Chrissy Teigen may have started out as a swimsuit model for Sports Illustrated, but she’s built her own food and lifestyle empire: Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings spans cookbooks, social media content and cookware. Teigen’s successful foray into the world of homewares drew a lot of attention, but not all of it was positive — particularly when it comes to food influencer Alison Roman.
In 2020, the popular chef and New York Times columnist slammed Teigen’s rise during an interview with The New Consumer, saying: “[Teigen] had a successful cookbook. And then it was boom, line at Target. Boom, now she has an Instagram page with over a million followers where just people run a content farm for her. It scares me and it’s not something I ever want to do. I’m not aiming for that.”
In the same interview, Roman also criticized Tokyo-born organizational expert Marie Kondo, best known for her “Konmari” system, and her decision to sell goods. “Like the idea that when Marie Kondo decided to capitalize on her fame and make stuff you can buy that’s totally contrary to anything she’s ever taught you, I think d*** bi* **, you f**king just sold out immediately!”
Roman’s harsh comment ricocheted on social media, drawing the ire of Teigen (and Kondo) fans and eventually leading to serious professional and personal repercussions.
Chrissy Teigen reacts to Alison Roman
Chrissy Teigen didn’t take time to reply to Roman, but instead of her signature sneer, the Cravings writer took a more heartfelt approach. “It’s a big disappointment and it hit me hard. I’ve been making her recipes for years, buying the cookbooks, supporting her on social media and praising her in interviews,” she wrote in a now-deleted series of tweets. “I really loved everything about Alison. Was jealous that she got a book with food on the cover instead of a face!! I’ve made countless NYT recipes that she created and posted along the way.” Teigen continued that her “Cravings” website is her baby that she and her team “love to pump content into” and that “it hurts being called a sellout,” via Page Six.
Following Teigen’s response, Roman was accused of being racist (via Cheatsheet). Food journalist Michelle da Silva tweetedAlison Roman singles out Marie Kondo/Chrissy Teigen as a sellout but is comfortable with white women capitalizing on lifestyle content and asks ‘does the world need another Goop?’ when considering her own brand. Says a lot about who she thinks is, allowed to build global empires.”
Meanwhile, Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay tweeted (via Insider): “I like Alison Roman’s recipes. I really like Chrissy Teigen and her various ventures. This interview contained some horrible attitudes. It’s lousy that women of color were the target of their contempt when this is a space dominated by white women. I mean come on
Alison Roman’s apology falls flat
Initially, Alison Roman persisted in her criticism of Chrissy Teigen, even amid the backlash. Finally, she apologized to Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo in a public statement, saying, “I would like to officially apologize to Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo. I have used their names in a derogatory way to distinguish myself, for which I have absolutely no excuse. It was stupid, careless and insensitive.” The Staying In writer added, “Among the many uncomfortable things I’ve begun to process is knowing that my comments were rooted in my own insecurities.” Later in In the statement, Roman acknowledged her white privilege and said she was ashamed for contributing to a culture that “persecutes women of color.” (via Page Six).
Ultimately, Teigen accepted Roman’s apology. “Thanks for that, @alisonroman‘ she tweeted. “To be clear, it never occurred to me to apologize for what you really thought! The comments hurt, but they hurt even more because they came from you! It wasn’t my usual news story from some random person who hates everything about me!”
Roman’s apology may have come too late for some, and the dusting has been the subject of media talk for weeks, according to The New Yorker. Soon after, Roman parted ways with the New York Times. “Alison has made the decision to leave The Times and we are very grateful to her for her work with us,” a spokesman told Page Six.