Born on April 9, 1965 in the Czech Republic, Paulina Porizkova spent her formative years in Lund, Sweden. Her parents left her and her brother with their grandmother, thinking they could get them back when the political crisis had died down. However, the Czechoslovak government would not permit it. Their situation was made known to the public through the Swedish press, and after seven long years, Porizkova and her brother were reunited with their parents. Sadly, the happiness they felt from being together again was short-lived, as Porizkova’s parents separated thereafter. Her sickly mother could not afford to support Porizkova and her brother, so they had to find ways, both good and bad, to take care of themselves. All changed for Porizkova in 1980 when her friend sent Porizkova’s pictures to the Elite modeling agency.
Elite head John Casablancas then offered her a ticket to Paris, where she could train and begin her modeling career. She flew to Paris and there quickly rose to fame in the early 1980s. After posing for Sports Illustrated magazine, she was introduced to the United States and was soon recognized as a popular new face. She appeared on August 1987's issue of Playboy magazine and GQ magazine.
By 1992, Porizkova was chosen twice by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world. Harper's magazine named her one of the 10 Most Beautiful Women as well. In 1988, she received a six million dollar contract with Estee Lauder cosmetics, thus replacing model Willow Bay. During the 1990s, Porizkova graced covers of magazines Vogue, ELLE, Harper's Bazaar, Self, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour.
On August 23, 1989, Porizkova married musical artist Ric Ocasek, with whom she had two sons. Since then, she has focused on her family and her book writing, releasing her first novel entitled "A Model Summer," which chronicled a 15-year-old Swedish girl's trip to Paris to fulfill her modeling dreams. Porizkova also wrote a children's book entitled "The Adventures of Ralphie the Roach."
She has since been seen dancing with Alec Mazo
in the fourth season of the ABC reality series, Dancing with the Stars. In February 2007, it was announced that Porizkova will be returning to the limelight with The CW's reality show, America's Next Top Model, where she replaced supermodel Leslie “Twiggy” Hornby as judge. She announced in 2009 that she was fired from the show
(Photo courtesy of CW)