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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Paulina Porizkova

Paulina PorizkovaPaulina Porizkova, born Pavlína Elisa Pořízková, in Prostějov, Czechoslovakia on the 9th of April 1965 is a model, actress and author. Born in Czechoslovakia, she now holds dual U.S. and Swedish citizenship.

She is an actress and director, known for Thursday (1998), Her Alibi (1989) and Arizona Dream (1993).

In 1984, at the age of just 18 years old, she became the first woman from Central Europe to be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

She was the second woman - right after Christie Brinkley, to be featured on the swimsuit issue's front cover in consecutive years (1984 and 1985) and she was a member of the judging panel of America's Next Top Model in Cycles 10–12.

Born in Prostějov, Czechoslovakia, Porizkova was a toddler when her parents fled Czechoslovakia and immigrate to Lund, Sweden, to escape the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion.

She was left temporarily in the care of her grandmother, but Czechoslovak authorities would not allow her parents to reclaim her.

The ensuing legal battle was widely publicized in the Swedish press, making Porizkova a cause célèbre.

After a failed rescue attempt, in which her pregnant mother entered Czechoslovakia and was shortly detained by the national police and placed under house arrest, international political pressure led by Olof Palme caused the communist government to allow the Pořízek family to be reunited after seven years.

Paulina PorizkovaPorizkova acquired Swedish citizenship. But the reunion was shortlived when Porizkova's father left the family, and her parents filed for divorce.

Her father refused to pay child support for Paulina and her younger brother, so Porizkova and her father have been estranged since her youth.

Her mother, a midwife, remarried at least twice and as of 2010 was reported to be serving in the Peace Corps in Uganda.

In an Instagram post, dated 28 November 2017, Porizkova was thirteen years old when she shared a photo that got the attention of modeling scout John Casablancas.

One of her friends, who wanted to be a makeup artist, painted Porizkova's face, along with other friends, and sent the photographs to modeling agencies in Paris in the hopes of getting hired.

"Soon after, a modeling agent called inviting me to Copenhagen to meet the famed model scout John Casablancas.

He took one look at me and asked: 'want to go to Paris?' As if I'd say no! The rest, as they say, is history."

Paulina PorizkovaPorizkova 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.

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 had been in 1983).

She appeared on the cover and inside New York Magazine in July, 1985. Harper's Bazaar named her one of its ten most beautiful women in 1992 and American Photo magazine in its first issue declared her to be the model of the 1980s.

Porizkova appeared on the covers of numerous magazines around the world during the 1980s and 1990s, including Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Self, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour and others.

She has been featured in advertising campaigns for Chanel, Versace, Hermes, Christian Dior, Oscar De La Renta, Mikimoto, Perry Ellis, Laura Biagiotti, Anne Klein, Ellen Tracy, Barneys New York, Ann Taylor, Guerlain, and Revlon and appeared on the runway for Calvin Klein.

In 1988, Porizkova won what was then the highest-paying modeling contract: a $6,000,000 contract with Estée Lauder, replacing Willow Bay.

Paulina PorizkovaThe black-and-white television and print advertising campaign won praise from critics.

Estée Lauder had transformed Porizkova's public image from a swimsuit model to that of European sophisticate and she remained the company's face until 1995.

She soon landed another multimillion-dollar contract, with Escada. She was presented on the November 1999 Millennium cover of American Vogue as one of the "Modern Muses."

Porizkova was a member of the panel of judges on America's Next Top Model (ANTM), starting on Cycle 10, replacing fashion icon Twiggy.

Porizkova continued to conduct regular weekly evaluations of ANTM participants on the show until she announced during a 12th of May 2009, appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson that she had been fired from the show.

Although Porizkova maintained she was told by producers that she had an "ego problem," especially when she "consistently complained" about Tyra Banks' reported lateness to the set.

ANTM executive producer Ken Mok and Banks released a statement claiming Porizkova's firing was really due to "the current state of the economy," forcing ANTM to "make major budget cutsand that unfortunately, Paulina was a casualty of these cuts."

Paulina PorizkovaWhen questioned by ABC news journalist Cynthia McFadden about the firing of Porizkova as well as former ANTM colleague, Janice Dickinson, both of whom had complained Banks was "difficult," Banks refused to address the issue.

