We’ve featured countless women who epitomize beauty and brains on TCLB before, and Petra Nemcova is yet another prime example of this intersection. The supermodel, and former Dancing with the Stars contestant, is known not only for her glamorous career, but also for her incredible strength which the world became familiar with after she survived the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, despite suffering horrific injuries and loosing her long time love in the natural disaster. These days Petra represents beauty, brains, strength and so much more! Did we mention that she couldn’t be nicer? We caught up with the supermodel/superwoman at La Perla as she celebrated the launch of her Be The Light Candle Collection benefiting her foundation, the Happy Hearts Fund, which rebuilds schools in communities affected by natural disasters.
We’re so excited to be here celebrating your amazing foundation tonight! Will you tell us a bit about the Happy Hearts Fund?
The Happy Hearts Fund is a foundation I started after being blessed with surviving the 2004 tsunami. At first we went back to Thailand to build one school, and now seven and a half years later we’ve built 85 schools in 7 countries around the world. December 26th this year makes the 10th anniversary of the tsunami, and our goal is to rebuild 100 schools by then.
Yes, it’s a team of amazing people coming together!
So does each one of these candles represent a location where you’ve built schools?
Yes! We have American Bluebell Bliss, Indonesian Patchouli Peace, Czech Holiday Cookie, Spanish Saffron Heat, Mexico Cacao Mystique, and Haitian Hibiscus Breeze. So those are the locations where we have schools, and I’ve been blessed to travel to them for work with the Happy Hearts Fund, and each time I go I talk to them and they tell me what they’re most proud of in their culture, and they bring me to markets, so each candle is about bringing treasures from travel into your home and life, and learning more about the country.
You’ve become such a symbol of strength and a role model for persevering through difficult times, what advice would you give to someone going through something difficult?
I’ve found that personally the most practical advice, and applicable to any situation is that no matter how bad it looks there must be at least 5%, or even just 1%, positive. So it’s all about focusing on the positive rather than the negative. You can make yourself stronger, and make others stronger too because positive attracts positive. You can always find things to be thankful for. For example, when I was in the hospital [after the tsunami] and couldn’t walk I had to say to myself maybe I can’t walk, but I have my eyes, I can hear, I have my arms. Maybe I lost my partner but I still have my family and friends. There’s always so much to be grateful for!
What exciting projects are on the horizon for you?
This year our brand is launching in Bloomingdale’s, and Bloomingdale’s home. Then there are always modeling projects! I’m part of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit legends shoot, and I’m an ambassador for Chopard, and Clinique.
Speaking of Clinique, do you have any beauty secrets you’re willing to share?
It’s actually two Clinique products that I can’t live without! The Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, it’s like a deep cream, I use it every night especially when I travel, it really hydrates the skin, it’s my lifesaver! Then the other one would be the All About Eyes Serum, it takes away the puffiness. Those are the two things I have to have at all times!
Now, since we’re here at La Perla, with all these candles around… When do you feel your sexiest?
Well I’ve been a big fan of La Perla since the beginning! When I was first starting to make money, the first good money I made I spent on La Perla. So La Perla will definitely make you feel sexy, there’s no question about it! Then, I think it’s about state of mind. You have to be able to escape the busyness of the day to feel sexy. You have to feel confident and beautiful!
Favorite Vacation Destination Haiti | Favorite Band/Singer U2 and Prince | Favorite Movie Life is Beautiful | Guilty Pleasure Chocolate | Favorite Book Conversations with god, which is nothing about religion, but about understanding yourself. It’s Beautiful! Life Transforming! | Favorite Designer There are too many! | Favorite Photo Shoot/Runway Show Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and Valentino | Bad Habit Working too much | Heels or Flats? Flats
[Photos By Hallie Duesenberg]