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Ex-GNTM candidate talks about manipulation and psychological violence on the show

“Germany’s Next Topmodel”
“We weren’t allowed to do anything”: Ex-GNTM model unpacks and speaks of manipulation and psychological violence

“GNTM-Mutti” Heidi Klum is always up for a joke – at least in front of the cameras.

© JOHN ANGELILLO / Picture Alliance

Lijana Kaggwa could have been Germany’s Next Top Model 2020. But in the final, the “relay bitch” surprisingly threw down. In a video, she now raises serious allegations against the production company. Heidi Klum also gets , fat away.

“My first YouTube video after such a long time and then one for which I’m being sued? Well then: Cheers!” With these words it begins that unveiling video of the ex-candidate of “Germany’s Next Top Model” (GNTM) Lijana Kaggwa. In 2020, the 25-year-old took part in the casting show and even made it to the final at the time. Then she suddenly got out, live on television. There was silence about why. Until now. In the video that she has now published, Kaggwa finally speaks plain language. With her revelations, she should have gotten into trouble.

The fact that everything may not be as authentic as the reality show wants the Pro-Sieben viewers to believe is old wine in new bottles. The fake allegation boils up again and again. Lijana Kaggwa is now giving the show’s critics new fodder with their allegations. She wants, she says, to raise awareness of how reality shows really work. In return, she deliberately circumvents parts of her confidentiality. Kaggwa’s allegations are tough. She speaks, among other things, of psychological violence and manipulation.

“Spy” of the production company in the model house?

She tells of a life in Hollywood that sounds more like house arrest in a model house than a great adventure. “We weren’t allowed to go out, not once,” she says. Walking, shopping, sightseeing? Everything is taboo, says Lijana, “we weren’t allowed to do anything”. For three months she was not allowed to use her mobile phone, watch Netflix or listen to the radio – and she was cooped up with 30 strangers. “The production company knows that if they create these circumstances, we will definitely be at each other’s throats at some point.”

In addition, the participants for the GNTM dramaturgy would probably be assigned certain roles. At that time, she was probably assigned the role of the relay bitch and was staged accordingly without being aware of it. “It was all editing and editorial decisions,” she claims. But otherwise nothing would have been left to chance in terms of the quota. She says that the stress level was deliberately kept high so that the candidates were as irritated as possible. In addition, the young women were never alone. A nanny “looked after” the group 24/7 and should be a person of trust. But she worked much more as a kind of spy who reported to the production company.

According to GNTM: From cyberbullying and police protection

Kaggwa had thrown in the towel in front of the camera during a live broadcast. She wanted to set an example with her exit, she reports. “I’m not a victim,” she says. Nevertheless, she also says that she has changed participation in the casting show. “I’m a super confident and happy person. At least I used to be.” She speaks of immense consequences that she has to bear. After the broadcast, she experienced cyberbullying and received a plethora of hate messages. She reads some of them in the video. She also reports anxiety and depression. “I locked myself in my room, had nightmares, hated myself deeply for what I did there, what I said,” she says. Kaggwa was spat on and insulted on the street, her family only cried, and at some point she even found poisoned bait in the garden, which she suspects was intended for her dog. She said she thought about suicide.

Kaggwa’s video is a 28 minute rant. Your remarks could cost the 25-year-old dearly. The broadcaster is currently examining legal steps, GNTM spokeswoman Tina Land told the magazine “Horizont”. The face of the show, Heidi Klum, has not yet commented on the allegations. But, according to Kaggwa, she’s not interested in what happens to her “girls” when they’re not in front of the camera together: “She doesn’t say a word to us when the cameras are off.”

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