Porizkova was a participant on Dancing with the Stars in the spring of 2007 but was voted off on the first results show which aired on 27th of March 2007.

In 2009 and 2010, she played Clarissa on about five episodes of the CBS Daytime soap opera As the World Turns.

Porizkova appeared in the fourth episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories' second season and she appeared on Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes.

Porizkova's film debut was in the 1983 modeling mockumentary named Portfolio. She also appeared in the 1987 film Anna.

In 1989, she co-starred with Tom Selleck in the film Her Alibi. Unfortunately, she was nominated for a Golden Raspberry for worst actress for her appearance in the film.

Porizkova appeared in Emir Kusturica's 1993 film Arizona Dream, with Johnny Depp and Jerry Lewis, in a minor role as Lewis's young Polish fiancée.

She had the main female role in the 1998 film Thursday. Porizkova wrote and directed the 2001 film, Roommates. In 2004, she starred in the romantic comedy Knots.

Paulina PorizkovaShe appeared in an episode of the Starz comedy series Head Case which aired on the 24th of April 2009.

She appeared in a 6th-season episode of Desperate Housewives, "Chromolume No. 7", alongside model Heidi Klum.

She appeared on the ABC Family drama-comedy series Jane by Design in an episode which aired on the 6th of March 2012, and made a guest appearance on The Mysteries of Laura in February 2015.

Porizkova co-authored a children's book, The Adventures of Ralphie the Roach (ISBN 978-0385424028) with British model Joanne Russell and illustrated by stepson Adam Ocasek, that was published in September 1992.

She published her first novel, A Model Summer (ISBN 978-1401303266; Modellsommar in Swedish), in 2007, which is about a 15-year-old Swedish girl (Jirina) chosen by a modeling agent to spend a summer working in Paris in 1980. Porizkova is a blogger for Modelinia and The Huffington Post.

Porizkova loves to copy oil-painting masterpieces from museums, using pastel sticks and a sketchpad. Her father and grandfather were both painters. She also loves playing classical piano, especially anything by Chopin.

Paulina enjoys reading classical literature in her spare time and is fluent in four languages.

On the 23rd of August 1989, Porizkova married Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the rock band The Cars.

Paulina PorizkovaThey had met in 1984 during the filming of The Cars' music video "Drive". The couple have two sons, Jonathan Raven Ocasek, who was born on the 4th of November 1993, and Oliver Ocasek, who was born in 1999.

In May 2018, Porizkova announced she and Ocasek had separated a year earlier. Sadly, on the 15th of September of 2019, while caring for Ocasek following an unspecified surgery, she found him dead in his home. The couple had been married for 30 years.

Porizkova and Ocasek were still in the process of their divorce, but he had disinherited her in a new will, alleging that before his recent surgery she had abandoned him.

He also disinherited two of his six sons. A probate judge will have to rule on the veracity of the abandonment claims, then on the way the remaining estate is to be divided.

Porizkova is the subject of the song "Friends of P" by The Rentals on their 1995 album, Return of the Rentals, written by lead singer Matt Sharp.

She was the subject of "Paulina" on No Doubt's eponymous first album and "Dear Paulina", written and performed by Luna for the film Thursday, in which she appeared.

She's one of several women referenced in Sonic Youth's song "Swimsuit Issue," from the 1992 album Dirty.

Paulina PorizkovaSince the death of estranged husband Ric Ocasek in September 2019, Paulina Porizkova has turned to social media to speak candidly with her fans about her mental health, from her history of anxiety, to having conflicted feelings about aging, to processing grief.

In her most recent posts, Porizkova has spoken of being depressed, which she’s likened to “paddling a canoe in a stormy sea.”

While Porizkova has shared that Ocasek’s health woes, and subsequent death, brought on her most recent depressive episodes, in an unreserved post she admitted that she initially experienced depression in response to feeling dissatisfied in her marriage to the Cars lead singer.

The gorgeous 55-year-old star opened up about the relationship and its impact on her mental health in an Instagram caption accompanying a selfie that shows her looking emotionally drained.

