Petra Nemcova Biography

Petra Nemcova is a Czech actress and model who rose to fame after winning a modeling competition at the age of 16. She gained international recognition as the cover model for ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition’ and went on to host and judge modeling shows. However, it was a tragic experience during a vacation in Thailand that inspired her to found the ‘Happy Hearts Foundation’ and dedicate her time to helping children affected by disasters. Petra has also written an autobiography, ‘Love Always, Petra’, where she shares her experiences growing up in a Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia.

Quick Facts

  • Age: 44 Years
  • Family: father – Oldřich Němec, mother – Božena Němcová, siblings – Olga Němcová
  • Born Country: Czech Republic
  • Philanthropists
  • Models
  • Height: 1.78 m

Childhood & Early Life

Petra is one of two children and was very close to her sister Olga growing up. She was discovered as a young teenager when she was walking in Prague by ‘NEXT Model Management’. She moved to Milan, Italy immediately after signing.


Feeling overwhelmed by the glamour industry at such a young age, she moved home to the Czech Republic after her very brief stint in Milan. In 1995, she won the Czech ‘Elite Model Look’ competition at the age of 16. She then returned to Milan to begin modeling seriously.

Starting in 2000, she worked for designers such as Lolita Lempicka, Matthew Williamson, and Michino Koshino. She made her first TV appearance on ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, a British sitcom, a year later.

In 2002, she made her first appearance in the ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.’ A year later, she achieved a major milestone in her career when she appeared on the cover of the magazine.

She was on the panel of judges of the 53rd Miss Universe pageant, held in Ecuador June 2004.

In 2005, she released ‘Love Always, Petra,’ an autobiography where she writes about living under Communist rule in Czechoslovakia as a child. It follows her career from breaking out as a model and living as a supermodel now.

In 2006, she founded the ‘Happy Heart Foundation’ (HHF) to help children recover from natural disaster by rebuilding schools. This was inspired by the tsunami tragedy in Thailand two years earlier.

She was the host of ‘A Model Life’, which was an American reality show that followed a group of models trying to make it in New York City in 2007. The same year, she was a presenter at ‘Live Earth,’ an entertainment convention that focuses on the environment. In 2008, she dabbled in realty, selling two apartments in New York City for around $25 million each. By this time, she had appeared on the covers of ‘Sports Illustrated’, ‘Cosmopolitan’, ‘Elle’, ‘Shape’, ‘Figaro’, ‘Glamour’ and more. She has been featured in campaigns for ‘Victoria’s Secret’, ‘Maidenform’, ‘Playtex’, and ‘John Lewis’, and many more.

In 2012, she served as the face of ‘Only Make Believe’, an organization that performs plays for children in the hospital.

Recently, in January 2015, she became the face of ‘Ultimo’ underwear, replacing Abbey Clancy.

Major Works

She was featured on the cover of ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition’ in 2003, her first big break. She went on to become a supermodel, working for brands such as ‘Victoria’s Secret’ and appearing on the covers of ‘Elle’ and ‘Glamour.’

Following the tsunami, she founded a charity to help children recover from natural disasters. She has dedicated much of her life to this work.

Awards & Achievements

In 2005, Glamour gave her the ‘Survivor Award’ in gratitude of her work after the tsunami the year before.

In 2012, she was awarded the ‘James Hammerstein Award’ at the ‘Make Believe on Broadway’ gala for her support of children in need. Also in the same year, she was named ‘Ambassador-at-Large’ in Haiti for her work there after the tragic earthquake through ‘HHF’.

Personal Life & Legacy

In December 2004, tragedy struck when Němcová was vacationing with her fiancé, Simon Atlee, in Thailand. The infamous tsunami, one of the worst natural disasters of all time, swept the couple out of their hotel room window. Němcová survived by clinging to a palm tree, suffering lacerations and a severely broken pelvis; Atlee was swept out to sea and found dead three months later.

She founded the ‘Happy Heart Foundation’ (HHF) in 2006, an organization aimed to help survivors of natural disasters. They specifically focus on coming in and rebuilding schools after first-responders leave the scene. She was inspired to do this work after her own experience with the tsunami in Thailand.

It is reported that she has dated Sean Penn and James Blunt. In 2012, she broke off her engagement to actor Jamie Belman.

As of 2014, she is happily in a relationship with Laurent Lamothe, the Haitian prime minister.


She has said one of her greatest joys in life is dancing and that she can dance for four to five hours straight without even stopping to drink water. She is extraordinarily multilingual, speaking six languages. She can converse in English, French, Italian, Slovak, Polish, and Czech fluently.

She was on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and placed eighth with her partner Dmitry Chaplin.

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