Chrissy Teigen has become the subject of widespread internet backlash yet again––this time for hosting an over-the-top Squid Game-themed party, complete with hanging piggybanks filled with cash, green track suits, a maze staircase, and terrifying masked “guards” bearing cocktails. The prize for winning the evening’s games was a flight to Napa Valley and dinner at the luxe restaurant The French Laundry. Many were quick to call the party “tone-deaf” and “cringe.” Buzzfeed declared: “CHRISSY, you essentially are one of the ultra-rich people from the show. Maybe don’t spend $$$$ to cosplay a situation where lower-middle-class people are forced to become the worst versions of themselves and/or brutally murdered for a slim chance of winning a cash prize. OK?” Others decided it simply wasn’t that deep and said the event looked “fun” and critics are “just bitter.”
But whether you love or hate Teigen’s lavish bash, one thing is undeniable: the theme was executed flawlessly. So who’s the party planner behind all the controversy? According to Teigen’s Instagram caption, it’s Loriann Serna, founder of event business The Wife of the Party. The Squid Game bash is hardly Serna’s first rodeo, as she’s been throwing elaborate celebrations for Hollywood bigwigs—along with non-famous rich people—for years.
Some light internet sleuthing reveals that almost nine years ago, Serna left her job as a tech support analyst and started The Wife of the Party, which is headquartered outside of LA. She’s since thrown shindigs ranging from an extravagant COVID-friendly drive-by birthday party for a six-year-old (it involved “transforming the home’s driveway into a whimsical fantasy forest,” according to Serna’s website) to a 40th birthday party on a yacht to a joint New York Fashion Week after-party hosted by rapper Saweetie and makeup brand MAC.
Other notable events Serna and her team have planned include birthday parties for Doja Cat (a pool full of decorative floaties; an entryway made entirely of lanterns; hookah stations) and Cardi B (Jamaican dancehall-themed):
Also: Paris Hilton’s screening for her Netflix show “Cooking With Paris” (so many balloons), a baby shower for Jason Derulo and then-girlfriend Jena Frumes (again: balloons), and a zillion branded influencer events (like this one featuring Addison Rae’s face on cupcakes).
Wife of the Party’s events feel like the slickest possible version of the modern Instagram aesthetic: brightly colored backdrops, flattering lighting, lots of props for posing. Though in the case of Chrissy Teigen’s Squid Game soirée, the one big misstep was surely posting it on Instagram at all.