Paulina Porizkova

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Paulina Porizkova
Pavlína Pořízková 2014.JPG
Porizkova in 2014
Pavlína Elisa Pořízková

(1965-04-09) 9 April 1965 (age 56)
  • Model
  • actress
  • author
(m. 1989; died 2019)
Modeling information
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[1]
  • The Model CoOp (New York)
  • Premium Models (Paris)
  • IMG Models (Milan)
  • Models 1 (London)
  • Traffic Models (Barcelona)
  • Place Models (Hamburg)[2]

Paulina Porizkova (born Pavlína Elisa Pořízková, Czech: [ˈpavliːna ˈpor̝iːskovaː]; 9 April 1965) is a model, actress and author. Born in Czechoslovakia, she now holds dual American and Swedish citizenship.

In 1984, at 18 years old, she became the first woman from Central Europe to be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.[3] She was the second woman (after Christie Brinkley) to be featured on the swimsuit issue's front cover in consecutive years (1984 and 1985). In 1988, Porizkova won what was then the highest-paying modeling contract ever: a $6,000,000 a-year contract with Estée Lauder. She was part of the judging panel of America's Next Top Model in Cycles 10–12.

Early life[edit]

Born in Prostějov, Czechoslovakia, Porizkova was a toddler when her parents fled Czechoslovakia to Lund, Sweden, to escape the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion. She was left in the care of her grandmother.[4] Czechoslovak authorities would not allow her parents to reclaim her, and the ensuing battle was widely publicized in the Swedish press, making Porizkova a cause célèbre.[4]

After a failed rescue attempt, in which her pregnant mother returned to Czechoslovakia and was shortly detained by the national police and then placed under house arrest,[4] international political pressure led by Olof Palme caused the communist government to allow the Pořízek family to be reunited after seven years. Porizkova acquired Swedish citizenship.[5] The reunion was soon ended when Porizkova's father left the family, her parents filed for divorce, and her father refused to pay child support for Paulina and her younger brother.[4] Porizkova and her father have been estranged since her youth.[4] Her mother, a midwife, remarried at least twice and as of 2010 was reported to be serving in the Peace Corps in Uganda.[4]



External images
image icon Porizkova's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover from 13 February 1984
image icon Porizkova's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover from 11 February 1985

In an Instagram post, dated 28 November 2017, Porizkova shared the photo that got the attention of modeling scout John Casablancas. She was thirteen years old. One of her friends, who wanted to be a makeup artist, painted Porizkova's face, along with other friends, and sent the photographs to modeling agencies in Paris in the hopes of getting hired. "Soon after, a modeling agent called inviting me to Copenhagen to meet the famed model scout John Casablancas. . . . He took one look at me and asked: want to go to Paris? As if I'd say no! The rest, as they say, is history." [6]

Porizkova rose to become a top model in Paris during the early 1980s, and her fame spread to the United States when she posed in swimwear for Sports Illustrated.[improper synthesis?] She appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1984 and again in 1985 (her first appearance as a model in the magazine was in 1983).[citation needed] She appeared on the cover and inside New York Magazine in July, 1985.[7] Harper's Bazaar named her one of its ten most beautiful women in 1992 and American Photo magazine in its first issue declared her to be the model of the 1980s.[citation needed] Porizkova appeared on the covers of numerous magazines around the world during the 1980s and 1990s, including Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Self, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour.[citation needed]

She has been featured in advertising campaigns for Chanel, Versace, Hermes, Christian Dior, Oscar De La Renta, Mikimoto, Perry Ellis, Laura Biagiotti, Anne Klein, Ellen Tracy, Barneys New York, Ann Taylor, Guerlain, and Revlon and appeared on the runway for Calvin Klein.

