Model Chrissy Teigen, who appeared on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, is lashing out at fast fashion retailer Forever 21, saying that the company once fired her from a shoot because they deemed her “too fat.”
Teigen told DuJour magazine about the incident, which happened when she was young and just starting out (she didn’t specify the year). Her modeling agency called her while she was already in the makeup chair at the Forever 21 shoot. “They say, ‘You need to leave right now. They just said you are fat, and you need to come get your measurements taken,'” Teigen recounted, adding, “I hate you, Forever 21. I hate you so much. Honestly, you’re the worst.”
Forever 21, which launched a plus-size line in 2009, has not commented on Teigen’s allegations. However, she isn’t the first person to take the brand to task. Blogger Rachel Kane, whose satiric website WTForever21 was the target of an attempted (and ultimately unsuccessful) shutdown by the brand, says she isn’t surprised to hear Teigen’s story.
“Forever 21 has done an excellent job of leading the pack in cheap, on-trend merchandise. Where they fall short is how people feel about their brand,” Kane tells Yahoo Shine. “As long as you can wander into one of their multi-story locations jammed packed with discount rompers and walk out with a new look for date night under $30, nobody is going to care about one of their employees firing a young model and calling her fat. That’s the sad reality.”
This May, a Buzzfeed community blogger wrote a post expressing her disappointment with Forever 21’s plus-size offerings, saying that the patterns were tacky and unflattering and that they were limited to a very small section of the store.
The post got over 233,000 page views, with many commenters piping up about their own experiences. “I don’t understand why they can’t just make the exact same clothes in larger sizes. Why is that hard to understand?!” wrote one. “So many of these clothes are just retch-worthy, and why anyone would put a curvy woman into a blinding pattern, [thus] hiding all her curves, is beyond me,” said another.
Perhaps influenced by the Forever 21 firing, Teigen, who is married to singer John Legend and appears in his latest video for “You and I,” has been outspoken about body positivity. “The thing is, you don’t even want to be mad about someone calling you fat because who the f––– cares?” the 28-year-old said in an interview with People magazine earlier this year. “Like if somebody tells me, ‘Oh, you look curvier.’ That should not be a diss. The fact is, we live in a time where that is a diss.” She also addresses misconceptions about models and their eating habits. “People are still under the misguided impression that models don’t eat,” Teigen told the Huffington Post. “Not sure about the other girls but I do!”
And Teigen herself once unwittingly inspired a body-positivity campaign led by plus-sized models. Her Sports Illustrated cover, where she posed topless next to fellow models Nina Agdal and Lily Aldridge, was recreated by a group of plus-size models, including Robyn Lawley. Although Teigen didn’t comment on the pic, we have a feeling that she approved of the message.