The World Has Lost One of the 'Original' Supermodels

Tatjana Patitz died of an unspecified illness
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2023 2:40 PM CST

One of the "original" supermodels has died. Tatjana Patitz, who appeared on magazine covers in the 1980s and ’90s and appeared in George Michael's "Freedom! '90" music video, was 56. Her agent confirmed Patitz's death in the Santa Barbara, California, area, and attributed it to an unspecified illness, the AP reports. Vogue, which calls her "perhaps the most intense of the original supermodels," reports Patitz was born in Germany and raised in Sweden, where in 1983 as a 17-year-old she entered an Elite Model Contest. She placed third, won a trip to Paris, but went a year without finding work.

Peter Lindbergh's decision to include her in his famous 1988 photo, "White Shirts: Six Supermodels, Malibu," and for British Vogue’s 1990 cover cemented her career alongside the likes of Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford. Anna Wintour called Patitz "always the European symbol of chic, like Romy Schneider-meets-Monica Vitti. She was far less visible than her peers—more mysterious, more grown-up, more unattainable—and that had its own appeal." Vogue writes that "Patitz never seemed to be part of 'the pack.' In part that’s explained by her choice to make her home not in New York or Paris, but in California, where she could be closer to nature and her animals."

(More obituary stories.)

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