He has lived in New York for more than 25 years. The city that never sleeps has long been home to Thomas Hayo (52, “Germanys Next Top Model”).
But his very personal American dream ended on September 11, 2001! Thomas Hayo watched from the terrace of his apartment as two planes flew into the towers of the World Trade Center in quick succession – and the symbol of New York, this symbol of the western world, was cruelly destroyed.
Back then, he instinctively grabbed his camera and took pictures that he cannot forget to this day.
Thomas Hayo is now showing his photos from September 11, 2001 in BILD.
Thomas Hayo about BILD: “Back then I didn’t have a television, I hadn’t seen any pictures. My instinct was to pick up my camera to document the situation. ”
A dangerous undertaking. “The closer we got to Ground Zero, the less we could see, the thicker the dust was on the ground, almost like snow,” says the GNTM juror.
“Faxes and business cards trickled through the air from above. It was surreal, like ‘Twilight Zone’. “
What impact did the attacks have or are having on his life?
“Back then I couldn’t process the pictures for a long time. We were scared. September 11th changed me as a person, New York as a city, the USA and ultimately the whole world. We are feeling the aftermath of the situation in Afghanistan more than ever today.
For the first time, Hayo had the feeling that his life was no longer in his hands, as he looks back on for BILD.
“There was no way out of the city. We didn’t know what happened or how many other planes were still in the air. All we knew was that we were being attacked. ”
What was Hayo’s relationship with the Twin Towers? “I was in love with these twin towers from the start. They were a symbol of freedom, of the American dream. I could see them from my terrace every morning. But then, on September 11th, there was only this huge cloud. “
At 9:53 a.m. the first tower succumbed to the enormous damage and collapsed. About half an hour later the north tower collapsed. The tallest building in New York at the time was suddenly gone.
In contrast to his photos, Thomas Hayo has not been able to look at films to this day. “I still can’t. The tapes are stored. “
In spite of everything, why did he stay in New York?
“New York gave me my career. Until 9/11 it was only high life. With 9/11 America lost its innocence. For me, the sense of community afterwards was significant. The people decided together to cope with the trauma together – and the New Yorkers did it quickly. “