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It's no secret that top models have a team of agents working behind the scenes, but Heidi Klum also calls her manager "daddy," or actually, "vati." Günther (pronounced Yünther) Klum has ruled his daughter's career since she transplanted herself to America and starting dealing in serious contracts. And she's not the only one: Many of the alums from Germany's Next Top Model, which Heidi also hosts, go on to start careers under his management. However, according to today's profile on the supermodel's father in Spiegel International, "Papa Klum" may not be the crackerjack manager you'd expect for a model with a career as successful and long-lasting as Heidi's. "It's hard to say whether Heidi is so successful because of or despite her lumbering father," the article says, and goes on to portrays Herr Klum as a sort of pageant dad who could rival the worst of the moms on Toddlers and Tiaras.
Neele Hehemann broke her contract with Klum after fifth season of Germany's Next Top Model. Photo via Getty
According to Spiegel, Herr Klum has used the stellar ratings of Germany's Next Top Model as permission to bully ProSieben, GNTM's network, and collect promising contracts with the shows alums. But the article also suggests that without Heidi's face and personality, his methods are less lucrative. Several contestants, including Neele Hehemann and Jana Beller, have spoken out about his tendency to control when and where they work, dictating casting calls and autograph appearances in shopping centers. Citing his tyrannical rule, plus the 20% of their earnings that go directly into his pocket, models tend not to stay long in their contracts with him. So, while Herr Klum clearly has strings left to pull in German modeling world, Spiegel is suggesting that with Heidi as his only real client, Klum's grip on the industry may be slipping. (On a side note: Wouldn't it be awesome to have a reality show where models judge potential agents? We'd happily give $20 to the first model-judge to make an agent cry on TV.)
· The Klum Family's Grip on the German Modeling Scene [Spiegel International]
· All Heidi Klum Coverage [Racked]