A TV challenge sparked Leni Klum's modeling aspirations: 'I want to jump off the tower, too'

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It wasn't just the family genetics that launched a desire for Leni Klum to model like her supermodel mother, Heidi Klum.

While a cover shoot alongside her mother for Vogue Germany is credited as the 17-year-old's modeling debut, Leni Klum told Elle in an interview published Wednesday that her first time participating in a photoshoot required a harness and desire for stunts.

She said that while hanging out years ago on the set of "Germany's Next Topmodel" with her mom, who hosts and sits on the judge's panel, she saw contestants being challenged to take photos mid-air while they jumped off a building.

"I was like, ‘Mom, I want to jump off the tower, too, and take a photo,' " she said before taking the plunge like the other contestants.

Leni Klum says she began to really want to model after seeing a "Next TopModel" challenge.
Leni Klum says she began to really want to model after seeing a "Next TopModel" challenge.

In an interview with People TV in December 2020, Heidi Klum admitted that she could even see her daughter hosting the competition show.

"Who knows, maybe in five years when I'm not hosting the show anymore maybe it's going to be like 'Germany's Next Topmodel' by Leni Klum instead of Heidi Klum. Who knows … she's kind of playing with this idea,” she said of her teen daughter.

'Couldn’t be more proud': Leni Klum lands first solo cover 20 years after mom Heidi Klum

Leni Klum's career in front of the camera has taken place on more stable ground than her airborne beginnings, including when she followed in her supermodel mother's fashionable footsteps by landing her first solo magazine cover in April on Glamour Germany, 20 years after her mom graced the publication's inaugural issue in 2001. But for her debut runway walk for Dolce & Gabbana's Alta Moda show in August, Leni Klum said she "winged" it.

Alta Moda is the fashion house's couture label and for their 2021 collection, they tapped children of celebrities like Heidi Klum and Sean "Diddy" Combs to model the creations on the runway.

The new collection came months after Dolce & Gabbana sued the U.S. fashion bloggers who run the account Diet Prada after they reposted anti-Asian comments attributed to one of the designers that led to a boycott of the label by Asian consumers.

We 'have much to learn': Dolce and Gabbana apologize following backlash over 'racist' ads

The case dates back to November 2018, when Dolce & Gabbana faced backlash and outrage over what were seen as culturally insensitive videos promoting a major runway show. The videos featured stereotypical Chinese music, sound effects and lanterns. The fashion house also labeled chopsticks "stick shaped cutlery," while the narrator mispronounced Dolce & Gabbana.

In 2015 the designers were also deemed as problematic after discussing with an Italian journalist that they oppose gays adopting children, and referred to kids born through IVF as "synthetic," and "chemical offsprings and rented uterus." Their comments on IVF sparked a host of celebrities to call them out at the time including Elton John, the father of two children through IVF, who slammed them on Instagram and said he would boycott the label.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Leni Klum wanted to model after a 'Germany's Next Topmodel' shoot