Every myth of birth renders tribute to fate. The year was 1977, when university student Roy Raymond stepped inside a department store in California, looking to buy a present for his wife: lingerie. After a few trips through the hangers, he was frustrated by the good intentions of his erotic; embarrassed by the environment he headed home empty-handed. They had oppressed the wrong guy, because Roy Raymond, a student at Stanford Graduate School of Business, only a few months later, openned his own intimate clothing shop, much different from other shops of the same kind at the time, and a welcoming place, able to make its customers feel free to choose, refuse or buy fresh-spirited items. In 2006, the Victoria's Secret empire boasted profits of up to 3.222 billion dollars.
In 1991, two teenage friends were casually strolling through a department store when, out of the blue, one of them spotted an ad for "Model 92", a national competition that was broadcast during a late-night German talk-show. One of the girls convinced the other to fill in the application form; she was pretty, why not try for it? Heidi filled in the form and sent the photos that were requested, out of the fact that she had nothing better to do. She never really believed she had any chances as she was shy and spent most of the time open-mouthed and mute. Nevertheless, the untrusting girl got to the finals of the contest and, after it was over, headed home with the papers for a beautiful modelling contract for US$300,000: the first prize. Forbes magazine estimates that her annual profits, today, are of over 14 million dollars.
From a bland teenager to the second highest-paid model in the world - second only to Gisele Bündchen - the journey travelled through by Heidi Klum was reasonably fast. In no time, she had become one of the most sought-after models by such magazines as Vogue, Marie Claire and ELLE , also working as the artistic muse for most of Joanne Gair's body-paintings. There were also publicity campaings for brands like Volkswagen, Mc Donalds and Braun. But everything pales in comparison with what would become her main attribution.
In 1999, Victoria's Secret had already been sold and spread among other corporations, while maintaining, however, its initial selling concepts, in an expanded format: for instance, the traditional catalogue was virtually replaced by the Internet and, nowadays, they sell, not only undergarments, but also make-up, sleepwear and shoes. As a consequence of these flights of fancy, the project Victoria's Secret Angels was born, in 1999, meeting market expectations. It was absurdly offensive: Tyra Banks, Laetitia Casta, among othermodels, were in the first edition of VS Angels and stunned the planet with their deistic-fetishist runway shows, where those gorgeous, half-naked, winged women walked down the runway, while a show is taking place.
Heidi Klum was obviously there, as the captain of the team. At the time, she was married to stylist Ric Pippino, from whom she was divorced eight years after their union. Because her image, life and work had already become public property by 2002, every newspaper reported her romance with Anthony Kieds, from Red Hot Chili Peppers. Her flirt to the press didn't end there, because a few months later she would make the headlines again, after announcing she was pregnant with her then-boyfriend, Flavio Briatore's baby. That very same fall, that very same day, the tabloids printed photos of Briotore undeniably kissing a jeweller.
Helene was born in 2004, after Klum had already decided to marry singer Seal, in a cerimony by the sea in Mexico. With the singer, still her husband, she has since had two more children, to whom they gave lengthy names. They create what Americans would call "a patchwork family": I'm not white, I'm a shade of brown, she metaphorically remarks, to soften prejudice. We're all different shades and we came together and we all love each other.
Aside from the philosophical quotes, Heidi Klum also has other talents: she is a sculptress, a jewellery designer, an actress in her spare time and, at the moment, a host and producer of two television shows: Project Runway and Germany's Next Top Model. In the latter two she couldn't be having more success, and Project Runway, a competition among fashion designers for a million-dollar contract, has already won a Peabody Award and several Emmy nominations.
Yes, Heidi is far from being just another boring model and is actually a rare combination of beauty and brains, which allows her to be, with all professional seriousness in a Gucci outdoor, in funny campaigns with Will Ferrell biting her butt-cheek or even showing the usefulness of padded bras in stopping the nipples from just being there unsolicited. Heidi Klum is her own subverted myth.
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