German model Katrin Thormann was known as the “tall skinny girl” in her native Kiel before she was discovered in Berlin as a teenager. In 2008, she scored back-to-back Vogue Italia covers shot by Steven Meisel. Eight years later, after a brief hiatus from modeling — and with dozens of campaigns and editorials to her credit — Thormann is busier than ever. She also landed a runway spot in Balmain’s fall men’s show. “I’d never walked a men’s show before,” Thormann said. “It was much easier, much more relaxed.”


This story first appeared in the August 3, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Can you recall your first major job?

When I was in high school, I did some minor jobs and test shoots, but nothing too special. Then, I did a shoot in London for Dazed & Confused. That was the start of my career. I got the cover and it was so exciting. It came out right when I was done with high school. I came to New York and did the whole round of shows…first New York, then London, Milan, Paris. I think I was 20 at the time. I started working a lot in New York and became friends with a girl who I’d seen in all of the shows, Iris Strubegger. We rented an apartment together and she’s still my best friend.

I still love the first shoot I did with Steven Meisel — the one for Italian Vogue. It was right in the beginning of my career. We were on the beach, and it was kind of like a movie set.

After a whirlwind couple of years, you took a hiatus from modeling.

I moved back to Germany after three years in New York. I just felt like I needed something else. I studied literature and history. I’m still doing it, but now I’m back in New York and I do everything online and go back to Germany for the exams. I want to finish my degree, but I’m a little slow with it. Whenever I have time, I study.

It was good to stop [modeling] for a little bit. When I came back, I could appreciate it so much more.

What have you learned about yourself through your experiences?

I think it has made me more aware of my body and how I look. And also, it gave me a lot more confidence. In the beginning, when I started, I was very insecure about everything. I didn’t know the business and I didn’t understand what was going on. But modeling made me feel better about myself.

What do you do in your spare time?

What I really like to do is try different fitness classes — my favorite class is Nicole Winhoffer’s [NW Method]. It’s so much fun. She has such good energy. I take classes at NYU, too — I just took a drawing class.

What do you hope to accomplish?

What’s most important for me is school. I want to try different things and figure out exactly where my interests are. That helps with modeling, too. The more things I do, and the more interested I am in other things, the more I can bring to my work.