Tacked on the wall of Anna Ewers’s childhood bedroom is an old black-and-white Calvin Klein ad featuring Kate Moss in a pair of faded jeans and little else. Ewers says she was “probably around 12” when she found the image, flipping through one of her father’s music magazines from 1993.
The date on the cover was what initially caught Ewers’s eye—she was born that same year in Freiburg, Germany, a college town on the edge of the Black Forest mountains, not far from the French/Swiss border. “It was a very different time, but an amazing time for the industry,” says the now-29-year-old model, who bears more than a passing resemblance to another fashion icon of that era (and a fellow German), Claudia Schiffer.
A decade after swiping the ad from her dad’s office, Ewers found herself posing alongside Moss in a 2015 David Yurman campaign. “I was nervous to meet her, but she was very sweet and very, very cool,” Ewers says. A few months later, Models.com named Ewers Model of the Year.
Ewers’s rise has been swift from the start of her career, when a friend she met as an exchange student in Colombia convinced her to give modeling a shot. “In Colombia, there aren’t a lot of tall, blonde people, so I was very obvious,” Ewers says. She figured once she returned to Germany, that would be the end of it, but another friend convinced her to meet with the small agency in her hometown that represents her to this day.
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Not long after, Alexander Wang saw her photo on a blog and invited her to walk in his first Balenciaga show in Paris. And today, she is helping forge a supermodel renaissance alongside an elite group of fashion mononyms (Gigi, Kaia, Adut, et al.), but unlike many of her contemporaries, who rose to fame via Instagram, Ewers remains an enigma. “That’s one thing that makes me wish [we were back] in the ’90s, because there was no social media,” Ewers says with a laugh. “I see my job as a job, and my private life as my private life, and I don’t know why I would have to share my everyday life with everybody else. I don’t want to see that a model drinks coffee in the morning. It’s not very mysterious.”
That might be true, but it’s also a bit of a shame, considering that Ewers’s everyday life—whether she’s climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, hiking from Tuscany to Rome to allay quarantine boredom, or wandering through Marrakech (see: this fashion shoot)—is so damn photogenic. When we talked, she was in New York, but looking forward to a trip to Tuscany to visit her boyfriend: “We trained our dog to be a truffle dog and we just got our license, so I am very excited to find truffles!”
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Hair by David Harborow at Streeters; makeup by Tom Pecheux for Yves Saint Laurent Beauté; model: Anna Ewers at Elite Model; produced by Marie Courtin at 1001 Prods; photographed on location at El Fenn, Marrakech.
This article appears in the March 2022 issue of ELLE.