As celebrated supermodel Tatjana Patitz passes away after a battle with breast cancer, we revisit which models made featured appearances in George Michael’s Freedom ’90 music video.
German model Tatjana Patitz’s career started when she was just 17 years old, after winning an Elite Model Contest. She rose to celebrity as one of the supermodels of the 1990s, alongside the likes of Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell.
On Wednesday, January 11, Vogue shared the news of Patitz’s death with an obituary in which Patitz was described as “the quietest and perhaps the most intense of the original supermodels.” Tatjana Patitz was just 56 years old at the time of her death.
In light of her passing, we revisit one of the most iconic moments from Tatjana Patitz’s modelling career, as well as the models who were there to join her for the Freedom ’90 music video.
George Michael had a supermodel line-up in his music video
Freedom ’90, stylized Freedom! 90, was one of the biggest hits of George Michael’s solo career. The late singer released the track as a single for his second solo album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990).
Michael did not wish to be featured in the music video and so cast several of the decades biggest supermodels in his stead. At this point in his career, fame and celebrity was getting to George Michael. He refused to participate in music videos and photoshoots as a result.
Who were the models in George Michael’s Freedom ’90 music video?
George Michael recruited five of the biggest supermodels in the world of that year to lip sync the lyrics of Freedom ’90. He selected the models who were featured on Peter Lindbergh’s iconic January 1990 cover of British Vogue. These are the models featured in the music video:
The five supermodels were also joined by five male models who were well-known in the industry: Scott Benoit, John Pearson, Peter Formby, and Todo Segalla. All the models were joined by fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti in the music video.
Tatjana Patitz is the only of the ten models featured in the video to have passed away. All five supermodels went on to have significant careers in the fashion industry, as did Mario Sorrenti who is still working as a photographer. The male models worked in the 1990s but have since turned away from their younger careers as models.
Tatjana Patitz and the other models knew George Michael before the video
When the 25th anniversary of the Freedom ’90 music video rolled around, the starring supermodels spoke to Vogue about shooting the project.
Patitz revealed that she and the other four supermodels had all met Michael prior to the shoot. “All the models and I knew George Michael—I think I had done a photo shoot with him at some point before. His manager contacted my agent to see if I could do the video,” Patitz explained.
David Fincher was the director of the video and Patitz had nothing but praise for how it turned out: “When you’re doing something, you don’t know what it’s going to look like, but they way they cut it together, with all the close-ups, is amazing. It was shot on film, which to me is so romantic.”
George Michael’s Freedom models pay tribute to Tatjana Patitz
Since news of her passing broke, a number of the models featured in George Michael’s Freedom ’90 video have paid tribute to Tatjana Patitz.
Christy Turlington posted a lengthy tribute to the late model on Instagram, sharing memories from their work together. Turlington described Patitz as having a “European sophistication and style,” going on to state that “Tatjana was always a vision. Glamorous, sophisticated, and warm.”
Cindy Crawford also posted a tribute to Patitz, writing: “I found her soft-spoken, sensitive, kind, inquisitive and, who could ever forget those piercing eyes. Her love of animals and nature was infectious.”