Chrissy Teigen quit Twitter on Wednesday, abandoning the platform that has served as her tether to her adoring public for the past decade. Teigen announced her departure via a small thread, which clarified her decision thus: “My desire to be liked and fear of pissing people off has made me somebody you didn’t sign up for, and a different human than I started out here as!” she wrote. “Live well, tweeters. Please know all I ever cared about was you!!!”
The tone of the tweets read like someone in need of a break. Teigen’s tendency to overshare—sometimes strategically, sometimes less so—created an aura of authenticity around her public personality that drew people in. Maintaining that kind of authenticity on a platform that harbors abuse and lacks any real, tangible filter is likely exhausting. After being cruelly dragged for sharing details about her recent miscarriage in October, one might imagine that an actual, solid break from time in the public eye would be necessary.
But Teigen is not simply somebody tweeting, but an entire brand, which explains her Instagram post clarifying her decision to leave Twitter.
The caption of the post clarifies that she didn’t leave Twitter specifically because of the bullying, but because the platform itself was no longer serving her in the way she needed. “It’s just me,” she writes. “I have to come to terms with the fact some people aren’t gonna like me.” Coming to this realization for anyone is powerful—a clarifying moment that allows for the bullshit we do for other people to fall to the wayside so that we might live our authentic selves. Armed with this new power, we might see Teigen live her life authentically in the public eye, free from the shackles of Twitter and the 13.7 million followers who crave her non-sequiturs. But something tells me that Teigen leaving Twitter will not be the end of her time playing around in the public eye, yet.
On Thursday, Teigen appeared on James Corden’s television program and revealed the many places she and her husband, John Legend, have had sex. These include a bathroom at the DNC, on an airplane (“not private!” she clarified), and in front of the juice bar at Fred Segal.
The segment during which she revealed this information is designed to get famous people to say stuff that is scandalous or otherwise outré, and so by dredging up these fun facts, she was fulfilling her part of the bargain. But these fun facts are also the kind of thing she’d normally tweet about, if she hadn’t exited the platform like a disgruntled internet commenter circa 2012. Following this thread to its natural conclusion, tweeting about having sex with Legend in a bathroom stall at the DNC is definitely “unfiltered,” but it would also create a firestorm of the sort that is both good for business but bad for the person who stands as the face of the business—Teigen herself. When you are your own product, it is important to have as much control over the narrative as you can. Twitter is designed to be freewheeling, abuse is rampant and the platform is a cacophony of the worst voices you can think of, gathered in one room, screaming into the void. When you’ve successfully leveraged the masses to elevate you to where you need to be, hopping off the train at the right station makes all the sense in the world. Teigen is a savvy businesswoman, and leaving Twitter was a smart business move.
Being off Twitter galvanizing Teigen’s brand, fortifying her against the “trolls” she claims to not care about, because she can simply appear on national television to talk about what she’d tweet about without it lingering online forever. Her fame is such now that she can sidestep the traditional channels lesser influences rely upon, and go straight to the big leagues. On Thursday, Teigen and Kris Jenner debuted Safely, a brand of natural home cleaning products, landing themselves on the front page of the New York Times Style section. Teigen never needed Twitter at all. It was always the other way around.