Supermodel Heidi Klum on Her New Swimwear Line & Feeling Comfortable in Your Own Skin

By Isabel Gonzalez Whitaker | August 31, 2018 | People

Model Mogul Heidi Klum on why you should lose the top, ignore the haters and never stop dancing.

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"One second. We have a snake wrangler here,” says Heidi Klum, on the phone from California, as she momentarily shifts her attention elsewhere. She comes back half a minute later. “We live in a canyon in L.A. with four kids, so I always want to make sure things are safe.” The interruption provides a glimpse into how on top of everything the supermodel, superproducer and empire-builder is across all aspects of her life. In fact, being hands-on is what we are talking about when the snake wrangler makes a cameo. “At the end of the day, if things go wrong, the only person I can point a finger at is myself. I can’t get mad at someone else, since that should have been my job,” she says.

Klum oversees multiple million-dollar businesses, including global fashion lines, while executive producing and hosting TV shows like Germany’s Next Topmodel and Project Runway here in the States. But it’s how she manages to maintain attention to detail that is awe-inspiring and exhausting to consider. And that’s how the Germanyborn 45-year-old mom prefers it. “There are people who wait for the phone to ring, wait for things to happen; and then there are people who are dreamers and planners. That’s how I roll.”

While revving up for the 17th season of Project Runway and at the same time maintaining her judging duties on America’s Got Talent (her sixth season on the hit show), she also debuted the latest collections of Heidi Klum Intimates and Heidi Klum Swim. As creative director of both lines, it’s a fulfillment of a desire to design that she’s had since before she was a model, and no doubt what makes her a strong spiritual benefactor to the artists on Project Runway. “I pick the fabrics and come up with the shapes and the stories behind the looks,” she says of the midrange-priced lines, which are sold on her website. And even though there’s always a fit model on hand, she does that too. “You can’t be, ‘Oh I’m too good for that.’ You have to do the legwork yourself.”

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Since you’ve tried on all the bathing suits, which one is most ‘Heidi’?
HEIDI KLUM: I grew up very comfortable with my body and very free, and I tend to not wear a whole lot of swimsuit when I’m sunbathing. So I usually go for a tie-string bikini, something that has Do you ever internalize the criticism? I learned over the years that you can’t please everyone, and you shouldn’t. At the end of the day, you have to be happy with who you are from the inside out. That’s ultimately the only thing that matters. Some people will like you and some people will not, and that has nothing to do with being in the public eye. That I am in the public eye means more people see me and judge me, but women who are not in the public eye have to deal with it as well. What’s it like to age in the public eye? I see it like this: We have only one life. This is our life right now and our moment, and our moment shouldn’t be over after a certain age. There’s not a time frame for only being able to wear a certain thing or to be in love, to have fun, to go out. Thirty years old is not the cap and then you have to hide yourself and not go dancing anymore. I’m not saying people should be doing what I’m doing, but I hope that one day I will be an old woman looking back and able to say I enjoyed every phase of my life. Will you wear a bikini when you are 90? If I feel like it, yes. And you’ll look amazing. Everyone wants to know your beauty secrets. What will you share? Beauty is what you put in your body. I do smoothies every morning with ginger, kiwis and berries. Ginger is so good for you. So is garlic, which I eat a ton of. Sometimes I boil a whole head of garlic and make tea from it and sip it. It’s spicy, so I put honey in it to make it sweeter. And I use Vintner’s Daughter because I believe plants are good for our skin. Let’s talk Miami. This was your first stop when you came to the United States from Germany. What attracts you to the city? People are not as shy with their bodies in Miami. You walk past clubs and you still see men and women dancing with each other. It’s not like when you go to other places where everyone just stands around and stares at each other with their cocktail in their hand. Everyone is enjoying life and dancing... And showing skin. It’s more of a South American feel with lots of colors and flair and more skin. Definitely more skin. less coverage, and if no one is around, I’ll wear only the bottom. Of course, if there are people around, I will cover up.

When you say you grew up comfortable with your body, was that the influence of your parents or German culture?
HK: I grew up in a very free environment with my parents. We’d go to nude beaches. We’re very open-minded, but you can’t say that about all Germans. We didn’t have a lot of money, so we’d go camping a lot and my parents chose nude campsites, so nudity became normal for me. You stand out more if you cover up. And I loved it.

So you come to the body-positive movement naturally, but more broadly, it seems to be at an inflection point. How important was it to you that your lines be a part of this movement?
HK: There hasn’t been a huge selection for curvier women in intimates or swim, so I put a large focus on it with my lines going up from a D to G cup size. Women who wear those sizes have been neglected by the industry, so I want to give them options

What’s been your personal experience with the body-positive movement and being viewed so publicly?
HK:
I’ve been body shamed, especially for being thin. I’ve always been fit and on the thinner side, and the media will say it’s because I’m not eating, and that’s not true. I’ll see photos of me thin placed next to photos of me where I’ve just had a baby and am still carrying that weight or I’m still breastfeeding so my boobs are gigantic, but all are presented without explanation. Yes, I look more voluptuous in some pictures, but my natural shape is on the thin side and people still body shame me.

Are things getting better collectively though? Culturally?
HK: We are going in the right direction. The fashion industry didn’t always accept or showcase all bodies, but that has changed. Even the idea of the ideal bikini body has changed. But I do feel we should be more supportive of each other.

Do you ever internalize the criticism?
HK: I learned over the years that you can’t please everyone, and you shouldn’t. At the end of the day, you have to be happy with who you are from the inside out. That’s ultimately the only thing that matters. Some people will like you and some people will not, and that has nothing to do with being in the public eye. That I am in the public eye means more people see me and judge me, but women who are not in the the public eye have to deal with it as well.

What’s it like to age in the public eye?
HK: I see it like this: We have only one life. This is our life right now and our moment, and our moment shouldn’t be over after a certain age. There’s not a time frame for only being able to wear a certain thing or to be in love, to have fun, to go out. Thirty years old is not the cap and then you have to hide yourself and not go dancing anymore. I’m not saying people should be doing what I’m doing, but I hope that one day I will be an old woman looking back and able to say I enjoyed every phase of my life.

Will you wear a bikini when you are 90?
HK:
If I feel like it, yes.

And you’ll look amazing. Everyone wants to know your beauty secrets. What will you share?
HK:
Beauty is what you put in your body. I do smoothies every morning with ginger, kiwis and berries. Ginger is so good for you. So is garlic, which I eat a ton of. Sometimes I boil a whole head of garlic and make tea from it and sip it. It’s spicy, so I put honey in it to make it sweeter. And I use Vintner’s Daughter because I believe plants are good for our skin.

Let’s talk Miami. This was your first stop when you came to the United States from Germany. What attracts you to the city?
HK: People are not as shy with their bodies in Miami. You walk past clubs and you still see men and women dancing with each other. It’s not like when you go to other places where everyone just stands around and stares at each other with their cocktail in their hand. Everyone is enjoying life and dancing...

And showing skin.
HK: It’s more of a South American feel with lots of colors and flair and more skin. Definitely more skin.



Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHED BY MAX MONTGOMERY

HEIDI KLUM – OCEAN DRIVE CREDITS

featuring | heidi klum @heidiklum