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Paulina Porizkova

Paulina Porizkova

Country : Czech Republic

Height : 180 cm

Measurements : 87-59-90

Paulina Porizkova (born April 9, 1965) is a Czech-born supermodel and actress. She holds both Swedish and United States citizenship.

Born in Prostejov (now in the Czech Republic), Paulína Porízková was still a toddler when her father and mother left Czechoslovakia, fleeing the Soviet invasion in 1968, and moved to Lund in southern Sweden. They left Paulina and her younger brother Joachym under the care of their grandmother, believing that the children could be brought out later.

However, the Czechoslovak authorities would not allow this, and the ensuing battle for Paulina was widely publicised in the Swedish press, making her a cause célèbre. After a failed rescue attempt, in which her mother was detained by the Czechoslovak police, international political pressure led by Olof Palme caused the communist government to allow the Porizkova family to be reunited after seven years. The reunion was soon ended when the husband left, and the couple filed for divorce. Father and daughter have been estranged since.

This left Paulina's mother to fund her own medical education, leaving the two children very much to fend for themselves, including having to steal bread to have something to eat. Paulina hated her time in Sweden, as she was harassed by her peers for her poverty-stricken political refugee status.

A photographer friend took pictures of Porizkova and sent them to the Elite modeling agency in 1980. At 5 feet 10 1/2 inches (180 cm), she was the perfect height for a fashion model. Elite head John Casablancas noticed Porizkova's attractiveness and potential, and offered her a ticket to Paris. It was an extremely tempting offer for a teenager who was eager to get out of Sweden and to support herself.

She quickly rose to become a top model in Paris during the early 1980s, and her fame spread to the United States when she posed in swimwear for "Sports Illustrated" magazine. She appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1984 and again in 1985. (Her first appearance as a model in the magazine was in 1983.) A third consecutive run as the S.I. covergirl supposedly was dashed when she appeared on the cover of Life magazine in a swimsuit.

Playboy, August 1987 Porizkova appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine in August 1987 to preview her new (non-nude) swimsuit calendar. A few years earlier she had appeared in a nude spread in GQ magazine, which had left her feeling dissatisfied.

Both of her calendars in 1988 and 1989 by photographer Marco Glaviano sold hundreds of thousands of copies, setting a standard that paved the way for other models like Cindy Crawford and Frederique for their own pictorial calendars.

Porizkova was chosen twice by People magazine as one of the Fifty Most Beautiful People in the world, in 1990 and 1992. Harper's Bazaar magazine named her one of its ten most beautiful women in 1992. American Photo magazine in its first issue declared her to be the model of the 1980s. She appeared on the covers of numerous magazines around the world during the 1980s and 1990s, including appearances on Vogue, ELLE, Harper's Bazaar, Self, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour. She also featured in advertising for Diet Sprite.

In 1988, Porizkova won what was then the highest-paying modeling contract: a six million dollar per year contract with Estee Lauder cosmetics, replacing the model Willow Bay. Estee Lauder's strategy in the late 1980s was to move away from working-class women and target young, sophisticated, upperclass women. The black-and-white television and print advertising campaign won praise from critics, and the Estee Lauder makeover transformed Porizkova's public image from a swimsuit model to that of European sophisticate. In 1995 Porizkova was replaced by Elizabeth Hurley, as Estee Lauder aimed for a younger, less sophisticated market.

Porizkova has appeared in the books Models and Sirens, by Marco Glaviano, and in Fashion Photography by Patrick Demarchelier. The latter includes some of the noted LIFE magazine swimsuit pictures from several years ago). She was also in Women by Herb Ritts.

During her early modeling career, Porizkova had noticeable gaps between her front teeth. For this reason, she usually appeared with a closed mouth rather than a smile during the period. One writer noted that her teeth were an eccentricity in an otherwise perfect face. The rarity of her smile became a trademark for her during that period of her career. Her gapped teeth were corrected (and filmed) during her movie debut Anna. Her other trademark was her "dreamy look", which she claims came from her squinting at the camera because of her extreme nearsightedness.

After bearing her first baby, Porizkova devoted less and less time to modeling, and she moved into acting in independent films. She soon got a new contract as the lead model for Escada. In early 2001, she was the hostess for a television show on the E! network's Style Channel. In 2005, she made her first appearance in the noted Victoria's Secret catalogue.

Although she had had an extraordinary career as a model, Porizkova was known to make disparaging remarks about the fashion and beauty industry, displeasing some in the field.


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