Real name: Petra Nemcova
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Petra Němcová (born June 24, 1979 in Karviná (now Czech Republic); pronounced Nyemtzovah) is a fashion supermodel and; founder and president of Happy Hearts Fund. In December 2004, she was injured in Thailand by a tsunami resulting from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake; her then-fiancé, Simon Atlee, was killed in the tsunami.
Her father was a mason and her mother, a teacher. She became a model after being spotted at the age of 16 during a national talent search .
She was featured on the cover of the 2003 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and has also modeled for Victoria's Secret, and for many other companies in the women's clothing market. On June 3, 2004, she was one of the telecast judges during the 53rd annual Miss Universe competition in Quito, Ecuador.
During the Indian Ocean earthquake of December 26, 2004, Petra was at the Khao Lak resort in Thailand with her main photographer and fiancé, Simon Atlee when a tsunami struck where they were staying. Initially, Atlee was presumed missing, but his body was found and identified on March 3, 2005, on the shores of Sumatra (near the epicenter of the earthquake that caused the Tsunami).
Atlee was killed by drowning, and Němcová suffered a broken pelvis and serious internal injuries, but she managed to hold onto the top of a palm tree, reportedly for eight hours, until she was rescued by Thai civilians and airlifted to an inland hospital nearby. Petra spent three weeks in a Thai hospital, and then flew home to the Czech Republic, where she spent an additional three weeks in the hospital. Atlee's body was not found until over two months after the tsunami. Petra's first interview after her near-death experience was with Diane Sawyer on ABC's Primetime Live, on March 9, 2005. She has also spoken of her experiences on the "Coady Read Live" program on CNN.
In 2005, Nemcova started The Happy Hearts Fund, a charitable campaign after her miraculous survival and recovery from the Tsunami of 2004. It aims to advocate and provide for disadvantaged youngsters who have had to endure hardship and who are not receiving the essential and sustainable help they need for healthy childhood development. It actively partners with charities, donors and foundations committed to providing immediate, tangible assistance for children.
Glamour magazine awarded Němcová a "Survivor Award" in 2005 for the way she picked up her life following her tsunami ordeal; her comeback being complete with her appearance in the 2006 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She also appeared in the 2007 British FHM calendar as Miss May. She is now the host of TLC's A Model Life.
She wrote Love Always, Petra (ISBN 0446579130) published December 2005, which tells of her early life under Communist rule in Czechoslovakia, her entrance into the field of fashion and modeling, and her breakthrough into Sports Illustrated, which was her springboard to becoming a supermodel. She also tells of her life with Simon Atlee and how they fell in love and became engaged to marry.
On July 7, 2007 she was a presenter at the American leg of Live Earth. She is currently working with HP computers to produce a multi-million dollar TV and web campaign.
In July of 2007 Nemcova has become a vegan after learning about the planet’s rapidly depleting fish stocks. The Czech Republic born model gave up meat and dairy in February.