Paulina Pořízková, now known as
Paulina Porizkova-Ocasek (Czech: Pavlína Pořízková, born April 9, 1965) is
a Czechoslovakian-born Swedish model and actress.
Born in Prostějov, Czechoslovakia, Pořízková was still a toddler when her
parents left Czechoslovakia, fleeing the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968, and
moved to Lund, Sweden, leaving young Paulina in the care of her
grandmother in Czechoslovakia, believing that their daughter could be
brought out later.
However, the Czechoslovakian authorities would not allow this, and the
ensuing battle for Pořízková was widely publicized in the Swedish press,
making her a cause célčbre. After a failed rescue attempt, in which her
mother was detained by the national police, international political
pressure led by Olof Palme caused the communist government to allow the
Pořízek family to be reunited after seven years. Pořízková acquired
Swedish citizenship. The reunion was soon ended when Pořízková's father
left the family, and her parents filed for divorce. Pořízková and her
father have been estranged since.
This left Pořízková's mother to fund her own medical education, and
Pořízková and her brother Jáchym Pořízek (who was born in Czechoslovakia
during her mother's house arrest) to look after themselves, including
having to steal bread to have something to eat.
An aspiring photographer friend took pictures of Pořízková and sent them
to the Elite modeling agency in 1980, hoping they would notice her own
photography skills. However, instead of taking the photographer on board,
Elite head John Casablancas noticed Porizkova's attractiveness and
potential, and offered her a ticket to Paris. At 5 feet 10 1/2 inches (180
cm), she was the perfect height for a fashion model.
She quickly 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. 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.) She appeared on the cover of Playboy
magazine in August 1987 to preview her new (non-nude) swimsuit calendar.
Both of her calendars in 1988 and 1989 by photographer Marco Glaviano sold
hundreds of thousands of copies.
Pořízková was chosen twice by People as one of the Fifty Most Beautiful
People in the world, in 1990 and 1992. Harper's Bazaar named her one of
its ten most beautiful women in 1992. American Photo in its first issue
declared her to be the model of the 1980s. She appeared on the covers of
numerous magazines around the world during the 1980s and 1990s, including
appearances on Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Self, Cosmopolitan, and
Glamour. She featured in advertising for Diet Sprite. Pořízková was the
cover model for the 20th Anniversary issue of Cosmopolitan magazine in
In 1988, Pořízková won what was then the highest-paying modeling contract:
a six million dollar contract with Estée Lauder cosmetics, replacing the
model Willow Bay. Estée Lauder's strategy in the late 1980s was to move
away from an older generation of women and target younger urbanite
professional women. The black-and-white television and print advertising
campaign won praise from critics. The Estée Lauder makeover transformed
Pořízková's public image from a swimsuit model to that of European
sophisticate and she remained the company's face until 1995.
Pořízková's photos appeared in the books Models and Sirens, by Marco
Glaviano, and in Fashion Photography by Patrick Demarchelier. The latter
includes some of the noted LIFE magazine swimsuit pictures from several
years ago. She was in Women by Herb Ritts.
After having her first baby in 1993, Pořízková devoted less time to
modeling, and she moved into acting in independent films. She soon got a
new contract as the lead model for Escada. In early 2001, she was the
hostess for a television show on the E! network's Style Channel.
She was part of the panel of judges on America's Next Top Model, starting
on Cycle 10 replacing the fashion icon, Twiggy. Pořízková continued to
conduct regular weekly evaluations of Top Model participants on the show
until she announced she'd been fired from Top Model during a May 12, 2009
appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS.
Pořízková was a participant on the Spring 2007 series Dancing with the
Stars, but she was voted off on the first results show which aired March
27, 2007. In January 2010, she played the minor role of Clarissa, in the
CBS Daytime soap opera, As The World Turns.
Pořízková's film debut was in the 1983 modeling mockumentary, Portfolio.
Only 17 years old, she managed to look more mature and intelligent than
the other more-established models, and became "covergirl" for the film.
She appeared in the 1987 film Anna (which starred Sally Kirkland),
receiving good reviews from her patrons at Vogue magazine. It was in 1989
that she had her largest, and best-known role to date, co-starring with
Tom Selleck (who was rumored to not get along with her at all) in the film
Her Alibi. However, she was nominated for a Golden Raspberry for worst
actress for her appearance in the film.
She appeared in Emir Kusturica's film Arizona Dream, with Johnny Depp and
Jerry Lewis, in a minor role as Lewis's young Polish fiancee. She also
appeared in the film Thursday.
Pořízková wrote and directed the film, Roommates. In 2004, she starred in
the romantic comedy, Knots, but turned down an opportunity to be a Bond
Girl in the 1995 film GoldenEye because of better earnings available to
her in modeling at the time, as well as not wishing to take time away from
her family. Her recent television work includes an April 18, 2007
appearance on The Colbert Report after remarks that she found Colbert
"extremely attractive." She most recently appeared on the Starz comedy
series Head Case which aired on April 24, 2009.
She finished her debut novel, A Model Summer (ISBN 1401303269) (ISBN
978-1401303266). It is about a 15-year-old Swedish girl chosen by a
modeling agent to spend a summer working in Paris.
In September 1992, her children's book The Adventures of Ralphie the Roach
(ISBN 0385424027) (ISBN 978-0385424028), co-authored by Joanne Russell and
illustrated by stepson Adam Ocasek, was published. Pořízková is currently
a blogger for Modelinia and the Huffington Post.
On August 23, 1989, Pořízková married Ric Ocasek, lead singer for the rock
band The Cars. They had first met in 1984 during the filming of The Cars'
music video, "Drive", which was directed by Timothy Hutton and in which
she stars. Pořízková was only 19 and Ocasek was already married at that
time. The couple have two children.
Later, Pořízková was 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, also a former member of the Ocasek-produced Weezer and the song
"Paulina" on No Doubt's first album.