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Heidi Klum Causes Controversy with “Redface” GNTM Photo Shoot

A model dressed in a Native American themed costume. Image: Heidi Klum's Facebook

A GNTM contestant dressed in a Native American themed costume. Image: Heidi Klum’s Facebook

Television personality and model Heidi Klum has caused controversy by posting photos to her Facebook page from “Germany’s Next Top Model” featuring models dressed in Native American costumes including face paint and headpieces. Jezebel writes that, “It [depicts] Native Americans as a primitive and mythologized people of the past, which is a patently and malignantly untrue media narrative.” Klum still yet to respond to the criticism which as of now–the photos were posted to the page two weeks ago. The comments on her Facebook page seem divided. One user writes their criticism, “Emulating Native America (sic) will always be a pop culture fetish but if you should choose to do so at least try to pay some respect and honor how sacred these items are to us by educating the people who follow you in where they come from and what they mean. I’m sure this comes across as ‘creative’ to some but it’s not original. Honor the original and pay tribute to those who’ve been MASSACRED preserving what they believed in when they made and wore their traditional regalia.”

A GNTM contestant wears face paint. Image: Heidi Klum's Facebook

A GNTM contestant wears face paint. Image: Heidi Klum’s Facebook

While others are not affected, “People need to calm down…this is just a fantastic model picture in a costume like any other they wear on so many different themes and locations.” The issue of models dressing up in Native American regalia has been covered multiple times by fashion blogs. Most famously, Victoria’s Secret had to pull an outfit from the televised version of its 2012 runway show after people complained. The look had a model wearing a Native American headdress with lingerie. Even Chanel’s pre-fall 2014 collection featured models in headdresses to go with the southwestern theme. Despite all the criticism, it seems as if models wearing Native American inspired outfits is not going to end any time soon. The production company, ProSieben, behind “Germany’s Next Top Model” did issue a statement to The Independent though. “We have nothing but the utmost esteem for the Native American culture and are so sorry if our shoot was offensive to anyone.” It continues, “By no means was our intention to insult Native Americans or in any way demean their heritage. We sincerely apologize.”


  1. Eat.Style.Play

    April 11, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    yeah, typical privilege, if it’s offensive to the people then don’t do it plain and simple, America took everything away from these ppl and pushed them to reservations. Everybody thinks it’s so cool to dress us and admire but nobody respects them. This is the same with these ppl thinking it’s okay to paint a model black for an African themed shoot instead of using a black model and having someone research and do it properly.

  2. mainloop

    April 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    cultural assumptions aside, I just think it’s so cliche at this point.

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