A recent controversy arose when Liz Hurley posted a topless photo of herself on social media and recieved numerous negative responses admonishing her about 'acting her age'.

The image in question was a quite tasteful image of Hurley looking, quite honestly, far better and younger than most of her detractors would likely look in a similar photo.

It hit home with Ms Porizkova who then took a similar photo of herself looking just as youthful and beautiful and posted it on Instagram in support of Elizabeth Hurley with the following caption:

Paulina PorizkovaPut your clothes on? Today, on a serious note, thoughts inspired by the brouhaha around a sexy photo of @elizabethhurley1...

When I was in my twenties and thirties, the less I wore - the more popular I was.

In my forties, I could walk around practically naked and illicit nothing more than a ticket for public indecency.

At fifty, I am reviled for it. “Put on your clothes, grandma. Hungry for attention, are you? A little desperate here? You’re pathetic.”

Why is sexiness and nudity applauded in a woman’s youth and reviled in her maturity?

Because of men. Men are biologically programmed to spread their seed, inserting themselves into fertile containers which advertise their viability through youth.

What does this say for men who do not want children? Men who have all the kids they wanted? Men who don’t want kids right this second?

Unevolved - And what does this say for women like myself, who need to be validated by the male gaze?

Insecure - The only thing that is pathetic here is allowing others to set your priorities.

Paulina PorizkovaI had my first panic attack at the age of ten. I didn’t know what it was, I thought I was dying. I told no one and I just expected to die, which of course made the anxiety worse.

It was my husband who diagnosed my anxiety when we met, because he had it too. And together , we learned to live with it. WIth this damp, uncomfortable secret out in the daylight, it didn’t disappear, but it was easier to manage.

But something shifted in my early forties and when the anxiety became unmanageable, I turned to medications. (Wrote an article about it for Huffington Post).

In hindsite, I now think my body was trying to tell me what I figured out a bit later: my marriage had become a rock I kept trying to roll uphill by myself. This was anxiety. Not depression.

Depression happened to me AFTER I weaned off the meds. By then I understood why I was depressed. I was lonely. I wasn’t desired or wanted by anyone, career or private life.

It was a situational depression. A depression with the cause. I decided to act on the cause instead of the symptoms. But events don’t always have a happy ending, however hard one works, or how long one tries.

It’s not a failure, it’s a lesson. Now, freed from the responsibilities that were forcing me forward, I stand still, and HAVE to feel.

Have to acknowledge where I am and why I am here and take stock and decide where I want to go and with whom.

Paulina PorizkovaI have read so much advice from you guys. Thank you for your compassion and care! We all have individual approaches to mending things, whether it’s with Jesus or meds or self help books or meditation, or combinations, it all comes down to whatever works for YOU.

There is no particular system guaranteed for all. I’m finding my way out of the tunnel, one little step at the time.

I used to think the word “feminist” reeked of insecurity. A woman who needed to state that she was equal to a man might as well be shouting that she was smart or brave. If you were, you wouldn’t need to say it. I thought this because back then, I was a Swedish woman.

I was 9 when I first stepped into a Swedish school. Freshly arrived from Czechoslovakia, I was bullied by a boy for being an immigrant.

My one friend, a tiny little girl, punched him in the face. I was impressed. In my former country, a bullied girl would tattle or cry.

I looked around to see what my new classmates thought of my friend’s feat, but no one seemed to have noticed.

It didn’t take long to understand that in Sweden, my power was suddenly equal to a boy’s.

In Czechoslovakia, women came home from a long day of work to cook, clean and serve their husbands. In return, those women were cajoled, ignored and occasionally abused, much like domestic animals.

Paulina PorizkovaBut they were mentally unstable domestic animals, like milk cows that could go berserk you if you didn’t know exactly how to handle them.

In Sweden, the housekeeping tasks were equally divided. Soon my own father was cleaning and cooking as well. Why? He had divorced my mother and married a Swedish woman.

As high school approached, the boys wanted to kiss us and touch us, and the girls became a group of benevolent queens dispensing favors.

The more the boys wanted us, the more powerful we became. When a girl chose to bestow her favors, the lucky boy was envied and celebrated. Slut shaming? What’s a slut?

