Nadja Auermann (born March 19, 1971) is a German model and actress. Fashion designer Valentino once commented on her physical resemblance to Marlene Dietrich. A fashion columnist wrote of her ice maiden visage and pole vaulter's legs.
Early life and discovery
Auermann was born to a banker couple in West Berlin
, Germany, who divorced
when she was young. In 1984, her older sister suggested she begin thinking about modeling in order to cash in on her legs, which were unusually long for a 13-year old. In 1989, she left school with the equivalent of a Higher School Certificate with the intention to work for a few years as a waitress while she decided what to do with her life.
That was until another woman recommended she begin modeling. She arrived in Paris
in 1990, unsuccessfully signing with Karins Modeling Agency in the same year. In 1991, she signed with Elite Model Management
. Auermann landed modeling gigs, but it wasn't until she bleached her hair platinum blonde for a prêt-à-porter
collection that her career took off. Everyone from Harper's Bazaar
came crawling, as both magazines featured portfolios on the "it" girl in modeling. By 1994, Nadja (now donning a cropped haircut) was the model for runways and magazine photo spreads. This was made clear with a 26-page Neiman Marcus shoot in Harper's Bazaar
and consecutive Vogue
photo shoots in 1994. With her image on the covers of the two thick fall fashion magazines, Auermann achieved a triumph equal to winning two legs of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
. She had her picture taken for French Vogue
, in addition to appearing in Benetton
clothing advertisements. Her September 1994 Harper's Bazaar cover prompted one critic to comment negatively about her excessive makeup. She said Auermann looks like Grizabella the Glamour Cat about to break into Memory.
Auermann has modeled for Versace, and she appeared in their classic ad photo in miniskirts along with Kristen McMenamy, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, and Stephanie Seymour. The ad was shot by Richard Avedon. In the following years, she was photographed by Ellen von Unwerth and appeared in and on the covers of numerous magazines. In 1997, she had her first child with Olaf Björn, a daughter called Cosima. Two years later, she married German actor Wolfram Grandezka. The couple welcomed their first son, Nicolas, the same year and divorced a few years later.
The blue-eyed blonde believes one has to work to be beautiful. She has regular manicures, takes vitamins to strengthen her nails, and
eats dessert only once a week. She said, My job is to be skinny.
In recent years, Auermann launched her own perfume ("Nadja Auermann") and has begun acting, having been in two German-language films: Letztes Kapitel (2005) and Dornröschens Leiser Tod (2004). She is known throughout the world for her record-breaking long legs, which are 112cm (44") long.
Auermann enjoys vacationing in the spa town of Heiligendamm, on Germany's Baltic coast.