Chrissy Teigen is sitting on a plush chair, in a pea green room, in a brightly lit suite at the Gramercy Park Hotel, overlooking lower Manhattan. The room’s adorned with oversized hamburger pillows, french fry blankets, and neat stacks of McBiscuit sandwiches.
“That,” says Teigen, “is actually a McDunker.” She points to a small plastic device. “You put the sauce in the bottom, and it dunks your nuggets on its own.”
The entire thinga press junket for McDelivery, a partnership between McDonald’s and Uberfeels like a distinctly 2017 fever dream, as conceived by a millennial Salvador Dali, staffed at some ad agency as a “Creative.”Already for the promotion, Teigen’s and visited a McDonald’s in Manhattan. Now she’s sitting here, talking about McSwag.
Teigen says she genuinely, really, really, really loves McDonald’s. When asked how she got involved with McDelivery, she explains: “I think [McDonald’s] saw me. I was wearing a Big Mac pajama set that was just randomly sent to me, and I think I put that on my social media.”
“They know that Im an obvious fan too. Theres a lot of McDonalds in my life,” Teigen continues.
It’s true. Teigen actually had a McDonald’s-catered baby shower (hosted by Kim Kardashian). It’s why the McDonald’s promotion, despite being an “#ad” (as Teigen labeled a recent Instagram post) and absurdist praise of the McDonalds products (“This white hoodie is my favorite because it keeps your sandwich warm in its little pocket.”) ultimately feels like an extension of something Teigen would be doing, anyway.
And maybe that’s genuinely the secret to Chrissy Teigen’s sauce: Whether she’s helping McDonald’s promote their brand, or reacting in horror at the Oscars, Chrissy Teigen is herself. At all times.
Especially on the internet.
The Unified Chaos Theory of Chrissy Teigen’s Digital Persona
If you try to get Chrissy Teigen to describe her online persona, well: She can’t.
“I dont know. Mine’s so different at all times,” she said. “Im so moody with it.”
But for her, that’s also kind of the point. Rather than promote a manicured online presence, Teigen says she’s kind of just thrown everything at the proverbial social media wall.
“You kind of have to come out the gate really showing different sides of your personality … and people start to realize that thats just you and they start to accept you.”
“It didn’t start out being easy to say whatever you wanted [on the internet], because some people, they just dont know you,” explains Teigen. “You kind of have to come out the gate really showing different sides of your personality, and people start to, years later, get used to the fact that youre going to be politically involved, youre going to livetweet [Real] Housewives a lot, youre going to talk about food. And people start to realize: thats just you. And they start to accept you.”
And it’s worked. If nothing else, Teigen cultivated a reputation for being “real,” which is to say, as that rare celebrity who might actually think what we think, say what we’d say, and do what we’d do.
Realness comes at a premium. It’s why she made Time‘s 2017 list of the most influential people on the internet.
“[My tweets] just depend on whats happening in the world, and what mood Im in, and if Im feeling cheeky or not,” says Teigen. “Sometimes I have to stop because Im like, ‘Im in a bad mood. I shouldnt tweet right now.’ Some days Im like, I wouldnt tweet this normally … John [Legend] is usually like, ‘if you want to say it, then just say it.’
(Don’t) do it for the ‘gram
Given her devotion to authenticity, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that if there’s one Internet trend that Teigen hates, it’s novelty Instagram food.
“I just dont get it,” exclaims Teigen. “Whenever I see something that I feel like people are just doing for Instagram, that frustrates me.”
And Teigen feels no need to hold that frustration back.
In July, Teigen sparked the ire of the internet after she blasted rose shaped ice cream.
Teigen says she feels bad how the tweet was interpreted. “I felt really bad about it. I didnt mean to tear the shop down as an establishment. I very simply said ‘no, I dont like this.'”
That said, she still stands by her original take.
“Whenever I see something that I feel like people are just doing for Instagram, that frustrates me.”
“Listen, this ice cream might be fantastic, but Im not going to sit there and watch you form it into a rose just so I can eat it.”
And it’s not just rose ice cream that Teigen opposesreally, it’s anything people are doing just for Instagram.
“I think this stuff’s getting too silly, too over the top, I just saw this stupid cotton candy burrito thing. And Im like, that is not a burrito, thats just a ton of shit in not even a tortilla. And then there is a rainbow pizza. What is the point?! Eat your pizza. Also, were adults! Whats with the rainbow thing?“
The Chrissy Teigen Guide to Proper Clapbacks
Teigen’s ability to shade anything and everything on the internet is nothing if not a trademark of hers. For example, she’s changed her Twitter bio to “high-quality person” to troll Donald Trump Jr., she roasted Fox News for talking about her, and she’s teases her husband John Legend for looking like classic kids’ cartoon anteater, Arthur.
[A good clapback] takes a little bit of research, advises Teigen.
To hear it from Teigen, there’s one secret ingredient for any epic clapback: facts.[A good clapback] takes a little bit of research, she advises. I like to do a bit of investigation work into the profiles [of people who come for me], because I think its important to have facts. Or to see how ‘perfect’ they are. Thats a bit of enjoyment of mine.”
Last week, Teigen tweeted that she had been blocked by Donald Trump, after years of hating the president.
For Teigen, the block’s a trophy. Of sorts.
“It’s an exclusive club,” says Teigen. “My thing was: I never followed him in the first place. I just I think its funny. Theres a button that [people who have been blocked by Trump] all get and it says ‘blocked by Trump.’ Its exciting.”
As for the block itself, Teigen’s got a point. Of all the the things she’s tweeted about Donald Trumpincluding but not limited to things like “Grow. The Fuck. Up” or “You are so insane that I pray I am in a sim played by aliens“it’s interesting that it was a mundane “lol no one likes you” that got Teigen banned.
Nobody can be sure why this tweet was the straw that broke the camels back, but it perfectly aligns with the one lesson Teigen’s insistent upon, again and again: we’re our most powerful selves on the internet when we’re just being, well, ourselves.
After our interview was finished, a friend who heard about the interview with Teigen immediately fired over a Facebook comment to ask: “Was she as amazing in real life as she is online?” The answer, of course, is Teigen’s great nonsecret, and possibly the secret to her success as a Beloved Person in Pop Culture, In This Moment: She’s exactly like her online presence. Nothing more, and definitely nothing less.