Condoms were provided by the school nurse without question. Sex education taught us the dangers of venereal diseases and unwanted pregnancy, but it also focused on fun stuff like masturbation.

For a girl to own her sexuality meant she owned her body, she owned herself. Women could do anything men did, but they could also - when they chose to - bear children.

And that made us more powerful than men. The word “feminist” felt antiquated; there was no longer a use for it.

Paulina PorizkovaWhen I moved to Paris at 15 to work as a model, the first thing that struck me was how differently the men behaved. They opened doors for me, they wanted to pay for my dinner. They seemed to think I was too delicate, or too stupid, to take care of myself.

Instead of feeling celebrated, I felt patronized. I claimed my power the way I had learned in Sweden: by being sexually assertive. But Frenchmen don’t work this way.

In discos, I’d set my eye on an attractive stranger, and then dance my way over to let him know he was a chosen one. More often than not, he fled. And when he didn’t run, he asked how much I charged.

In France, women did have power, but a secret one, like a hidden stiletto knife. It was all about manipulation: the sexy vixen luring the man to do her bidding.

It wasn’t until I reached the United States, at 18, and fell in love with an American man that I truly had to rearrange my cultural notions.

It turned out most of America didn’t think of sex as a healthy habit or a bargaining tool. Instead, it was something secret. If I mentioned masturbation, ears went red. Orgasms? Men made smutty remarks, while women went silent.

There was a fine line between the private and the shameful. A former gynecologist spoke of the weather when doing a pelvic exam, as if I were a Victorian maiden who’d rather not know where all my bits were.

Paulina PorizkovaIn America, a woman’s body seemed to belong to everybody but herself. Her sexuality belonged to her husband, her opinion of herself belonged to her social circles, and her uterus belonged to the government.

She was supposed to be a mother and a lover and a career woman (at a fraction of the pay) while remaining perpetually youthful and slim. In America, important men were desirable. Important women had to be desirable. That got to me.

In the Czech Republic, the nicknames for women, whether sweet or bitter, fall into the animal category: little bug, kitten, old cow, swine.

In Sweden, women are rulers of the universe. In France, women are dangerous objects to treasure and fear. For better or worse, in those countries, a woman knows her place.

But the American woman is told she can do anything and then is knocked down the moment she proves it. In adapting myself to my new country, my Swedish woman power began to wilt.

I joined the women around me who were struggling to do it all and failing miserably. I now have no choice but to pull the word “feminist” out of the dusty drawer and polish it up.

My name is Paulina Porizkova, and I am a feminist.

Paulina posted some selfies showing what “she really looks like" to inspire her followers to practice self-love.

In a lengthy caption, she noted how far she's come on changing her way of thinking: "I used to think gray hair was aging, that it was a sign of giving in to being old, but thanks to many glorious and rocking hot women on Instagram, I’ve changed my vision to gray hair being sexy and confident."

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Select Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1987 Anna Krystyna
1989 Her Alibi Nina Lonescu
1993 Arizona Dream Millie
1996 Female Perversions Langley Flynn
1996 Wedding Bell Blues Tanya Touchev
1998 Long Time Since Diane Thwaite
1998 Thursday Dallas
2000 The Intern Herself Cameo
2004 Knots Lily Kildear
2012 About Face: The Supermodels, Then and Now Herself Documentary
2017 Kevyn Aucoin Beauty & The Beast in Me Herself Documentary
Year Title Role Notes
1987 Saturday Night Live Herself "Bronson Pinchot" (season 12: episode 11)
2008–2010 America's Next Top Model Judge Judge for cycles 10–12
2009–2010 As the World Turns Clarissa
2010 Desperate Housewives Herself
2015 The Mysteries of Laura Charlotte Bernice
2016 Ana
2017 Bull Nella Wester Episode: "Dressed to Kill"
Music Videos
Year Title Role Notes
1987 "Hungry Eyes" Herself Paulina Porizkova Herself is sexy in Her Glamorous Formal Dress & Her Magenta Wrap Outfit to make her Gorgeous, Sexy & Daring She is among with The Movie "Dirty Dancing" whom she's not appeared on the same film in 1987.


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