Heidi Klum was born in Bergisch Gladbach, a small city near Cologne, ×Germany, in 1973. Her career as a top fashion model and swimsuit star began almost by accident when, on a lark, she submitted photos to a model competition hosted by Petra, a young woman's magazine. Klum won the competition, and signed with Metropolitan, the German modeling agency. After modeling in Europe for a few years to great success, she went to the United States to pursue modeling there, and met with more success, culminating in her relationship with Victoria's Secret. This brought her to the pinnacle of modeling and, in 1998, the coveted cover of Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue, cementing her status as one of the world's top models. Along with that came lucrative marketing opportunities, including her own signature lines of sandals, jewelry, and perfume.