Practically ready to walk down the aisle again on a warm Los Angeles day in February. Her hair was perfect, and the train of her floral gown floated ethereally in the wind. But most important, the love – or, rather, loves – of her life had just appeared. “Come on, we’re getting married!” Teigen playfully exclaimed to her 5-year-old daughter Luna and 2-year-old son Miles on the set of WHO’s sister publication People magazine’s cover shoot. Humming the chords of ‘Here Comes the Bride’, Teigen – who had arrived to set earlier that day with her mum, Vilailuck “Pepper” Teigen – beamed as adoring squeals of “Mummy! Mummy!” swirled around her.
She may not have actually renewed her vows – the wedding march was just a ploy to get the kids excited – but her bond with her family is stronger than ever. During a year in which the Cravings author, 35, and her husband, John Legend, 42, faced unthinkable heartbreak following the loss of their son Jack at 20 weeks of pregnancy, Teigen found hope and strength, she says, through such joyful moments with her brood. “Miles brings so much energy into our house, and Luna is just such a positive, amazing force,” says Teigen, who helped others feel less alone by courageously sharing her loss on social media. “What we get to experience with them is so, so wonderful, and I can’t imagine a life without them.” After sending Miles and Luna off to nap time with hugs and kisses, Teigen reflected on lasting love, finding confidence – and her hopes and dreams for her children’s future.
What was your reaction when you heard you were going to be on the cover of People?
Oh my God. I’m, like, in it? On it? It’s definitely a shock and an honour. I’m already making a spot in my office for [the] cover. This is huge!
How has your definition of beauty evolved?
It’s really, really nice to be able to come to an age where I can appreciate every little scar and see my body as something that’s done incredible, miraculous things. The difference is these two beautiful, wonderful babies, and these scars are the things I’ve been through and the journeys I’ve healed from. When I look in the mirror, I’m so proud of who I’ve become. And I’m happy that John’s happy, too! [Laughs.]
You stuck to a strict diet during your modelling days. Do you feel different about wellness now?
I’ve had ups and downs with dieting and diet culture. At this point, if it’s going to make me happy and make me feel good, then I indulge in it. I’ve spent way too many years counting calories and scheduling way too many workouts and trying to figure out what “wellness” meant to me. Now I know that it’s on the ground playing with my kids or going to an aquarium or a park.
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re in need of a little self-care?
Luna has a love of doing nails, so I love doing our nails together. I love taking baths with my kids. Me, Luna and Miles in the bathtub with Cars 2 lately is what we’re doing. I love a good chiropractor. I love a good neck crack. [Laughs.]
Your mum is Thai and your dad is American. Did you ever face racism growing up?
I grew up in a predominantly white area about 45 minutes north of Seattle. I didn’t experience casual forms of racism, but it’s the big moments that stood out to me – and I was fiercely defended by white or Black friends. It would be the silliest, dumbest things, like someone saying, “Go eat a bowl of rice.” But it would escalate because I had protectors around me, and I remember friends getting suspended for defending me.
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