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Online PR News – 21-September-2010 – – Petra Němcová was born 24 June 1979 in Karviná, Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic; she is a Czech model, television host, author, and philanthropist. She is founder and chair of the Happy Hearts Fund. In December 2004, she was injured in Thailand by a tsunami resulting from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake; her then-fiancé, photographer Simon Atlee, was killed in the tsunami.
Nicknamed the "Czech Chick," Petra Nemcova graced the cover of the 2003 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. (She also appeared in the magazine's 2002 swimsuit edition.) Nemcova has been a cover model for Elle, Harper's Bazaar and other magazines, and has appeared in ads for Cartier and Victoria's Secret. She made a brief appearance in the French film Absolument fabuleux (2001, starring Marie Gillain and based loosely on the British TV show Absolutely Fabulous).
During the Indian Ocean earthquake of 26 December 2004, Němcová was at the Khao Lak resort in Thailand with her main photographer and boyfriend, Simon Atlee, when the tsunami struck where they were staying. Initially, Atlee was presumed missing, but his body was found and identified on 3 March 2005, on the shores of Sumatra (near the epicenter of the earthquake that caused the tsunami).
Atlee drowned, and Němcová suffered a broken pelvis and serious internal injuries, but she managed to hold onto the top of a palm tree, reportedly for eight hours, until she was rescued by Thai civilians and airlifted to an inland hospital nearby. Němcová spent three weeks in a Thai hospital, and then flew home to the Czech Republic, where she spent an additional three weeks in the hospital. Němcová's first interview after her near-death experience was with Diane Sawyer on ABC's Primetime Live, on 9 March 2005. She has also spoken of her experiences on the Larry King Live program on CNN.
In 2005, Němcová created the Happy Hearts Fund (HHF), a charitable organization and campaign formed after her survival and recovery from the Tsunami of 2004. When Němcová returned to Thailand a few months after the tsunami, she witnessed families without homes, children without parents and entire communities swept away. She was most affected by the children and sought to figure out a way to help them rebuild their lives and bring back hope and opportunity. Unsatisfied with the response of organizations that were unable to specify which children, or even which country, would benefit, Němcová set out to create her own entity and structured it so that all administrative costs would be underwritten, thereby ensuring that 100% of all donations received would be directed to children's programming.
She is currently signed with Next Modeling Agency and has contracts with the likes of Max Factor and Cartier.
She was named #76 in FHM magazine's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006" supplement.
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