Heidi Klum Touts Indian-Themed Shoot for 'Germany's Next Top Model'

Heidi Klum Touts Indian-Themed Shoot for 'Germany's Next Top Model'

By: 
ICTMN Staff
3/29/14

As a judge on Project Runway, Heidi Klum had a lot of positive things to say about the work of designer Patricia Michaels, Taos Pueblo. Yet her appreciation of the Native designer's work in contemporary fashion does not seem to have been matched by an enlightened view of Native culture.

On Thursday, Klum, who is host of Germany's Next Top Model, posted a gallery on Facebook titled "Here are my beautiful GNTM girls!"

The gallery consists of 12 pictures of German models wearing feather headdress, facepaint, and fringed leather. Props include a peace pipe, tipi, and woven blanket. 

Many Facebook users have expressed outrage at the images. Here are just a few of the many comments posted to the gallery.

Hanna LakotaHorse: "This is so frustrating and disheartening. And it keeps happening over and over again. Why do they think this is okay?!"

Daisy Salinas: ""This is reducing a culture (where over 10-20 million indigenous people were slaughtered) to a trendy marketable product that can be bought and sold. Not only that but Native American women are far more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other group of women in the U.S. Sexualizing and commodyifying Native American culture and aesthetics is not helping solve issues as these. You should publicly apologize for these terribly offensive photographs."

Nodwessioux Red Bear: "I will no longer support you Heidi K."

Angela Hardesty Manrique: "Unliking for life. How could you be so ignorant Heidi. This is every kind of wrong."

Daisy Light: "We are NOT impressed NOR inspired here in Algonquin Territory. Thumbs down!"

Monita Witkop: "There's no way that they didn't know what they were doing. They did this for free media. Cheap. Next time dress as Oktoberfest mascots. Exploit your own culture."

Heidi Tucker: "WHAT A SLAP IN THE FACE! Heidi totally didn't get understand the designs of Patricia Michaels from Season 11 because they were authentically Native American. Heidi Klum only understands the western bastardization of Pan-Indians. Truly too bad Patricia Michaels was not pulled in as a consultant, or better yet, THE DESIGNER! Heidi even knows her!"

There are a few videos on the GNTM YouTube channel relating to the shoot, "Indianer Shooting," but they are not accessible in the United States.

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indianmedicine's picture
indianmedicine
I think before folks get wrapped around the axle on this, you need to ask what the Objective is of the "Photo Shoot".................................................................. .......................................................................................................................... All who view the Pic's, walk away from them with a personal impression based on their individual "Value System".............................................................................. ................................................................................................................................... The Pic's in my opinion, are trying to make a "Fashion Statement" using European Models in a European Setting................................................................................ ................................................................................................................................... The Model Props are lacking authenticity in appearance, and only lean toward a NAI Theme, without actually saying anything really symbolic in meaning - other then doing what the "Entertainment Industry" started back in "Buffalo Bill's Traveling Circus". .................................................................................................................................... That's where "Hollywood" got the "Circle The Wagons Theme" in early movies because of limited / restricted Camera operations, or where the "Actors" had to be "grouped" so the audience could see them - in fact I believe the "Three Ring Circus" practice was started or maintained with "Buffalo Bill Cody" having Three (3) Acts going at the same time in a "Large Circle" that contained three small circles. ................................................................................................................................... At least, "Buffalo Bill" had authentic Native Americans in his many Act's, where this Photo Shoot would have been much more interesting and sent a stronger image if NAI Advisor would have been consulted & assisted in the Non-Verbal Communication that "Visual Aids, and Photos" purport to be........................... .................................................................................................................................. I don't believe that Ms. Klum was deliberately trying to Offend, or Show NAI in a "Bad Light"; but was viewing the NAI Theme with a "Fashion Industry" approach. .................................................................................................................................. I also do not believe that Ms. Klum was intentionally not being sensitive to the NAI Stories,but again leaned toward a Fashion Industry approach to say something in Native Dress, that really did not include "traditional NAI designs" that are associated with Tribes and NAI Nations.............................................................. .................................................................................................................................. The main purpose in a "Photo Shoot" is not to tell a historical story, but too move merchandise for a specific designer - and that's where this Forum Critique does not include in their thinking and observations............................................................. ................................................................................................................................... Bottom Line is, Ms. Klum was mixing Fashion Industry in with NAI Themes that some find offensive; and others see misuse of NAI Props............................................ ................................................................................................................................... This also could have been a way for NAI Models to participate in the Fashion World.
Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Many Germans are bonkers over NDN culture and this is likely the reason this was an option for Germany's Next Top Model. At least most Germans can claim ignorance when it comes to headdress etiquette (as can many Americans). Maybe we should hold our own TV show (NDN's Top Model) and have the Native women wear Nazi uniforms. I wonder if the point would be understood?

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