Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
She's a swimsuit model, television host, best-selling cookbook author, royal Clapback Queen, and master avocado peeler. And oh yeah, there's the kinda famous husband, too. Chrissy Teigen is a household name for being a woman who wears many (stylish) hats, and her latest is as spokesperson for coconut water brand Vita Coco, a fact that excited me both because I, too, am obsessed with the drink, but also for the potential of the tropical-themed photoshoots. (Remember the eye candy that was Rihanna's campaign for the brand back in 2011? Love.)
But another role is also, of course, as mom to her almost one-year-old daughter Luna. So during an exclusive interview with Refinery29 about her new Vita Coco campaign, Teigen and I also got to chatting about changing the conversation around motherhood and her advice for anyone dealing with postpartum depression. And yes, I got an update on the followup to her hit cookbook Cravings. (Hallelujah!) Read on for more.
You’re a big foodie and have been the face for a few brands. What made you see Vita Coco and say “sign me up?”
“I think whenever I sign onto a brand in general, I really want to actually love the product. So I'm pretty sure they saw a bunch my Snapchats of me using giant tubs of coconut oil on Luna's little bum-bum. I had made scrambled eggs with it and sprayed it on toast. In my mind, they had gotten the hint."
I love it, but a lot of people tell me that coconut water is an acquired taste. What are your tips for transforming a coconut water hater into a lover?
“Oh my god. I need to stay hydrated. Anything that can get me through the day is something that I carry in my purse at all times. I can only have so much plain water, I want to feel like I'm drinking something. And coconut water is full of electrolytes so it's great for so many different things, like honestly, a hangover! For me, that's a huge benefit. During that commercial, I think I had maybe four liters of coconut water. They were like, 'you can spit it out if you like.' And I was like 'No. No. I want to drink it!' We were out in this hot Miami sun, so it was delicious. And of course it's great when I have little Luna with me so I can stay hydrated and on my toes.”
We recently launched Mothership, where we're looking at motherhood as an if, not a when, for women. For people like me, who are on the fence about whether or not they want to have kids one day, it's so frustrating that most people assume everyone wants children...
"Well, first of all, I want to commend you in your decision to be open about maybe not having children at all. I think it's really commendable to even doubt the process out loud, because I don't feel like people should be pressured to have children. I'm sure that when you announce that fact to somebody, they're very quick to be like, 'Gasp! Why don't you want kids?' And I've never been that way with people, because I don't think any of us should assume all women's goals are to have kids. It's a choice!"
Thank you! I think it's an important conversation to have, too. So before you actually became a mom, was there anything that you were super nervous about that looking back, you're like, "Why was I so worried about that?"
"I didn't really have any fears in having a kid, just because I knew that I wanted one and we worked so hard to have her. But I have to say, even when we did the IVF process, and then actually conceived, I looked at John and was like, 'Oh my god, is this right? Were we just jumping into this?' And I will also say that a lot of the fear comes from other people; if I had listened to all of my friends, I would have been terrified of pregnancy. For me, pregnancy was so great. But then, you don't always want to share that with people, because the last thing somebody with a terrible pregnancy wants to hear is how much a good of a time you're having or how energetic you feel!
"I'm sure my next one is going to be the complete opposite of Luna. But everyone has their own experience. Luna is really the first baby I have ever been around. So you have to go through your own thing with it, and no matter what happens, no matter how uncomfortable or comfortable you get with a baby, remember that it all changes the next week. If you're feeling safe now, it's going to get a little crazier the next week. If you're feeling crazy now, it's going to get so much better the next week. It makes you prepared for anything."
My coworkers and I have been talking about this a lot. One of our greatest fears is that becoming a mom will force us to change who we are; that we'll lose ourselves. Do you feel that's happened to you in any way?
"You definitely do have to change. You just have to. But a lot of my friends and I joke whenever I go out, like 'Oh, here goes cool mom,' or if I ask for a braid in my hair, they're like 'Oh, you want to be cool mom again!' You naturally change because there's something else that consumes your mind at all times and I don't think you can help that, but you can still be cool! But, some people are lucky enough to have people around them who are able to help. Like, my mom lives with us. It's an incredible experience that I'm able to have, because I can maintain this balance of still having a life, and being a mother, and being a mother with a life, and my life being a mother. And even if you don't have a live-in mom, if you aren't afraid to lean on other people when you need it, I don't think you have to feel like you have to give everything up. But it does change you, and that's why I think you have to be completely ready."
Has there been a post-Luna moment where you found yourself doing something that you couldn't have imagined before becoming a mom?
"Maybe like five minutes ago, I took my nail up Luna's nose and scraped the most epic booger out you can ever imagine. And I put it in a paper towel and I kind of stared at it for a while, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is like a really amazing booger I got.' Like you get very excited for being able to clear out your kid's nose. I have this obsession with digging out her boogers with my pinky. I try to be as gentle as possible, but once I see it, I can't go to bed knowing it's in there. I need to get it out. I've honestly thought about putting my mouth around her nose and just sucking it out."
What a lovely image! Definitely pushing me a little away from the whole kids thing...
"It's so great! Luna's so great! I swear! I am just in love with her boogers!"
Ha! You also bravely shared your experience with postpartum depression this past year. Do you have any advice for any moms out there dealing with something similar — or anyone dealing with depression in general?
"Just know that there's a light on the other side. When I was in the midst of everything, I could never imagine myself on the other side of it. Now, I'm able to look at September, October, November, December, and shake my head at how dark and crazy of a period it was. Unfortunately you can only really do that when you're out of it. There's no other way to explain it. And there's no better feeling than being out of it. Of course, you have your good and bad days. I just had a bad day a couple days ago. But the bad days do not outweigh the good days anymore. Just when you think it's really really bad, it's going to get better. So hopefully, if you're going through something tough you can find some peace in knowing that."
You've already had a big year so far. What's next in 2017 for Chrissy Teigen? Can I finally get my hands on Cravings Part 2?
"Yes! I just started working on the cookbook again yesterday. As I talked about in my essay, I was going through a really dark time, so I had started the cookbook, and then I had to completely put it on pause, because it was a lot for me. So as of yesterday, I started doing really great, and I really got back into the mode of cooking. I've been emailing my editor and co-editor non-stop for the past two days making these recipes and brainstorming and I'm having so much fun. I'm really starting to feel like myself again. I'm going to try to knock out a bunch of recipes, go on tour with John and Luna, live on this tour bus, and then come back, do a few more recipes, shoot the cookbook, and then have it out for everybody by the beginning of next year.
"It's funny, I'm excited for the tour because John on tour is a lot less work than him in the studio. When he's writing, he's working a lot more. On tour, you do a two-hour show, and that's your commitment. So during the day, we get to go with Luna to aquariums, and we get to cruise, and I can tweet my followers and ask what they think the best restaurant in that city is. It's really fun. Lip Sync Battle also starts again in the fall. We just finished it and it's been so much fun. I feel like everything's coming together really well right now, so I'm feeling really good. I'm in a much better place!"
You can watch Teigen's hilarious new Vita Coco ad below.