My body has never been a source of shame and discomfort; I’ve never been insecure or shy about my flesh. We were taken to nude beaches as kids – it was freeing. To this day, I feel no need to hide myself away.
Falling down the stairs and hitting my head is my earliest memory. I was on my way to our basement and suddenly slipped. My five-year-old body went thud, thud, thud, just like you see in the movies. I’ve been incredibly clumsy ever since.
I’ve been a workaholic since 18. Some models are catapulted into the big time; I climbed up from the bottom with hard work. In 1992, I won a competition and landed a contract – it was my ticket out. I left our little German village for London, Paris, Milan. I didn’t go out partying like the other models. I was in bed keeping my head down.
Flying petrifies me. Not seeing the cockpit freaks me out; I hate being totally out of control. I cry like a baby to cope. It gets to the point where it’s hard to know if I’m bawling my eyes out at a mushy film, or because I’m convinced we’re about to fall from the sky.
The advice I give to my daughter, who now also models, is simple: say no to anything you don’t want to do, and hold your ground. I was taught to be confident in my choices by my mother, and that I had the power to put my foot down. Whatever they do, I want my kids to feel the same.
People often say relationships take hard work, but I don’t believe it. When you need to make a real effort, something has already gone wrong. I never think of being with my husband as laborious – I can’t wait to be with him. If that’s not how you feel, maybe it’s time to move on.
The hours before my family wakes up are precious. I share a house with my husband, four kids, two dogs and a cat; from 8am, all sorts of other people are also in and out. So I’m up before 6am. In those hours while everyone else is sleeping, I can focus on myself.
I was considered too curvy for fashion during my early years in the industry. I was landing money jobs, but was desperate to be booked for cooler gigs. I tried to fit into the clothes, but I couldn’t. Designers would say, “No, she’s too big.” And I was skinnier then. One agent tried, and failed, to give me appetite-suppression pills. Fashion has come a long way: we’ve more women of colour taking centre stage, more shapes and sizes. Still, more needs to change.
I’m 16 years older than my husband. Lots of people seem to have an opinion on the age difference; people love to be judgmental, or tell me it won’t last. I’m older than him and look it… I don’t need reminding!
I’m releasing my first single at 48. Why? Because I’m still alive, and only will be once. I’d hate to look back on my life and be all “shoulda-woulda-coulda”. Who cares if it’s a total flop?
I’ll keep wearing short miniskirts into my 80s if it makes me happy. Even if I have to sew a few of them together before squeezing myself in.
Heidi Klum’s new single, Chai Tea with Heidi featuring Snoop Dogg, is out now, (kaa.lnk.to/chaitea)