Here's the Most Valuable Modeling Skill Chrissy Teigen Learned in School

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for New Profit Inc
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend at the Reimagine Learning launch

John Legend and Daymond John also share their unconventional classroom lessons at the launch of Reimagine Learning, an education initiative with WME/IMG and New Profit.

The most valuable body movement a model needs isn't a strong runway walk — it's a strong handshake, says Chrissy Teigen.

"The class that resonates with me most is my marketing class," she told The Hollywood Reporter while sipping champagne at the Top of the Standard in New York City on Tuesday night. "We actually did an entire class one day — a block period, so it was two hours — where we just shook each other's hands and learned the proper handshake with proper eye contact. And it was [random], but that's always stuck with me, and it's helped me so much. And every time I get a weak handshake, it still upsets me. When I get a weak one from a man, that's the worst!"

The model recounted her most unconventional classroom lesson as her husband, musician John Legend, announced the launch of Reimagine Learning, an education initiative supporting teachers nationwide as they create innovative learning practices and environments that further foster individual creativity and potential, especially in those who usually fall through the cracks of traditional school systems for whatever reasons — family background, access to resources and disability among them.

"What's the future classroom supposed to look like? How do we make the most of all our resources — not just technology, but teachers' creativity and students' creativity — and provide an experience that lets kids live up to their full potential?" Legend asked THR.

The collaborative initiative aligns Legend's LRNG movement (comprised of his Show Me Campaign, the MacArthur Foundation and the National Writing Project) with WME/IMG and philanthropy fund New Profit, plus nonprofit partners including Understood.org, MIT Media Lab, Peace First, Eye to Eye and Youthbuild USA.

"They have access to so many people who work in businesses where they're in front of the cameras a lot, so if we're able to harness that power and influence for the good of young people, I think that's a great thing," said Legend of pairing with WME and IMG, which also represent him, to publicize the initiative. "It's thinking about how to make [education] relevant to kids, how to make them passionate. The teachers are the ones who can do that, and we're trying to raise up the work they're doing so others can see it and hopefully replicate it."

While Legend's memorable classroom lessons include a history course that had students reenact courtroom cases and creative writing assignments commissioning original songs and plays, Daymond John — on hand for Understood.org, a resource for parents of children with learning and attention issues — most valued his time outside the classroom, when a business course in high school had him work as a foot messenger at First Boston Corporation.

"That was probably the changing point in my life — I was able to see a bigger world and see corporate executives in their real life. They shared a lot of information with me, and I realized a couple things: Some of them were brilliant, some of them were idiots, some of them were rich and miserable, and some of them were okay and happy as hell. To see the real world like that, at the impressionable age of 16, was eye-opening and amazing."

Throughout the evening, poet LeDerick Horne shared a rousing piece, and Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne shared four looks from their latest collection. Legend closed the program by performing his Waiting for Superman track, "Shine," leaving guests to explore the work of the initiative's nonprofits at various booths (including a technology that turns a handful of bananas into an electronic piano) while DJ Hannah Bronfman spun her tracks into the night.

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee

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