The Classic Beauty of Tatjana Patitz
Everybody knows the names of Germany's "top models." They are all stunning, and they dominate all sorts of media. However, before the current crop that is dripping with celebrity, there was another German model who doesn't get a lot of publicity these days, but honestly deserves to be remembered.
|Tatjana Patitz in the Rohn Meijer "Dreamgirls" series, 1992.|
Let's take a look at German stunner Tatjana Patitz, the first German supermodel of the modern era.
Tatjana was born in Hamburg, Germany on 25 March 1966, but her family moved to the countryside in Skanör, Sweden while she was young. The family had a vacation spot in Mallorca, Spain where she rode horses. She has a sister named Sophie who models.
In 1983, Tatjana entered the Elite Model Look contest and became a finalist. John Casablancas himself picked her to come in third and signed her to a contract. She picked up and moved to Paris, where Patitz struggled at first but was working steadily within a couple of years.
In 1985, Tatjana got her first prestigious covers (British Vogue), and became associated with top photographer Peter Lindbergh (who likely shot many of the shots on this page). While Tatjana has been shot by all the top names - Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Ellen Von Unwerth, Patrick Demarchelier, you name it - her "personal photographer" was always Peter Lindbergh.
Having a personal favorite photographer is not all that unusual in the modeling world - Marilyn Monroe, for instance, retained a tight relationship with her first professional photographer until the day she died. Lindbergh included Tatjana in his 1996 book "10 Women by Peter Lindbergh."
Success in Paris led inevitably to New York and Vogue Magazine, where Tatjana developed a long-term association. She features in the 1992 book "On the Edge: Images from 100 Years of Vogue."
Richard Avedon included Tatjana in Revlon's "The Most Unforgettable Women in the World" campaign in 1987. He shot Patitz for her first cover of American Vogue in May 1987.
Tatjana moved from New York to Los Angeles (Malibu) in the late '80s in order to grow spiritually:
I don't want to do anything for fame or money or glamour or anything like that...I think people are coming to a higher awareness in the world.Model Magazine, December 1989-January 1990.
Tatjana wrote a poem for Model Magazine:
The past is history
and the future is just a mystery
The Spirit guides and protects me
and makes me see the importance
of self-love and realization of the Eternal
Without that I am nothing
and with it I am everything
|Tatjana Patitz and Cindy Crawford.|
As the 1990s dawned, Tatjana was one of the top supermodels in the world. She appeared in George Michael's very successful "Freedom! '90" music video, and also Duran Duran's "Skin Trade" and Korn's "Make Me Bad."
Living right outside Los Angeles led to Tatjana studying acting. She got a big break by appearing in "Rising Sun" with Sean Connery in 1993. She also did some television work and appeared with Eric Roberts and Dean Stockwell in "Restraining Order" (1999).
Tatjana has been getting covers around the world for thirty years. Here is a small sampling:
- US: 'Cosmopolitan' - May 1987; 'Vogue' - May 1987; 'Cosmopolitan' - August 1989; 'Mademoiselle' - December 1989; 'Vogue' - July & August 1989; 'Cosmopolitan' - December 1990; 'Harper's Bazaar' - March 1990; 'Self' - November 1990; 'Vogue' - September 1990; 'Glamour' - March 1991; 'Vogue' - July 1991; 'Vogue' - April 1992; 'Allure' - June 1994; 'Rolling Stone' - September 1999; 'Corduroy' - December 2012
Tatjana is pretty much retired from the catwalk world at this point. However, Karl Lagerfeld coaxed her back one last time in 2010 for his Venetian-themed Pre-Fall show.
Tatjana has a son, Jonah, born in 2004, and still rides horses. They still love in Malibu, and she is an ambassador for the American Wild Horse Sanctuary.
|Tatjana with Michael J. Fox in the 2011 Carl Zeiss AG calendar, photographed by Bryan Adams in New York City in the summer of 2010.|
I loved making "Rising Sun." I got into the psychology of why she liked to get strangled and tied up in plastic bags. It has to do with low self-worth.
Some models are naturally very thin, but if they aren't naturally like that, then what these girls do to their health to fit in ... To be a size zero or a two when you're tall is incredible to me. It would be nice if models were allowed to be a more healthy weight - for the models, and for the young women who look up to them. We were athletic and healthy, and we looked like women.
Sometimes I get lonely, but it's nice to be alone.
|Tatjana Patitz in Vogue, 1987.|
Tatjana is a supporter of environmental issues. She always has had a number of pets (dogs, birds, cats) and works with PETA and Greenpeace. Recently, she said that she has "two horses, some dogs, and a kitty."
|Photograph: Pierre Vauthey/Corbis Sygma.|
Tatjana won the 2011 Vienna Fashion Award in the category Style Icon.
My big cause is African wildlife, especially elephants. There are so many variables: poaching, urbanization, climate change. There is a crisis happening between people who are just trying to survive, and the wildlife who need their habitat. The human population is growing fast. It’s a global issue with wildlife period, because the population of people is growing so fast.
I would tell my younger self to relax more, not to take things so seriously and have a lot of fun in the process because, after all, life is fun.
Sometimes I get lonely, but it's nice to be alone.
Tatjana dated Seal for a while in the 1990s. However, they broke up long before he married fellow German model Heidi Klum. Tatjana made some news in 2012 when Klum and Seal got divorced with some choice comments about her former boyfriend.
For instance, Tatjana believes that Seal cheated on her.
|Tatjana Patitz by Albert Watson Vogue UK October 1985.|
Recently in 2016, Tatjana has done some work for Trump Models, repping the Gloria Vanderbilt Icon line.
- BUST: 36WAIST: 26
- HIPS: 37
- SHOES: 8.5
- HAIR: BLONDE
Aside from Trump Models, Tatjana is listed with Mega Model Agency in Hamburg, Elle Amsterdam, Munich Models, Storm Management (London), and Viva Model Management Paris.