Chrissy Teigen says she faced racism growing up

"I was fiercely defended by white or Black friends," she said.

April 1, 2021, 10:45 AM

Chrissy Teigen is reflecting on how racism she says she faced growing up had an impact on her upbringing and career.

In People's "The Beautiful Issue," the 35-year-old discussed hateful comments she says she faced during her childhood and how some of her peers responded to them.

"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," she said, according to a press release.

"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," she continued.

She said that racism also impacted her entrance into the fashion industry.

"I experienced more everyday casual racism once I entered the modeling world," she continued. "When they needed someone racially ambiguous—that’s what they called it—that was always going to be me..."

As she's grown, the model says her idea of beauty has evolved, and she now sees the concept as "being able to see how powerful your body is."

"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," she said. "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."

In the issue, Teigen also discusses Thai traditions and the heartbreaking tragedy she and her husband, John Legend, faced when they lost their son, Jack, at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The "Cravings" cookbook author graces the cover of the issue with her children, 4-year-old daughter Luna and 2-year-old son Miles.

"The Beautiful Issue" also features other celebrities including Zendaya, Lily Colins and Jennifer Lopez. The special double issue hits newsstand on Friday, April 2.