Klum became internationally known for her appearances on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In 1997 she became the first German model to become a Victoria's Secret Angel. Following a successful modeling career, Klum gained acclaim as the host and judge of the reality show Project Runway which earned her an Emmy nomination in 2008. She has worked as a spokesmodel for Dannon and H & M, and has appeared in numerous commercials for McDonald's, Volkswagen and others.
In 2009, Klum became Barbie's official ambassador on Barbie's 50th anniversary. As an occasional actress, she had supporting roles in movies including Blow Dry (2001), Ella Enchanted (2004), and made cameo appearances on The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and Perfect Stranger (2007). She has also appeared on TV shows including Sex and the City and How I Met Your Mother.
In May 2011, Forbes magazine estimated Klum's total earnings for that year as $20 million. She is ranked second on Forbes' list of the "World's Top-Earning Models", behind Gisele Bündchen. Forbes noted that since ending her 13-year run as a Victoria's Secret Angel, Klum has become more of a businesswoman than a model. She was married to English singer Seal from 2005 until 2012.