Heidi Klum is just as concerned about the people around her as she seems to be on her reality TV shows. When I join her and her co-ambassador, model Gabriel Aubry, at INC’s 30th anniversary celebration in the midst of a quintessentially New York thunderstorm, she instantly asks how I’m doing. “Your hair looks like it really wants to be curly,” she tells me while inspecting my humidity-infused bangs.
After some small talk (“It’s crazy out there!” “You guys look gorgeous!”), the two models discuss the evolving nature of fashion, what it takes to make it in the business today, and where Klum will never take out her phone.
You are co-ambassadors for INC’s collection. How did you get involved?
HEIDI KLUM: I started working with INC 18 years ago. Eighteen years ago I did my first ad, which was a big deal for me. I did a commercial [and] it was a big success. There was a puppy dog, he was on a post and I’m walking by and he bends the whole post because he loves my khakis.
GABRIEL AUBRY: I want to see that.
HK: You can see that! I’ve done different ads over the years and, [for the 30th anniversary], they asked me again to do their campaign and their commercial. We [her and Aubry] just met a year ago, and we did a lot of the ads together.
Speaking of 30 years… How do you feel fashion has changed over time?
HK: What has changed is that fashion is more affordable now, the trends are affordable now. Before, if you wanted to be trendy, you had to go to the big-name designers. Departments stores or the little shops didn’t really have the real trends, but I feel like now real trends are affordable.
What advice do you guys have, as professional models and members of the fashion elite, for up-and-coming models, designers, or anyone who wants to get into the business?
HK: To really love what you do and have fun with it because you should have fun with your job.
Which is more than a lot of people can say these days…
HK: That’s what I’m saying. Not a lot of people have fun at their jobs, so really think about what you want to do, what you’re good at, so you’re not like, ‘Ugh, I hate going to work.’ You have one life so enjoy the job that you do and have fun with it.
GA: Yeah, and be yourself in it.
Do you see the Internet in general and social media in specific changing the fashion game at all?
HK: It definitely does. Before, you would only know models if they were already working, or if they were already walking in a show, or were on a cover of a magazine, or if they were doing a campaign. Now, models can have their own game, so to speak. They can put themselves out there, so it’s a gigantic casting for themselves and people can see them that way and you get pushed forward. Which I think is great. I wish they would have had that around 20 years ago. Imagine what we could have done with Instagram 20 years ago? We would have gone nuts!
GA: I don’t know… the crazy stuff you probably did 20 years ago maybe you didn’t want it on Instagram.
HK: I’m probably crazier now than I was 20 years ago.
GA: Ha, are you? Well, there you go!
Does social media change things for household names like yourselves?
HK: You don’t do Instagram, do you?
GA: I don’t have Instagram so I don’t know. I have zero social media game.
HK: I like it because I do three TV shows a year right now, I have a lot of campaigns that I do, and I have a lot of fans. I want to show them what I’m doing, so I think it is great. And me? I follow my friends so I like to see what they’re doing. When you’re very busy and you travel a lot […], [you] can see what they’re doing. I think it’s good for many, many reasons. It should just not be used at the dinner table.
Yes! I always say that!
HK: There has to be a break because people are a little bit too addicted. My horns come out if [people are at dinner and they’re on their phones].
Any future projects you guys are working on together or separately that you want to discuss?
HK: We only ever see each other when we’re doing INC.
GA: Yes, I think we’ve seen each other five or six times. That’s more than any model I’ve ever worked with.