Leni Klum Says She 'Begged' Mom Heidi Klum to Let Her Model When She Was 11 Years Old

Leni Klum says mom Heidi Klum made her wait until age 16 to join the industry

leni klum
Photo: Leni Klum/Instagram

Leni Klum practiced patience before embarking on her budding modeling career.

During a recent interview with Extra, the 17-year-old daughter of Heidi Klum spoke about her latest cover shoot for Rollacoaster Magazine and revealed that she actually wanted to model a lot sooner than she did. Instead, she says her mom "shut down" ideas of her starting at a younger age.

"I had grown up going to work with my mom," Leni explained of her natural interest in modeling. "Ever since 11 or 12 years old I've been begging her and then finally I turned 16 and she said that I could finally start modeling."

As she now follows in her mother's footsteps, the teenager told the outlet that she's constantly getting tips about navigating the industry.

"She's always telling me I need to have fun… She's always like 'Bounce around, have fun, be energetic, be excited.' "

However, even with Heidi's feedback, Leni is learning how to define her own career, adding that she's "definitely opposite" of her mom, specifically when it comes to her sense of style.

"She calls it grungy, I call it oversized I guess… You'll never catch me in super tight jeans because I don't like wearing things that are uncomfortable… baggy and big," Leni told Extra.

Leni Klum
Leni Klum/Instagram

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Over the past year, Leni's career has took off, landing the covers of Vogue Germany (alongside her supermodel mom) and Glamour Germany (for a solo shot). She also opened Berlin Fashion Week earlier this year and walked in the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda show in August.

In December, Heidi told PEOPLE (the TV show!) she shut down many modeling opportunities that came Leni's way in the past in order to protect her daughter's privacy.

"She's old enough now," the German beauty shared. "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, Heidi is happy to help Leni navigate the way.

"I've been helping her with deals and she has so many things in the pipeline," Heidi told PEOPLE in July. "It's really exciting. She's doing the things I was always dreaming to do!"

Leni Klum, Heidi Klum
Sara Foster/Instagram

Heidi (who also shares children Henry, 15, Johan, 14 and Lou, 11, with her ex Seal) had a proud mom moment last month when she watched her daughter at the Dolce & Gabbana show.

She shared multiple photos and videos of Leni's catwalk strut on Instagram, including a clip when Leni caught her eye while sitting in the front row. "The smile when she sees mom 😁❤️🥰 @leniklum," Heidi said.

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