Franziska Knuppe: 'Facing a little headwind is good for you.'

20.07.2017 | Text Laura Sodano | Photo Lukasz Wolejko-Wolejszo

Franziska Knuppe in Potsdam in front of a Mercedes AMG
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Franziska Knuppe graces international fashion magazines, Her face is a popular choice in the world of advertising, and she has worked with brands such as Diane von Fürstenberg, Escada and Vivienne Westwood. Airs and graces? Not a chance! On a tour around Potsdam, the personable Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador shows how she has remained very much a family person.

When Franziska Knuppe was discovered by Wolfgang Joop in Café Haider in Potsdam in 1997, this marked the beginning of an international modelling career. Since then, the charming blonde, who had originally intended to go into hotel management, has spent her time jetting around the world and working with the leading lights of the fashion industry. She has been photographed by Peter Lindbergh, Karl Lagerfeld and Ellen von Unwerth. She has managed to stay grounded in part thanks to her family, with whom she has lived in Potsdam for many years. This is where Franziska Knuppe has preserved a degree of normality in her life. She knows that life is about more than the glitz and glamour of her profession.

Franziska, you were discovered at the age of 22 - quite late for the fashion industry. Were you concerned that your age might prove an obstacle?

Franziska Knuppe: No agency will take you on if they see no potential in you. I have the advantage that I have always looked younger than I actually am. At the beginning of my career, there were some jobs that I couldn't do because the customers thought that I looked too young. Ultimately, it's all about how you come across. Your actual age is then inconsequential.

You completed an apprenticeship in hotel management and had started to study business administration. How difficult was it to give up a secure job for modelling?

When the offer to take part in Elite Model Look Germany came, I decided to simply give it a try. With your high school leaving certificate and a completed apprenticeship under your belt, it's OK to take some time out. Hotel staff are always in desperately short supply, anyway. So I wasn't particularly concerned.

Franziska Knuppe entering Museum Barberini in Potsdam

You have remained true to your home town of Potsdam, despite your international career. What role does your home and family play in your life?

My family is very important to me. In this business, it is particularly important to have people around you who are not connected with the industry and who are honest with you. An alternate opinion is good for you, it keeps your feet firmly on the ground. And my husband and I have always wanted to live in our home town. Potsdam is an oasis of peace for me.

My family is very important to me. In this business, it is particularly important to have people around you who are not connected with the industry and who are honest with you.

Franziska Knuppe

Do you have a ritual to get you back in 'home mode' when you return from jobs and trips?

On account of my daughter, I make sure I am never away for more than a week at a time. When I get home, I first have to greet them all: dog, child, husband - in that order (laughs). I usually put my suitcase away, slip into something comfortable and head for the kitchen. I love cooking, especially for my family. When we sit down for a meal, it gets us talking about everything that's on our minds. It was just the same in my childhood. The older you get, the more you come to appreciate this time spent together. That's what it means to be a family.

How important is it to preserve a degree of privacy? How do you manage this?

There have always been celebrities who live their private lives very much in the public gaze. When you disclose so much about yourself, people can quickly become obtrusive.
My privacy is important to me, and I manage to protect my private sphere pretty well. I do notice that people recognise me when I'm out and about with my family. But they rarely approach me, and those who do are very polite. On holiday once, someone left a note at the reception asking me to leave them an autograph at the end of my stay, saying that they appreciated I was travelling as a private person. If it stays that way, that's fine.

You have a daughter. Would you be in favour of her following in your footsteps?

Subject to certain provisions, yes. It's important to have a good education. Unfortunately, a lot of young girls go about it quite differently nowadays. They want to do this job not because they find the work interesting in itself, but rather as a means to become famous. That's why casting shows are so successful. And yet you can have a full schedule working as a model without all that. I want my daughter to understand that. If she then still wants to go into modelling, she would have my support.

There have always been celebrities who live their private lives very much in the public gaze. When you disclose so much about yourself, people can quickly become obtrusive.

Franziska Knuppe

You are closely involved with charitable causes. Tell us more.

It is often easier to draw attention to a cause with a well-known face. I am happy to put my celebrity status to good use for charity projects, with some running for years, while others are only short-term. I am careful not to take on too many things at the same time, as these projects are a real commitment and I want to really play an active part. It's so rewarding. I was in the Philippines for UNICEF, where I visited nurseries taking in newborns. It was extremely arduous, but in the end I knew why I had put myself through it.


We drove around Potsdam in your Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63. What ties do you have to the brand?

My husband and I have always been Mercedes-Benz drivers. The brand suits me and the vehicles are among the most attractive and safest on the market. It's also great that it's not just a male-oriented brand. Women make up a significant share of the customers, deliberately opting for a certain type of car. I like the way that the She’s Mercedes initiative additionally promotes dialogue among women. That's why I'm happy to be a brand ambassador.

Mercedes-AMG G 63: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 13,8 l/100 km; CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert: 322 g/km.¹

Do you have any plans regarding what you would like to do after your modelling career? Presenting, acting, writing?

I don't think there will be a point where I purposely stop modelling to do something else. My various fields of activity are already very intermingled. As my Facebook profile states: I am a public figure.

Thank you very much for the interview!

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Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

Product may vary after press date on 19.07.2017.

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.