Supermodel Petra Nemcova Shares Her Journey From Tragedy To Triumph


Supermodel Petra Nemcova is more than just a pretty face and has certainly had her fair share of hardship, not just a glamorous life. In 2004 she lost her fiance during the horrific 2004 Tsunami which hit Thailand, where the two were vacationing. Petra literally clung to life by hanging onto a tree for EIGHT HOURS, while her husband-to-be tragically died.

She had to undergo extensive surgery to rebuild her pelvis which was shattered, not the mention the emotional repair that would take a lot longer. She sat down with Moira Forbes to talk about how she got through that ordeal, and what it was that helped her conquer life again.

It was the advice of one of her doctors which started the healing journey, who said: “Focus on the things you love, the things you are thankful for, things you want to do.”

While she was bound up in a hospital bed, unable to move, Petra tells Forbes it was then she realized the power of choice: was she going to allow life’s difficulties to swallow her up, or fight to become whole again?

“Every experience has its plusses and minuses,” said Nemcova. “If we only focus on the negative, then we go down the spiral. If we can focus on the 5% positive, then we become stronger… And it’s not just that we become stronger, but we can also empower ourselves and others.”

Altogether the 34 year old Czech Republic beauty spend four months in hospital, but it was long enough to impact her in a way that made her want to help others. Moira Forbes said during the interview: “Your tragedy empowered you to become a change agent for the greater good, for thousands of children.”

A year after the disaster, she founded a non-profit which is dedicated to rebuilding schools and improving the lives of children affected by natural disasters. It is called the Happy Hearts Fund.

Petra went on to talk about her career and her many talents. Aside from being one of the world’s most recognizable names in fashion, and have a heart to help others through her non-profit, she is an entrepreneur and started a home decor brand called ‘Be The Light‘ which encompasses her love of travel, design, and philosophies in life.


This is what Petra told Forbes, when she was asked what advice she would give to other aspiring entrepreneurs. We get that this was a question geared toward business minds because, hey, its Forbes magazine, but you can clearly see that her ideas are consistent with every area of her life. She is a true millenial woman who embraces her journey, and allows all her endeavors to be characterized and lead by her passion.

“It’s about having a goal, and in the case of business, a clear vision.  Having a focus…[and a] belief in what you are doing,” says Nemcova. “If you doubt yourself, others will doubt you too. It’s a huge component of creating whatever reality — [whether] it’s creating a business or creating anything else in your life. If you’re passionate about something, you will radiate it.”

When Petra describes her life growing up under a communist regime in Czechoslovakia, she says the things that changed the most when the regime fell was that she had access to freedom, and the opportunity to dream. It’s not hard to see why this woman doesn’t take her opportunities for influence lightly, and wants to use it for the greater good. Something we really love and hope will inspire us all to use our freedoms for something positive. She says being appreciative in everything you do will bring you more happiness, and we couldn’t agree more.

What a beautiful, graceful and powerful woman she is. Thank you Petra for being willing to share your story and we applaud you for your resilience despite tragedy.

Check out the full interview below.


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