more flexible way her mom cooks. Her goal is to empower people to have fun: “Giving people balls is one of the most important factors in this cookbook. You can take risks and still use the flavors that you love, and most of the time, it’s gonna turn out pretty well.”
Having a baby changed the way Chrissy looked at her body (and her sex life)
As we talk, Chrissy has dropped the shoulder of her dress to feed Miles. “With your second, you just, like, pop ’em on. I look at my boobs and I’m like, What the heck happened? They face outwards now. They’re like giant disks. I don’t even know how to hide them. I forget that people are still like, ‘Whoa!’ And I don’t mean to shove my boob in their faces.”
At that, Miles opens his eyes as if to say: Well, I’m cool with it. “Hi, are you feeding yourself?” she coos. “Good job.”
In fact, Chrissy’s diet right now is mostly centered on producing milk. Breakfast is a hearty, savory oat “lactation porridge” with mushrooms and a poached egg, developed by the family’s chef, Paul Barbosa. Then she has a late lunch, around 3 p.m., of a coconut-chicken curry or red meat “with some kind of chewy fat,” or avocado toast with prosciutto, red onion, tomatoes, and chili flakes on Dave’s Killer Bread. She sips bone broth throughout the day, which gives her extra energy and helps her stay full between meals.
Dinner is late and lean, something like Cajun salmon with spinach. Chrissy says she has to go to bed full, while watching TV, or she’ll have nightmares. She knows her routine isn’t the healthiest, but it’s healthy for her, and that’s what matters.
Chrissy is all about honesty and balance. And it’s upsetting to her when people—especially those she knows—create unrealistic expectations for their fans, touting diet teas, serums, and exercise fads. “I know they’re Facetuning, Photoshopping—and even I’m getting down on myself!” she says, frustrated. “Imagine the girl who’s out there scrolling and feeling like she isn’t good enough.”
She spent her formative modeling years in bathing suits, surrounded by women with pre-airbrushed flaws. During one of her first shoots for Victoria’s Secret, supermodel Candice Swanepoel was on set and Chrissy got busted staring at her. “I had never seen such a beautiful woman in my entire life. I was like, ‘You’re gonna tell me that you eat pizza every day and never work out.’ And she said, ‘Oh, fuck no. I work hard for this.’ That was so important to hear.”
Now that the new mom has a fresh perspective on healthy body image, she’s eager to start moving. She was just cleared to exercise—and have sex—again. And she’s ready to ease back into both. “It doesn’t matter who you are—even if you’re a sexy R&B crooner or an ex–swimsuit model, you’re just tired! We still have that passion for each other, but are we doing it randomly in a dressing room? No!” she says with a laugh. “We’ll get back into it again. But it is funny: If he performs somewhere, and I go, I’m like, ‘Oh, he’s sexy.’ We’ll probably have sex that night.”
Cardio isn’t really Chrissy’s thing
A self-described “slight cardio hater,” she works out four days a week at Body By Simone, a celeb-fave studio in L.A. run by former dancer Simone De La Rue, and does Pilates. “Chrissy is a pro at jumping rope,” says Simone, who uses it as Chrissy’s warm-up and sprinkles it throughout the session in 60-second intervals. They’ll rotate between weighted squats and booty lifts on the BOSU ball, and standing on Simone’s custom CLX resistance band for an overhead press.
And though Chrissy has to drag herself to the gym, she’s pretty proud of one particular talent: planking. “Sometimes I think I’m the weakest person, but I can plank for 20 minutes,” she says. “I’ve always had a really strong core, but it’s truly in the core of my body. Like, the stuff that’s on the outside”—she laughs—“kinda gummy, but the stuff that’s on the inside: strong.”
Focusing on the inside is new for Chrissy. She was thrilled when Serena Williams noted that, despite the ubiquitous adage, not everyone loses tons of weight due to breastfeeding. “I haven’t found that at all,” says Chrissy. “It’s not the same for everybody.” She admits the changes to her body can be frustrating, but she’s learned to appreciate her new normal.
“Honestly, I don’t ever have to be in a swimsuit again,” she says with confidence. “Since I was 20 years old, I had this weight in my mind that I am, or that I’m supposed to be. I’ve been so used to that number for 10 years now. And then I started realizing it was a swimsuit-model weight. There’s a very big difference between wanting to be that kind of fit and wanting to be happy-fit.”
Don’t underestimate Chrissy Teigen
But embracing all of these changes doesn’t mean Chrissy has her life all planned out. Recently, she spoke at the immigration march in L.A. She was none too pleased that the chyron on TV identified her as “Chrissy Teigen, Model,” and many fans asked her what she would have preferred. “I never wanted to be one of those people where you didn’t know their job,” she says, recalling a time when she was on an airplane and her seatmate asked her what she did for a living. “I made something up because I just couldn’t say ‘model.’ Some people hear ‘model’ and underestimate your abilities.”
Chrissy thinks about it again but ultimately doesn’t provide an answer. This model, best-selling author, activist, mom, and icon is perfectly happy just being Chrissy.