The Voice of Wild Horses.
Tatjana Patitz about her son Jonah, criticism of the modeling industry and protection of horses.
Tatjana Patitz, supermodel and one of the world's most beautiful women found her luck in California.
Tatjana, you are a single mother with a teenage child. What are the most important values you convey to your son?
I would like to send an empathetic person with a big heart out into the world. Jonah should always have the self-belief to be himself and to embody and articulate his own attitude and opinions.
You make a well-balanced impression yourself. What gives you that balance and satisfaction?
My son is my source of happiness in life. My friends, my animals, and nature give me balance and satisfaction – the feeling of being connected.
You spent years at the very top of the modeling industry and are still known worldwide. What role does modeling play in your life today?
I am still active as a model, but in contrast to before, I choose my productions very selectively and am happy when I can combine my work as a model with my vocation as a protector of nature and animals.
In your view, what is the difference between the modeling industry in 1990 and today?
Due to digitization, the market has become huge and much more fast-moving. You are not only selling a personal look and effect, but also a whole media package to followers. To me it seems very abstract and fake.
What have been the most emotional moments in your career?
I have been in the business for 35 years, so there are so many. Every chapter in my career helped me mature and develop. For me, it was all very emotional and enriching.
"Anyone can become a superstar from one day to the next."
Many well-known photographers and just as many people outside the industry regard you as one of the most beautiful women in the world. What is beauty to you?
People can be physically beautiful, but not at all so on the inside – and vice versa. To me, beauty means being a good person and being there for others. In my opinion, beauty is not only about looks, but everything that makes up a person.
You are very active in protection of the environment and animals. You are particularly devoted to wild horses and the American Wild Horse Campaign. How did that come about?
The birth of my son changed a lot in me. I began to see the world through different eyes again. I was made aware of the wild horses by a newspaper article. They have an ever smaller habitat and will die out if we don’t protect and defend them. There are more wild horses in corrals than in the wild. What happens in those corrals is often terrible and sad. The American Wild Horse Campaign is trying to maintain a habitat for the animals, to set them free, and to protect them.
What importance do horses and riding have in your life?
I have been riding since I was a small child. For me, it means freedom, connectedness, and dedication. Horses transform stress and worry for me. They are genuine and spiritual. They make me happy and relaxed, especially if I feel pressured or tense.
You live separated from the big-city hustle and bustle. How did you decide to give priority to nature and quiet?
I need nature and enjoy being together with all my animals. They were and remain my anchor in life. I also wanted my child to be able to grow up in the countryside and experience those values.
You seem to be a very empathetic person. What does empathy mean to you?
Having compassion and care for everything that exists. For our planet, animals, nature, and people.
At the same time, you seem to be a strong woman. What is femininity in your eyes?
The capability to be simultaneously gentle and strong. Above all, in my opinion, femininity is about intuition.
As a woman in your industry, is it brave to allow yourself to age?
I am proud of my wrinkles. I worked for each one and they belong to me. Growing older is beautiful. You become wiser and more mature. For me, giving away or changing that gift is not an option.
Tatjana Patitz: The Voice of Wild Horses
Born in Hamburg in 1966 and raised in Sweden, Tatjana Patitz has been part of the supermodel team since the mid-1980s. German photographer Peter Lindbergh was the one to discover her and feature her in Vogue. Shortly afterwards, she moved to California. Today, Tatjana Patitz lives with her son Jonah, born in 2004, on a ranch near Santa Barbara. She still adorns the covers of international glossy magazines and is devoted to animal and environmental protection.
Photography | Eric Gabriel
Interview | Claudia Schwarz
Art Direction | Claudia Schwarz
Film | Michael Parenteau
Producer | Lendi Slover
Hair | Juanita Lyon
Make up | Kendall Cotta