Early life and Education
Petra Nemcova was born in the Czech Republic in 1979 and has one sister, Olga. She holds a degree from London Business School and speaks six languages fluently: English, French, Italian, Slovak, Polish, and Czech.
Petra was discovered at a young age by a model scout in the Czech Republic. At 16, she won the Czech Elite Model Look competition and signed with an agency. She then moved to Milan to focus on her career. Her breakthrough came when she landed the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover in 2003. She was later featured as a host and judge on several modeling shows and competed in Dancing with the Stars in 2011.
Road to success
In 2017, Petra became an advocate of leading a sustainable lifestyle and worked closely with Eco-Age, a global sustainability agency, to create red-carpet looks showcasing the importance of sustainable fashion.
In 2018, she was a judge for Green Carpet Talent at the Green Carpet Awards in Milan. That same year, she was chosen to launch the first Tumi luggage recycled collection and became a brand ambassador for Chopard, a luxury jewelry and watch designer that uses 100% fair-minded gold. In 2020, Petra was named Sustainability Editor for Vogue Czechoslovakia.
In 2004, Petra was on vacation with her fiancé in Thailand when an enormous tsunami hit, injuring her and killing him, as well as hundreds of thousands of others. Her near-death experience was the catalyst for her to found the Happy Hearts Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding schools for children who have been affected by natural disasters.
In 2005, the same year she founded Happy Hearts, she wrote an autobiography entitled, “Love Always, Petra,” the profits of which she pledged to her newly-founded organization.
In 2017, Happy Hearts Foundation merged with All Hands Volunteer to create a new organization, All Hands and All Hearts. The international non-profit seeks to address the immediate and long-term needs of communities affected by natural disasters.
Projects and organizations Petra supports
In 2012, Petra was awarded the James Hammerstein Award at the Make Believe on Broadway gala for her dedication to children in need. In 2017, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) appointed Petra as a Disaster Risk Reduction Champion and Tsunami Awareness Advocate.
Petra also serves on Concordia’s Leadership Council and is on the advisory board of Glamour’s Women of the Year Fund. She has received recognition for her philanthropic work from the United Nations, Women Together, and Do Something.