There's no way that a cold, wet and snowy winter night would stop Vince, Elle magazine and a bunch of adorable teenage girls from the Step Up non-profit from packing the fashion label's Madison Avenue boutique for the chance to hang with Chrissy Teigen. Last night, the all-ages event introduced Vince's first handbag collection and a portion of the evening's sales were donated to Step Up, which helps girls from under-resourced communities to go to college and start successful careers. Plus, Teigen was on board with boosting morale for the evening — chatting, joking around and taking selfies with the kids.
The otherwise miserable weather also did not at all hinder the former Sports Illustrated model's innate talent for looking totally flawless (and ridiculously hot) in a Vince wine-hued shift dress and over-the-knee boots. How does she do it? "I don't go outside!" the super friendly Teigen told me after a giving me a warm hug (#blessed) and inviting me to relax on the couch for a chat. It's no surprise that the TV host would be out to support an event with a mission — Teigen and her husband singer/actor John Legend have been known to get involved in causes that matter to them. This past Sunday, in coordination with Operation Help or Hush, the couple hired food trucks to feed 3,000 activists in Union Square following the announcement of the Eric Garner decision in New York City. Teigen follows the organization's co-founder Charles Wade on Twitter and was inspired by the group's work supporting activists in the wake of the Ferguson decision.
"I just remember [Operation Help or Hush] threw a Sunday dinner in Ferguson, which was very inspiring because it was bringing together the community to actually talk about the next plan," she said. "It's all about next steps and what they can do to rebuild, what they can do to bring some kind of camaraderie to the community. So they did this Sunday dinner in Ferguson. And me being a person who food is obviously very close to my heart — and to be able to hold something where you could bring people together through a good meal — was just an idea that I randomly had."
Wanting to bring Sunday dinners to New York City, Teigen originally thought of inviting all the marchers to her own home (wow, big apartment), but decided that that would take them out of the atmosphere. Hence, food trucks. "I found a website with all the food trucks in the area and I gotta say, they could not have been more supportive and more down," she said. "I was afraid that maybe [food truck owners] didn't want to take a stance — obviously it can be a controversial topic for many — but I have to say everybody involved was like, 'Absolutely!'"
One cool thing about Teigen — and following her on social media — is her fearlessness in taking a stand and sharing her beliefs and opinions, even if not everyone agrees. Although, last October, when she tweeted her thoughts on the state of gun control in U.S. (exact words: "active shooting in Canada, or as we call it in america, wednesday. That's not a joke. It is a fact. ... I've lost faith in this world. Sorry if it comes off as being unemotional. There is just so much bad"), the opposition was swift and harsh.
"There are certain things where you mess up and don't say things in the quite the most... I'm a lot of things. I've never been known to be very eloquent. I've always been very true to my beliefs," she said. "There are certain things that I say wrong. There are certain things that I say with passion and conviction and they maybe don't come out the right way and I think that's very human."
"It's important to take a stand," she adds. "But it's also important to know when you're gonna get some shit." But the backlash was severe enough for Teigen to quit Twitter, which only lasted for eight days — much to the relief of her 564K followers. (Although, her return to Twitter might have just been an Instagram linking quirk, but whatever, it's good to have her back.)
"It's not fun when one tweet gets pulled into a headline and that gets pulled by different news outlets. That's when it gets exhausting," she said. "I came back [to Twitter] because I never planned on leaving. I will never be threatened or scared by people. If anything I just get exhausted and I can't mentally take it anymore. I don't want to see my discussion on gun control turned into me being called a whore."
Teigen does credit Twitter for regulating really inappropriate responses from her challengers, even if they were posting her home address. But "I'm never, never scared and I never back down," she declared. "Apologies from me, I don't do apologies."
So I had to get her opinion on a much-discussed, divisive topic for the gross snowy evening. Team Snowbrella, yay or nay? (You know, when people carry umbrellas when it's snowing, not raining, out.)
"Okay, I'm just against umbrellas in general, honestly, especially in New York City," she said. "No one gives a shit about their umbrellas out here. What happened to the raising of the umbrella? What happened to the kind good-hearted [gesture]? I'm absolutely against it. I'm against snow, rain, everything umbrellas."