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Heidi Klum (German pronunciation: [ˈhaɪ̯diː ˈklʊm]; born 1 June 1973) is a German-American model, television personality, businesswoman, fashion designer, singer, television producer, author, and actress. She appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and in 1999 was the first German model to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel.
Following a successful modeling career, Klum became the host and a judge of Germany’s Next Topmodel and the reality show Project Runway which earned her an Emmy nomination in 2008 and a win in 2013 for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program (shared with co-host Tim Gunn); Klum has been nominated for six Emmy Awards. She has worked as a spokesmodel for Dannon and H&M, and has appeared in numerous commercials for McDonald’s, Volkswagen and others. In 2009, Klum became Barbie’s official ambassador on Barbie’s 50th anniversary. As an occasional actress, she had supporting roles in movies including Blow Dry (2001), Ella Enchanted (2004), and made cameo appearances in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and Perfect Stranger (2007). She has also appeared on TV shows including Sex and the City, How I Met Your Mother, Desperate Housewives and Parks and Recreation. From 2013 until February 2019, Klum was a judge on NBC reality show, America’s Got Talent.
In May 2011, Forbes magazine estimated Klum’s total earnings for that year as US$20 million. She was ranked second on Forbes’ list of the “World’s Top-Earning Models”. Forbes noted that since ending her 13-year run as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, Klum has become more of a businesswoman than a model. In 2008, she became an American citizen while maintaining her native German citizenship.
Modeling and acting
Klum has been featured on the cover of French, German, Portuguese and Spanish Vogue magazines, as well as Elle, InStyle, Marie Claire, Glamour and Russian Harper’s Bazaar magazines. She became widely known after appearing on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and for her work with Victoria’s Secret as an “Angel”. Klum hosted the 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows. On 1 October 2010, the New York Post reported in its “Page Six” gossip column that Klum would be leaving Victoria’s Secret, which was later confirmed by Klum.
In addition to working with well-known photographers on her first husband’s Sports Illustrated shoots, she was the object and subject of Joanne Gair body painting works in several editions from 1997 to 2010. She wrote the foreword to Gair’s book of body paint work, Body Painting, Masterpieces. Klum was the face of Givenchy’s Amarige fragrance, and she also served as a spokesmodel for McDonald’s, Braun, Dannon, H & M, and Liz Claiborne. Since 2007, she has been a celebrity spokesmodel for Jordache and Volkswagen. In addition to modeling, she has appeared in several TV shows, including Spin City, Sex and the City, Yes, Dear, and How I Met Your Mother. She had a role as an ill-tempered hair model in the movie Blow Dry, played a giantess in the movie Ella Enchanted and was cast as Ursula Andress in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. She had cameo appearances in the films The Devil Wears Prada and Perfect Stranger.
Her other projects include dance and video games. She is featured in the 2003 video game James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, where she plays the villain Dr. Katya Nadanova. She has appeared in several music videos, including Jamiroquai’s video “Love Foolosophy” from their album A Funk Odyssey, Kelis’s “Young, Fresh n’ New”, off her second 2001 album Wanderland and, most recently, the second video for her then husband Seal’s song “Secret” off his 2010 album Seal 6: Commitment. The latter video depicts the married couple sharing intimate moments while naked in bed; the concept was Klum’s idea. In July 2007, having earned US$8 million in the previous 16 months, Klum was named by Forbes as third on the list of the World’s 15 Top-Earning Supermodels.
In 2008, Forbes estimated her income at US$16 million, putting Klum in first place. For 2007, Forbes estimated her income at US$14 million. Klum is signed to IMG Models in New York City. In 2008, Klum was a featured guest on an American Volkswagen commercial, where she was interviewed by a black Beetle. When she commented that German engineering is so sexy, she caused the Beetle to blush and turn red. She has been a part of several commercials for Volkswagen and McDonald’s on German television. In November 2008, Klum appeared in two versions of a Guitar Hero World Tour commercial, wherein she did a take on Tom Cruise’s iconic underwear dancing scene in Risky Business. In both versions, she lip-synced to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” while dancing around the living room with the wireless guitar controller.
In October 2009, Klum was the often-nude one-woman subject of Heidilicious, a photo book by photographer Rankin. Klum ventured into web-based videos, starring in “SPIKED HEEL: Supermodels Battle the Forces of Evil”. The web-series starred model Coco Rocha and was directed by fashion documentarian Doug Keeve. In the story, Klum aka ‘The Kluminator,’ and her stylish sidekick Coco “The Sassy Superhero” Rocha battle the evil Dr. Faux Pas who is plotting to destroy Fashion Week. The heroines employ everything from blow-dryer guns to fist fights, in order to thwart Dr. Faux Pas’ dastardly plans. The Kluminator and Girl Wonder avoid a chain of fashion disasters to neutralize a death ray that threatens to vaporize the community of fashionistas gathered in Bryant Park. In 2010, Klum became the new face and creative advisor for European cosmetics brand Astor, for which she sets artistic direction and designs new products and fashion forward color collections. In October 2010, Klum parted ways with Victoria’s Secret after 13 years of working with the brand. She provided a simple explanation in her official statement, stating: “All good things have to come to an end. I will always love Victoria and never tell her secret. It’s been an absolute amazing time!”
It was reported in May 2011 that Klum ranked second with estimated earnings of US$20 million on Forbes’ list of the World’s Top-Earning Models (2010–2011). Forbes noted that since ending her 13-year run as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, Klum has become more of a businesswoman than a model. She partnered with New Balance and Amazon.com to launch a clothing line and signed a 20-episode deal to host a new show on Lifetime, called Seriously Funny Kids. In fact, some noted fashion designers have long been commenting on Klum’s limited role as a fashion model. Karl Lagerfeld, for example, in 2009 agreed with German designer Wolfgang Joop, who called Klum after she had posed naked on the cover of the German edition of GQ magazine, “no runway model. She is simply too heavy and has too big a bust”. Lagerfeld observed that neither he nor Claudia Schiffer knew Klum, as she has never worked in Paris and was insignificant in the world of fashion, being “more bling bling and glamorous than current fashion.”