How Chrissy Teigen Went from Swimsuit Model to Social Media Influencer

Chrissy Teigen wears many hats – wife, mother, model, author, TV host – to name a few. But fans love Teigen most for her authenticity, and wicked sense of humor, on social media. With 24.2 million followers on Instgram and 11.2 million on Twitter, she is a commanding force on our favorite platforms. So how did the former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model become such a social media maven?

Chrissy Teigen | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Hulu

Teigen is relatable

Adjectives that pop up when Teigen’s name is mentioned often include real, relatable, accessible, honest. “People love Chrissy Teigen because she’s real,” said Rosa Heyman, social media editor for Marie Claire as reported in Bustle. “Whereas some celebrities appoint themselves to an untouchable status, Chrissy Teigen seems like a friend.”

According to a 2018 article in Medium, Teigen possesses all seven qualities of a true social media influencer, including being seen as relatable, posting photos that are seen as realistic and truthful, and being very interactive with her followers. An example of this is when Teigen posted a picture of some of her stretch marks on her inner thigh, simply captioned “Whatevs.” It resulted in a slew of applauding responses, and others posted their own “real” pics.


Teigen’s twitter account started growing in 2014, according to Bustle, where she would post classics such as, “I always have a note in my pocket that says “john did it” just in case I’m murdered because I don’t want him to remarry #truelove #tips.” Her humorous posts started to become sought out with a growing fan base that soared into the millions. Once the nation’s political climate turned tumultuous in 2016, Teigen didn’t hold back her opinions or concerns, often with some hilarious commentary. The amount of followers continued to soar and Teigen didn’t disappoint with her delicious content.

‘Rookie of the Year’

Teigen was born in Delta, Utah in 1985, according to the Independent. Her parents frequently moved throughout her childhood, living in Hawaii, Idaho, and Washington before finally putting down roots in California when Teigen was a teenager.

Teigen was discovered by a photographer while working at a surf shop in California, who took some spontaneous photos of her and brought them to a modeling agency as reported by the Independent. Teigen’s modeling career took off, going on the game show Deal or No Deal and modeling for brands such as Nike and Gillette. In 2010, Teigen was named “Rookie of the Year” by Sports Illustrated, appearing in their legendary swimsuit issue. She went on to model for Vogue, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan.

Teigen took her career in stride. According to a 2014 article in the Daily Beast, she told Seth Meyers in an interview that she didn’t place a great emphasis on modeling. “I am paid a good amount of money to not blink for 12 hours,” she explained. “Listen, you get to travel, meet a lot of people, it’s fun, but I don’t take it very seriously, no.”

One of Time’s 100 most influential people

This year, Teigen was on the list of Time’s “The 100 Most Influential People,” an honor recognized around the world. Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin, wrote in the article, “What I love most about Chrissy Teigen is that she’s very much herself. She may be glamorous and an icon in elegance, but she’s extremely approachable and warm.”

Part of being a social media influencer is dealing with the haters, which Teigen handles like a pro. According to Women’s Health,Teigen received plenty of criticism for making Time’s esteemed list, even including comments on social media about her weight and saying her cheeks looked “unnatural.” Without missing a beat, Teigen simply responded with a tweet saying, “I didn’t fill my cheeks. I, too, think they are too large but I’m gonna be super hot when I’m 80.” 

One thing Teigen is clear about is not to mess with her family. Married to singer John Legend since 2013 and mother to daughter Luna, 3, and son Miles, 1, Teigen has no problem clapping back on anyone giving unwanted negative feedback about her loved ones. Most recently, People reported a user commenting on Teigen’s Instagram video of Luna with her hair in a ponytail, saying, “Finally someone brushed her hair.” Teigen’s reply? “All by herself! Maybe she can come do your makeup.”

No wonder why Teigen is a fan favorite!