Do you know who Helene Boshoven Samuel is? How about Leni Klum? Both names refer to the 16-year-old daughter of supermodel Heidi Klum. The spitting image of her mother, Leni recently kicked off her own modeling career by appearing with her mom on the cover of the January 2021 cover of Vogue Germany. Here’s everything you need to know about this gorgeous young newcomer.
Leni Klum Is Heidi Klum’s Daughter
Helene Boshoven Samuel, also known as Leni Klum, was born in New York on May 4, 2004. Her mom is 47-year-old Heidi Klum, the world-famous German-born model and TV host who’s appeared on shows like Project Runway and America’s Got Talent.
Leni has three half-siblings—Henry, 15, Johan, 14, and Lou, 11—from her mom’s marriage to the singer Seal. Despite the fact that Leni is not biologically related to Seal, she was raised with her siblings and was adopted by Seal when she was five years old. Though Seal and Heidi Klum eventually split, the Crazy singer is still Leni’s legal father.
Leni Klum’s Biological Father Wasn’t Around During Her Life
Leni’s biological father is businessman Flavio Briatore, who was in a relationship with Heidi Klum from 2003 until 2004. The pair broke up before Leni was born and Briatore did not play an active role in his daughter’s life. “Leni was born when Heidi and I had already split,” he told Italian magazine Il Corriere della Sera as reported by the Daily Mail. “Heidi was living in Los Angeles and I was in London, the distance between us was unbridgeable… We used to speak on the phone two hours a day, but it wasn’t enough. She needed to stay with her mum.”
Luckily, the 70-year-old says was happy to have Seal take his place. “Leni is my natural daughter, but the three of us happily agreed that it made more sense if Seal adopted her, because a child needs to grow up in a family,” he said. “‘Heidi, Seal and I have built an amazing relationship.”
Briatore, who also dated supermodel Naomi Campbell, has a son named Nathan with his current wife, Italian fashion model and TV host Elisabetta Gregoraci.
It doesn’t appear as though there’s any ill will between Briatore and his estranged daughter. In 2018, he was spotted embracing Leni and joining the rest of her family for a meal in Italy.
As for Leni’s relationship with her mom, she says it’s always been tight. “I feel like we’re besties and I tell her everything,” the young model said in her interview with Vogue.
Leni Klum Always Wanted To Be A Model Like Her Mother
Young Leni says that following in her mom’s footsteps was always her goal in life. “It was only a matter of time before I would try to become a model myself,” she said in a 2020 interview with Vogue. “The first offer came when I was only 12 or 13, from a brand I liked to wear: Brandy Melville. At that time I begged my mother, but no chance. Now I understand that it would have been too early.”
Despite having had a positive experience as a model herself, Heidi Klum had been reluctant to let her daughter get in front of the camera. “The industry is great and I love it and I’ve been in it for over 20 years but it’s also, it’s a lot of traveling, it’s different,” Heidi said in a 2020 interview with People. “You have to be a strong person, especially as a woman you have to be very strong.”
However, Leni recently got her driver’s license, which marked a turning point in her mom’s eyes when it comes to modeling. “She’s old enough now,” Klum explained to People. “I always thought she was too young. We always also decided to keep the children out of the public eye. But she’s driving a car now, she’s 16, so I figured if you can do that, you can also model now if this is what you wish to do.”
Now that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model has finally allowed her daughter to model, Leni says that it’s definitely what she was meant to do. “That’s what’s great about being a model,” the 16-year-old told Vogue. “With most other jobs, I would have to suppress my crazy nature to make a ‘professional’ impression. As a model, I can let everything out and just be who I am. The job is the perfect outlet for all the energy I carry inside me.”