Heidi Klum: The Heidi Chronicle
Taking a lighthearted leap into film with the English comedy Blow Dry, supermodel Heidi Klum talks about the strangeness of being paid to sit around and reveals a very personal beauty tip.
How does it feel, knowing that every man in this room has seen you naked?" I ask the beautiful, perennially smiling supermodel Heidi Klum, I can't help it. Try to go through your mail without seeing Heidi's face--it's impossible, what with all the Victoria's Secret catalogs. Try going online--that's her scrolling along the tops of millions of sites in a bra and panties. Half my male friends use her Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover as their Screensaver; the other half just haven't figured out how to download it.
Klum (rhymes with bloom) does a slow pan around the Globe restaurant, full of New York's very hippest, and smiles an utterly carefree smile. "I don't mind," she says, her German accent barely noticeable. "I don't even think they recognize me." Maybe not all of them. But they all look at her. Possibly it's because in person she looks remarkably like Gwyneth Paltrow, but more likely it's the killer body and mass of blonde hair. Klum has been modeling since age 18, when she won Petra magazine's modeling contest while living in her hometown of Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, and seems to have developed an effortless approach to being beautiful. She's wearing sneakers, jeans, a T-shirt and a jean jacket. Her only adornment is a huge turquoise ring. She's not hiding behind glasses or a wig. She admits that when she wants to be completely incognito, she'll resort to the baseball-cap-pulled-down-low trick. "I live a public life," she says with a shrug. "And as long as the people who give me attention aren't crazy, I'm fine with it." Things have gotten crazier since Klum married hairstylist Ric Pipino a couple of years ago. Pipino is a New York fixture and is easily recognized. "I tell Ric that he should be wearing the glasses and baseball cap," she says.
Klum began acting two years ago with a three-program arc on "Spin City." She laughs at the memory of it. "My first episode, I completely forgot everything," she says. "I was stiff, I couldn't walk, I couldn't remember any of my lines. I was supposed to come out as soon as I saw Michael J. Fox, but I couldn't, so I mouthed to him, 'I can't move.' And he said, 'Cut, sorry, I messed up, just give me a minute.' And he came and calmed me down. He really saved my butt, and I love him for that. So they hired a coach for me and I did pretty good. But I was basically playing the public's perception of Heidi Klum."
Now Klum has made her first foray into film. She plays Jasmine, a hairdresser's model, in the comedy Blow Dry, which was written by The Full Monty writer Simon Beaufoy, and which stars Alan Rickman, Natasha Richardson and Rachael Leigh Cook. "With Jasmine, I could go wild," she says. "I could be someone else."
"Is she pretty?" I ask.
"Well, when I model, I make sure that I show everything from the best angle, but in the movie, I did things the way I thought Jasmine would do them. I chewed gum...." Here she scrunches up her face and for just an instant, she's not beautiful. The moment passes quickly. "Also, I 'wore this bleached-blonde wig. I don't think people are even going to know it's me."
"I heard that your character is married to a hairdresser and is having an affair with her brother-in-law, who's also a hairdresser, and that the husband discovers the affair when he notices that his wife's pubic hair has been trimmed..."
"How do you know this?" Klum asks.
"Because," I reply. "I once wrote an article about shaving and waxing, and people pass this important information on to me."
Klum ponders this. "That is in the movie, but it's not the main point or anything," she says. "And anyway, the scene you're talking about, its not me."
"They body-doubled you?"
"No, it's me, but it's not me, It's a huge wig," she laughs. "I swear, sometimes I wear a bathing suit that's not as big as the pubic hair wig in Blow Dry. It's red, and my hair in the movie is blonde. It looks really wild."
While I think about that, I ask Klum, "What's the biggest difference between modeling and acting?"
"The waiting around," she says. "On the movie, I'd be in my trailer for hours, just waiting for them to call. Believe me; these dots not happen when you're modeling. They pay you a lot of money and they expect you to work hard. Which is the way it should be. The sitting around can get you nuts. But I like to embroider and stud jean jackets, so I always have something to do.
I don't know about you, but this is not how I imagine my supermodels passing their time. I do imagine them having expert opinions on certain matters, though. And I can't get the pubic hair plot point in Blow Dry out of my head.
"Leaving the wig business aside, is it better to shave or wax?" I ask, because, really, if she doesn't know, who does?
"Shave, definitely," Klum replies with no hesitation. "I've never waxed any part of my body. I am not into pain."
Martha Frankel interviewed Julia Stiles for the July issue of Movieline. You can check more about Martha Frankel here.