Photo: @chrissyteigen

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Chrissy Teigen just wants to shop for groceries in peace

Sure, now you know someone in the Teigen/Legend household eats Cap’n Crunch – but what’s the big deal?

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By Lily Peschardt on

The idea of fame is so alluring: a life of red carpets and ball gowns and being able to drop the phrase “my friend, Meryl” into conversation. But the reality of fame is markedly less so. The reality of fame is that sometimes the paparazzi follow you into the supermarket to take pictures of you buying groceries.

Or, they do if you’re Chrissy Teigen. Last week, the most beloved woman on the internet posted a picture of her and her daughter, Luna, at the supermarket. The picture is grainy – implying it’s been taken from some distance – and in it, Teigen is placing a packet of cereal into an overflowing grocery cart, while Luna plays with a cucumber.

As photographs of celebrities go, it’s entirely unremarkable. There isn’t a whisper of illicitness, of impropriety, of nudity. It is, in fact, a photograph of a heavily pregnant woman and her child doing their weekly shop.

But, for some unknown reason, someone, somewhere, thought this moment was worth capturing and selling on to a tabloid. Until she found herself in one of these photographs Teigen, like most of us, had assumed that there was an ulterior motive behind these sorts of shot. That they were staged trips to the grocery store, so a celebrity could pluck something off the shelf, be photographed with it in their trolley and make a quick buck.

“I used to assume people who got photographed in grocery stores weren’t really buying stuff they like and were getting paid for something but turns out the paps actually come inside the grocery store and capture your most intimate grocery cart items this is a travesty #TOOINTIMATE#KEEPCARTSPRIVATE #SACREDSPACE,” she wrote on Instagram.

There’s something so incredibly voyeuristic about these photographs. They give a misguided air of intimacy because, suddenly, you know that if you were to open the fridge in Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s house you’d find eggs and apples and a cucumber

The comments underneath her Instagram post are full of people talking about how nice it is to see her doing something “so normal” with her daughter. As if this “Mum in the supermarket” thing isn’t her real life but, rather, just the latest role she’s been cast in by the marketing department of some flailing cereal brand. There are other commenters keen to point out what they see as the hypocrisy of Teigen’s post, as one delightful person put it, “Ow this is a sacred place is it but your body wasn’t in your last post grow up”. But what this sort of statement completely fails to take into account is the element of choice. Teigen is free to give away whatever information she likes about herself, whether it’s photographs of her body or tweets about her marital feuds over iPhone chargers. There is a difference between the information you choose to give away, and the information that other people choose to take away from you without your consent.

To be honest, I thought these photographs died out along with side-fringes and wearing Daisy perfume, but it’s easy to see why they still exist – there’s something so incredibly voyeuristic about these photographs. They give a misguided air of intimacy because, suddenly, you know that if you were to open the fridge in Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s house you’d find eggs and apples and a cucumber. It doesn’t matter that you could probably find these things in 90 per cent of fridges across the world, it doesn’t matter that you could probably find at least one of those three things in your own fridge – it matters because you now have a little nugget of knowledge about their lives that you didn’t have before.

But privacy is a zero-sum game – for every piece of information we gain about a celebrity’s private life, they lose a piece. And, sure, we can comfort ourselves by saying that this is part of the Faustian pact they made the minute they stepped into Hollywood. That in return for the money and the fame and exchanging Christmas cards with Meryl Streep, they gave up their right to complain about being papped when they go to the supermarket.

But Chrissy Teigen is prolific on Twitter and Instagram. She regularly gives interviews. She’s recently written a recipe book filled with photos of her family and recipes of her cooking. Surely, Chrissy Teigen is giving up enough of her private life to satisfy the deal she made with the devil. Surely, we can let her go to the supermarket in peace. 

@LilyPesch

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Photo: @chrissyteigen
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