Leni Klum: ‘I know that people would dream to start off with what I had’

Leni Klum is busy with her first year at college and modeling for both Dior and Good Hair Days. We still don’t know which New York City school Leni is attending, at least I couldn’t find it, but I did read that she’s an interior design major. That’s interesting. So is the modeling just paying for school or is the ID a fallback if the modeling doesn’t work out? I’m only half joking with those questions. Obviously Leni doesn’t need financial help with school, her folks Heidi Klum and Seal seem to be doing okay. But Leni intrigues me. It seems like she’s cultivating her own interests and forging a path to pursue them, but in a real way, not a Brooklyn “oh, shiny object!” Beckham way. Leni also seems to have a better understanding of her position as nepotism hire than most. While she said she puts in the work, she recognizes she got where she is because of mom and dad.

The rising industry star [Leni Klum], who has already landed beauty deals with Dior and GHD, knows about the reputation of being a “nepo baby” — considering her parents are Heidi and R&B singer Seal — but she’s hard at work to prove herself in the industry.

“I did get help starting off, and I know that people would dream to start off with what I had,” she shares. “I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to take what was gifted to me by my mom. But I am doing the work and putting in the time. Now I’m working on my own, traveling alone, going to school. My mom and I just have the same love for the same thing.”

[From People]

This is a realistic way to look at it. This may shock you, but I’m not a model so I don’t know what constitutes “putting in the time.” Heidi is one of the hardest working models out there, so Leni is well aware of what it means, though. I also feel like Heidi would call Leni out if she was phoning it in. But Leni acknowledges that she started her career at third base and that’s a lot more than most do. Leni’s comment, “my mom and I just have the same love for the same thing,” gave me pause. When a child becomes a teacher like their parent or a lawyer or such, we don’t think anything of it. But as soon as it touches on fame, we pull out a different measuring stick.

Leni seems to be having fun at school, however. Her parents are seeing to that. Heidi was so worried about Leni being away that she ordered 25 bags of groceries for Leni and her roommate to be delivered to their door. And Seal treated Leni out to a day at the US Open to watch Serena Williams back in September. So, you know, just like our college days, right?

At least Leni got to go to Mom’s big Halloween Bash this year!

Photo credit: Darla Khazei/Avalon Red, Cover Images, Instagram and Xavier Collin/Avalon Red

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26 Responses to “Leni Klum: ‘I know that people would dream to start off with what I had’”

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  1. LaraK says:

    You know what? I like her answer. It’s realistic.

    I mean, if Heidi was my mom you can bet your sweet baboo I’d be out there modeling and designing too, She’s honest about it, but also puts in the work. Good for her.

    Although when you think about it Brooklyn also took after his mom – basically doing something badly and having his dad bankroll it.

    Not sure what to think of Kaia Gerber. She’s delusional in that she thinks she got there on merit, but she also does have some talent.

  2. Jillian says:

    I’m still laughing at the worm costume, it is completely hysterical! Heidi seems like a decent sort, not so surprising her kid is a good egg

  3. Lolo86lf says:

    I love Leni’s self-awareness. The fact the she seems to be a talented young lady is what really matters because nepotism can only go so far.

  4. Becks1 says:

    that’s a good answer; other nepotism babies should take note. No one is saying that just because you are a nepotism baby you lack talent or aren’t working hard or whatever. But in industries where getting your foot in the door and getting the attention of the power players is a big part of the battle – you have an advantage from the get go.

    the worm costume is both hilarious to me and kind of disturbing/gross, lol.

    • Sue E Generis says:

      The costume is disgusting, but in the best way. I love that Heidi really gets into Halloween and doesn’t make it about trying to look sexy like most other celebs.

  5. Susan says:

    File this under WHY DO I KNOW THIS? I think Leni is from Heidi’s first marriage and her dad is not a part of the picture so when Heidi married Seal, he stepped in as her stepdad/full time dad. Which always warms my heart when the stepdads still stay involved with the kids after the divorce. For kids of multiple divorces, that is a fear and this lessens it. Rant over!

    • TIFFANY says:

      Seal is Leni’s father. He officially adopted her and his name is on her birth certificate. Heidi’s ex signed away all rights so the adoption can happen. It wasn’t immediate, but it eventually happened.

    • Missjo says:

      Leni is the bio daughter of Flavio Briatore, Italian businessman and lover of young models, Heidi was never married to him and it was a brief fling

    • greenmonster says:

      Leni’s biological father is Flavio Briatore. Heidi dated him after her first marriage fell apart. Seal came into the picture during Heidi’s pregnancy and I think he adopted Leni. So he is her real dad, not “just” a stepdad.

