Supermodel Tatjana Patitz Dies At 56

Posted January 11, 2023 by with 1 comment

She was considered one of the world’s first supermodels and famously appeared in George Michael’s iconic “Freedom! ’90” video, but Tatjana Patitz has sadly died of breast cancer at the age of 56. Via Vogue:

Tatjana Patitz, the quietest and perhaps the most intense of the original supermodels, has died. She was 56. A representative for the family stated that the cause of death was metastatic breast cancer.

“I never sold my soul,” Patitz said in a 2020 interview. Born in Hamburg to an Estonian mother and German father, she moved with her family to Skanör, an idyllic seaside town in the South of Sweden when she was quite young. In 1983, as a 17-year-old tomboy and competitive horse rider, she entered an Elite Model Contest in Stockholm. She placed third in Sweden. The prize was a trip to Paris and a limited-time contract. But, as Vogue wrote in 1988, “a star was not quickly born. Tatjana found no work for a year.”

Enter Peter Lindbergh, the fairy godfather of Patitz’s career. The German photographer, noted for his unretouched images and preference for a “natural” beauty look, would shoot Patitz for the famous image, “White Shirts: Six Supermodels, Malibu,” in 1988, and again for British Vogue’s January 1990 supermodels cover. When George Michael saw that issue, he invited the same cast of “girls” to appear and lip sync in his “Freedom ’90” music video.


Photos and more on Patitz’s career at the link.

The “Freedom” video, in which Patitz first appears around 3:30, just after Cindy Crawford in that infamous bathtub:

Hide picture