Chrissy Teigen responds to accusation of being a 'sell-out' with a 'content farm' in Twitter spat with food writer Alison Roman

Chrissy Teigen responds to accusation of being a 'sell-out' with a 'content farm' in Twitter spat with food writer Alison Roman

In the world of celebrities, there are lots and lots of very rich and famous people who could stand to be taken down a few notches with some cutting words from a peer.

We won't name names but rest assured that there is a long list of such people we would gladly see roasted for all they're worth.

But if there's one person who really won't be on most people's list, it's Chrissy Teigen.

The former model has managed to ingratiate herself to celebrity-sceptics the world over with her just-relatable-enough social media presence and kind of yes-we-know-we're-cheesy-but-so-what public vibe with her husband John Legend (who can forget her iconic response to him winning the Sexiest Man Alive accolade, and the subsequent vintage Idris Elba picture we were all treated to – and her final mic drop?)

There's no doubt that Teigen has achieved a lot: She's been a model, a TV presenter, a fashion designer and could win an award for her best Trump clapbacks on Twitter.

But in recent years she's focussed more on the cooking aspect of her career. Her 2016 cookbook Cravings, became a New York Times bestseller (according to Publishers Weekly, it was the second-best selling cookbook of the year). She followed it up with another book, Cravings: Hungry For More, in 2018, when she also launched a line of cookware in Target.

Basically, she's doing a lot. And that's without even mentioning Chrissy's Court, the bizarre courtroom satire (we assume) in which she pretends to be an actual judge and lives out the fantasies of anyone who grew up on a diet of back-to-back Judge Judy and always has an opinion on everyone else's drama.

Anyway, we can see why she would have been upset when Alison Roman, a food columnist for The New York Times and Bon Appetit among others, used an interview about her own career to inexplicably slam Teigen's.

The interview was with a publication called The New Consumer, and it started when she spoke about her upcoming collaboration with cookware company Material. Basically, she's designed a collection, and she really really wants you to know it's not like other celebrity food writers' collections.

She said:

Like, what Chrissy Teigen has done is so crazy to me. She had a successful cookbook. And then it was like: Boom, line at Target. Boom, now she has an Instagram page that has over a million followers where it’s just, like, people running a content farm for her. That horrifies me and it’s not something that I ever want to do. I don’t aspire to that.

She goes on to say that Teigen has made "a ton of money" but she's "more interested in expanding myself as a writer" (apparently her next book is going to be narrative nonfiction which... OK).

Even more bizarrely, she went in on Marie Kondo, who isn't even in the food industry, saying:

Like the idea that when Marie Kondo decided to capitalise on her fame and make stuff that you can buy, that is completely antithetical to everything she’s ever taught you… I’m like, damn, bitch, you f***ing just sold out immediately! Someone’s like 'you should make stuff,' and she’s like, 'okay, slap my name on it, I don’t give a sh*t!'

The whole thing is pretty unnecessarily scathing, and of course the famously loyal Teigen stans came to her defence. But not everyone was on her side.

It was at this point that the whole debacle got seriously weird, with Roman – who is the queen of recipes that go viral and built her brand based largely off her Instagram following – seemed to lose all understanding of social media and completely misread the room, sending a series of tweets in which she appears to be painting herself as the victim of the whole debacle.

Last night, she posted:

Which, yes, agreed women should be allowed to speak freely about money and business without being immediately hounded... yet it was Roman that went to a magazine to slam Teigen and Kondo's careers, right? We didn't make this up, this actually happened, didn't it? Yes. Yes, it did.

She continued:

And finally:

OK we want to clarify too. She WAS coming for Teigen and Kondo (even if that wasn't her explicitly intention, it's what ended up happening) and her business DOES include a product line in collaboration with Material, as is clearly stated in the piece, even if it is a "capsule" line or some such branding buzzword which technically differenciates it.

This is where Teigen herself jumped in, and posted a series of tweets which should be taught in masterclasses in how to diffuse a Twitter storm while coming out looking like the bigger person.

"Cravings" is Teigen's food-based Instagram which Roman was presumably referring to. It has 1.2 million followers compared to her personal one which has 30 million. A quick glance at both pages will show that if they're a "content farm" they're the most authentic looking one out there.

Neither page seems to have a strict aesthetic or colour palette she focuses on, and mixes more staged shots with candid ones of her and her family, or just... holding a boiled egg. It's worth noting because the accounts Roman is referring to do exist in the food and lifestyle influencer industrial complex, it's just that she named the wrong one.

Anyway back to Teigen:

She also used the thread to stick up for Roman's other target: Marie Kondo:

And ended it in the best possible way:

It seems Roman finally got the message, because she quickly sent out a two-tweet apology:

It didn't really do the job though, and fans were still on Teigen's side, tweeting about how much Cravings had helped them through tough times and suggesting the apology might not have been genuine.

Some made the point that the two women Roman has singled out are women of colour, which is not a great look.

And others suggested that Teigen's reply wasn't quite as self-aware as it could have been.

In an ideal world, Roman will realise that she's not better than Teigen just because the products she creates are less accessible and she has fewer followers on Instagram, and they can kiss, make up, and film some sort of banging collab for Teigen's YouTube channel.

We really don't want to have to cancel Roman (the infamous cookies really are great) but she's on thin ice...

Perhaps she could take a leaf out of Teigen's book and direct her Twitter shade at someone more deserving instead.

The Conversation (0)