In 1988, Porizkova won what was then the highest-paying modeling contract: a $6,000,000 contract with Estée Lauder, replacing Willow Bay.[citation needed] The black-and-white television and print advertising campaign won praise from critics. The Estée Lauder makeover transformed Porizkova's public image from a swimsuit model to that of European sophisticate and she remained the company's face until 1995.[citation needed] She soon landed another multimillion-dollar contract, with Escada.[citation needed] She was presented on the November 1999 Millennium cover of American Vogue as one of the "Modern Muses."[8]

Television work[edit]

Porizkova was part of the panel of judges on America's Next Top Model (ANTM), starting on Cycle 10, replacing fashion icon Twiggy.[9]

Porizkova continued to conduct regular weekly evaluations of ANTM participants on the show until she announced during a 12 May 2009, appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson that she had been fired from the show. Although Porizkova maintained she was told by producers that she had an "ego problem," especially when she "consistently complained" about Tyra Banks' reported lateness to the set, ANTM executive producer Ken Mok and Banks released a statement claiming Porizkova's firing was due to "the current state of the economy," forcing ANTM to "make major budget cuts…unfortunately, Paulina was a casualty of these cuts." When questioned by ABC news journalist Cynthia McFadden about the firing of Porizkova as well as former ANTM colleague, Janice Dickinson, both of whom had complained Banks was "difficult," Banks refused to address the issue.[10]

She appeared on Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes.[11]

Porizkova was a participant on Dancing with the Stars,[12] in spring 2007 but was voted off on the first results show which aired on 27 March 2007.[13]

In 2009 and 2010, she played Clarissa on about five episodes of the CBS Daytime soap opera As the World Turns.[citation needed] Porizkova appeared in the fourth episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories' second season.[14]


Porizkova's film debut was in the 1983 modeling mockumentary, Portfolio.[citation needed] She appeared in the 1987 film Anna. In 1989, she co-starred with Tom Selleck in the film Her Alibi. [15] However, she was nominated for a Golden Raspberry for worst actress for her appearance in the film.[16]

Porizkova appeared in Emir Kusturica's 1993 film Arizona Dream, with Johnny Depp and Jerry Lewis, in a minor role as Lewis's young Polish fiancée. She had the main female role in the 1998 film Thursday. Porizkova wrote and directed the 2001 film, Roommates.[citation needed] In 2004, she starred in the romantic comedy Knots. She appeared in an episode of the Starz comedy series Head Case which aired on 24 April 2009. She appeared in a 6th-season episode of Desperate Housewives, "Chromolume No. 7", alongside model Heidi Klum. She appeared on the ABC Family drama-comedy series Jane by Design in an episode which aired on 6 March 2012, and made a guest appearance on The Mysteries of Laura in February 2015.[citation needed]


Porizkova co-authored a children's book, The Adventures of Ralphie the Roach (ISBN 978-0385424028) with British model Joanne Russell and illustrated by stepson Adam Ocasek, that was published in September 1992. She published her first novel, A Model Summer (ISBN 978-1401303266; Modellsommar in Swedish), in 2007, which is about a 15-year-old Swedish girl (Jirina) chosen by a modeling agent to spend a summer working in Paris in 1980. Porizkova is a blogger for Modelinia and The Huffington Post.[17]

Personal life[edit]

On 23 August 1989, Porizkova married Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the rock band The Cars.[18] They had met in 1984 during the filming of The Cars' music video "Drive". The couple have two sons, Jonathan Raven Ocasek (b. 4 November 1993),[19] and Oliver Ocasek (b. 1999).[20] In May 2018, Porizkova announced she and Ocasek had separated a year earlier.[21][22] In September 2019, while caring for Ocasek following an unspecified surgery, she found him dead in his home.[23]

Porizkova and Ocasek were still in the process of their divorce, but he had disinherited her in a new will, alleging that before his recent surgery she had abandoned him.[24] He also disinherited two of his six sons.[24] A probate judge will have to rule on the veracity of the abandonment claims, then on the remaining estate to be divided.[24]

In popular culture[edit]

Porizkova is the subject of the song "Friends of P" by The Rentals on their 1995 album, Return of the Rentals, written by lead singer Matt Sharp.[25] She was the subject of "Paulina" on No Doubt's eponymous first album and "Dear Paulina", written and performed by Luna for the film Thursday, in which she appeared. She's one of several women referenced in Sonic Youth's song "Swimsuit Issue," from the 1992 album Dirty.[citation needed]. She was also the inspiration of the late transgender model and ballroom performer Octavia St. Laurent who spoke glowingly about her in the classic film documentary Paris is Burning. Porizkova has said that St. Laurent's praise and idolization in the documentary was the favorite moment of her modeling career.[26]