  6. Michael says:

    Leni is very lucky in many ways. Not just because her parents are rich and famous but also because they genuinely love and care for her and make time to show it. Also do not forget her bio dad is a billionaire who she also has cultivated a relationship with. I would say she did not start on 3rd base she is halfway to home plate already. The way she can pay the world back is to be a good person and maybe help some other people who are not as lucky. She does seem to be a really nice person so far

  7. Lemons says:

    I wish that just once, one of these Hollywood nepotism babies becomes a surgeon or a human rights lawyer, or a nuclear engineer…anything but model+etc.

    But I’m glad she’s finding her way…on the coattails of her parents.

    • greenmonster says:

      Ava Sambora (dauther of Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora) is working on getting her master’s degree in family therapy or something similar. She also has a decent, but not huge, Instagram following and I guess, she makes a bit money here and there with it. But it looks like she is not trying to step into her parents footsteps.

      • MissF! says:

        I didn’t know about Ritchie and Heather’s daughter , that’s impressive. Richard Branson and Bill Gates both have daughter’s that are MD’s, I believe Hailey Matger’s is considering law, si three more young women who are very accomplished.

      • ME says:

        I think probably most children have pretty “normal” jobs. Another example is one of Bruce Springsteen’s son being a firefighter in Jersey City, NJ.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why? Shouldn’t we all wish people become what they want to? Isn’t that of more value than what it is? If they become good people, why does it matter if they’re a surgeon, etc. vs a model? It’s really hard to make a living as a surgeon or nuclear engineer or a human rights lawyer vs a model by the way. A LOT less return on investment for your time. You only go around once!

    • It Really Is You, Not Me says:

      I don’t think that the media covers it as often when a nepo baby goes into a non-creative profession which is why it seems like so many nepo babies are getting a leg up in creative professions.

      I liked her answer but “my mom and I just happen to like the same thing” was a little off. She’s also still a teenager so I will let that pass since the rest of her answer was on-point.

      As for lawyers and doctors, I am a lawyer and can attest that a lot of nepo babies go to law school and they have connections to elite summer internships and first year positions that others have to compete for 2-5 slots in the biggest firms’ internship programs. Not to mention that there is still an inherent bias in favor of white people and mostly white men since it was their lawyer fathers who were uber-successful in the 80s snd 90s.

      • Tessa says:

        Yeah, I fail to see how saying « I like the same thing as my Mom » explains everything away. Being a teacher or a plumber doesn’t come with fame and insane earnings at the age of 18 (or ever). So, when a teacher’s kid becomes a teacher, you know they are doing it for the love of the profession. Not so easy to tell with an actress or a model. Especially since they also don’t go « out of business » if they are bad at it, so, where’s the risk, what’s the measure of hard work, exactly?

    • ME says:

      There is a lot of nepotism in the real world as well. Parents have connections and use them to get their kids hired. Also, I’m sorry but if I had a choice of being a model or a lawyer, I’d take the model job easy. It’s probably more pay and less stress !

  8. Egla says:

    My first job was a “nepotism” job. My father pushed me and I lasted 3 months. Didn’t like it. He really wanted me to pursue that career in education but… the other jobs were on me

  9. GirlOne says:

    Their joint bra ads creep me out 👀

  10. jferber says:

    I’d heard that Leni starting as a teen (I think) started having a relationship with her bio dad. Don’t know how/if it’s going now, but I hope she still has some contact, if it’s kind and loving. I also like that she acknowledged her advantages. Her dress is really cool, too.

  11. CuriousCole says:

    Out of all the nepotism models flooding the fashion world in the past three years, Leni truly seems to have “it.” She’s charismatic on camera, seems well balanced in interviews, and is gorgeous to boot.

  12. Abbie says:

    I wouldn’t mind these nepotism kids if they actually had what their parents had. But they don’t. Absolutely none of them are as unique and charismatic as their mom/dad was when they were starting out. None of them. They’re all pretty sure, and fit the model/actress type but none of them would ever get a second glance from anyone without their parents’ name.
    That’s why the nepotism angle is annoying.

    This kid seems nice and sweet and aware of her privilege which is great, but lets be honest, she’s no Heidi Klum. The same way Cindy’s kid is no Cindy, or Madonna’s kid isn’t Madonna, etc. It’s about much more than looks and genetic makeup. None of them have that IT factor and unique personality and pull that draws the viewer in. Maybe because, unlike their parents, none of them grew up in the real world with the threat of “not making it’ and being broke.

    For these kids, being famous and artsy isn’t a dream, or something to aspire to. It’s a form of entitlement. They’re never gonna have the hunger for it that their nobody parents had when they were starting out.