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Paulina Porizkova is a Czechoslovakian model and actress best known for being the first woman from Eastern Europe to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.
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During the late 1980s, Porizkova also featured in her own swimsuit calendars, photographed by Mario Glaviano. The calendars sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide, and pioneered a new trend in the modeling industry.
Porizkova signed the largest modeling contract in history at that time—a $6 million deal to become the face of cosmetics company Estée Lauder. The elegant black-and-white photo shoots for Estée Lauder transformed Porizkova's image from sexy teenage swimsuit model to sophisticated European supermodel. American Photo called her "the model of the 1980s," and People magazine named her as one of its "50 Most Beautiful People" in both 1990 and 1992.
Despite being one of the most distinguished supermodels on the planet, Porizkova remained unsatisfied with her career as "eye candy." Asked whether she liked modeling in a 1989 interview, Porizkova responded, "People are shocked when I say I love the money and hate the job, but it isn't very creative to stand in front of a camera all day." Porizkova has also made scathing comments about her colleagues in the modeling business. "A pretty big percentage of models are stupid," she once declared.
Unsatisfied with modeling, Porizkova began taking her career in new directions. She made her acting debut in the 1983 film Portfolio, a mockumentary about the modeling industry. She has since in appeared in such films as Covergirl (1984), Anna (1987) and Her Alibi (1989). More recently, Porizkova has featured in several stints as a TV personality. She competed in the celebrity dancing show Dancing with the Stars in 2007, and served as a judge on the modeling competition America's Next Top Model in 2010.
Porizkova is also remaking her career as a writer. In 1992, she published a children's book called The Adventures of Ralphie the Roach. Then in 2008, Porizkova authored A Model Summer, a novel about a young Swedish girl's introduction to the modeling world; the book is part coming-of-age tale and part exposé of the modeling industry. The highly literary debut novel—Porizkova packs in allusions to Balzac, George Sand and Kafka—received mixed reviews. In addition to novel writing, Porizkova also gained renown as a blogger when she began writing regular columns for the Huffington Post in 2009. She has earned praise for her columns candidly and insightfully discussing her transition from international celebrity to self-described "has-been."
Porizkova married Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars, in 1989. (The two had met while filming a Cars music video in 1984.) They have two sons, Jonathan and Oliver, and Porizkova often describes her marriage as perfect. "It's the old, you know, rock star and model thing—except in our case it actually worked out," she says.
Paulina Porizkova says that she is very thankful for the timing of her modeling career. "It was a perfect time to be a model," she recalls about the 1980s.
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