Select filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1987 Anna Krystyna
1989 Her Alibi Nina Lonescu
1993 Arizona Dream Millie
1996 Female Perversions Langley Flynn
1996 Wedding Bell Blues Tanya Touchev
1998 Long Time Since Diane Thwaite
1998 Thursday Dallas
2000 The Intern Herself Cameo
2001 Dark Asylum Dr. Maggie Bellum
2004 Knots Lily Kildear
2012 About Face: The Supermodels, Then and Now Herself Documentary
2017 Kevyn Aucoin Beauty & The Beast in Me Herself Documentary
Year Title Role Notes
1987 Saturday Night Live Herself "Bronson Pinchot" (season 12: episode 11)
2008–2010 America's Next Top Model Judge Judge for cycles 10–12
2009–2010 As the World Turns Clarissa
2010 Desperate Housewives Herself
2015 The Mysteries of Laura Charlotte Bernice
2016 Nightcap Ana
2017 Bull Nella Wester Episode: "Dressed to Kill"
Music Videos
Year Title Role Notes
1984 "Drive" Herself

"You might think"


Select bibliography[edit]

  • "America Made Me a Feminist." The New York Times, 10 June 2017[27]
  • "A Model Summer." Hyperion, 8 April 2008[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Profile of fashion model Paulina Pořízková". Fashion Model Directory. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Paulina Porizkova - Model". Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Paulina Porizkova: Husband Is No George Clooney". The Huffington Post. 25 October 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f One on One – Paulina Porizkova. YouTube (22-minute video interview). Al Jazeera English. 2010.
  5. ^ Matsson, Katarina. "Hon ger en sann bild av modellvärlden". Metro International. Retrieved 5 March 2015.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Porizkova, Paulina (28 November 2017). "Login • Instagram". Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  7. ^ New York Magazine. 1 July 1985.
  8. ^ Lee, Helen (11 April 2007). "Vogue's 'World's Next Top Models' cover". Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  9. ^ "Twiggy Replaced on 'America's Next Top Model' — Paulina Porizkova will be sitting next to Miss J". 26 November 2007. Archived from the original on 29 November 2007. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  10. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (18 May 2009). "Why Tyra Banks Fired Paulina Porizkova". People. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  11. ^ Warhol, Andy (30 July 2016). "Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes". Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Meet the New Cast of 'Dancing With the Stars". ABC. 20 February 2007. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  13. ^ McDonald, Ray (28 March 2007). "Former Supermodel Pavlína Pořízková Eliminated From 'Dancing with the Stars'". VOA News. Archived from the original on 17 November 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Celebrity Ghost Stories: Paulina Porizkova – Web Exclusive". Archived from the original on 14 August 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  15. ^ Simon, Jeff (3 February 1989). ""HER ALIBI": THERE'S NO EXCUSE FOR IT". Buffalo News. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  16. ^ Golden Raspberry Nominees 1989 Archived 4 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine,, from Golden Raspberry website (archive); accessed 5 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Paulina Porizkova Is a Blogger Now". The Cut. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  18. ^ Smith, Laura C. (18 August 1995). "Ric Ocasek gets married". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  19. ^ Brozan, Nadine (17 November 1993). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  20. ^ "Paulina Porizkova: Model Profile". Archived from the original on 19 July 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018. Children: Jonathan (Born 93), Oliver (Born 99)
  21. ^ Porizkova, Paulina (2 May 2018). "Our family always has been – and still is – a well-built car..." Paulina Porizkova verified Instagram. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  22. ^ Haas, Mariah (3 May 2018). "The Cars' Ric Ocasek and Wife Paulina Porizkova Announce Split After 28 Years of Marriage". People. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  23. ^ Pareles, Jon (15 September 2019). "Ric Ocasek, New Wave Rock Visionary and Cars Co-Founder, Dies at 75". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  24. ^ a b c Mayoras, Danielle and Andy. "An Estate Fight May Be Coming Over Ric Ocasek's Estate". Forbes. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  25. ^ Luerssen, John D. Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story. ECW Press, 2004, p. 163; ISBN 1-55022-619-3
  26. ^ Five Questions for Paulina
  27. ^ Porizkova, Paulina (10 June 2017). "Opinion | America Made Me a Feminist". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  28. ^ A Model Summer Amazon. Retrieved 1 March 2020.

External links[edit]