Karolina Isela Kurkova, born February 28, is a Czech and best known as one of the Victoria's Secret Angels. Mario Testino said of Kurkova, "The proportions of her body and her face, as well as her energy level, make her a model who could fit almost into any moment." Designer Marc Jacobs said, "She has an angelic look with a dark side, she's sweet and fun but looks like she could be an evil bewitching child."Vogue editor Anna Wintour called her the "next supermodel".
Karolína Kurkova was born in Decín, Czechoslovakia, to Josef Kurka, a Czech basketball player, and a Slovak mother.
After a friend sent photos of Kurkova to an agency in Prague, she immediately landed a runway appearance, as well as a commercial and print ad. She was 15 at the time. She later traveled to Milan to gain more experience. There, Miuccia Prada, the designer behind the brand Prada, signed her to a modeling contract.Daughter of a Czech basketball star, Karolina Kurkova inherited her father's figure and height. After a best friend encouraged her to send her pictures to an agency in Prague, Karolina found herself walking on catwalks as well as appearing in commercials and print ads.
Karolína Kurkova subsequently flew to Milan, where she was signed by well-known Italian fashion designer Miuccia Prada. In September 1999, the hard-working 15-year-old model landed a modeling job with fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue, in New York.
Moving to the Big Apple, Kurkova, at the tender age of 17, received America's recognition when she graced the cover of the February 2001 edition of Vogue, becoming one of the youngest models ever to appear on the magazine's cover. This led to deals with the famed lingerie retail marketer Victoria's Secret, where she was selected as one of their "Angels" and has appeared in a string of the company's popular TV specials. Additionally, Kurkova also signed a deal with French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and world-famous designer Tommy.
In 2002, Kurkova, who was called the "next supermodel" by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, was honored with the "Model of the Year" title at that year's VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards. This brought her more modeling jobs with such designers as Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta and Balenciaga.
"What I love the most about modeling is that it opens you a lot of different doors of opportunities and takes you to many different places, which then put you in touch with various people and cultures." Karolina Kurkova
Meanwhile, Kurkova has also appeared on NBC's talk show "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and in the fashion documentary Seamless, in 2005. She also has tried her hand in acting and just completed her first film, My Sexiest Year, a romantic coming-of-age drama/comedy written and directed by Howard Himelstein. The movie stars Frankie Muniz, Harvey Keitel and Amber Valletta.
Besides modeling, Kurkova is active in humanitarian work, promoting the welfare of children through such organizations as "The Beautiful Life Fund," "Free Arts" and "Global Youth Action Network." She received an award from a non-profit organization called Women Together, in March 2006.
Karolína Kurkova has been quoted as saying, "Everyone likes and deserves to have some fun. In the end, when you smile, life smiles back at you!"
In September 1999, Kurkova met with Vogue editors in New York City, then she moved to NYC permanently. At seventeen years old, she landed a spot on the cover of the February 2001 issue of Vogue. Kurková was now recognized at haute couture fashion shows, and lingerie brand Victoria's Secret chose her to be a part of that year's televised fashion show special.Prominent fashion houses such as Yves Saint Laurent signed Kurková to modeling contracts. Print campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, Valentino, and others helped expose her even more, while she headlined the second Victoria's Secret show the following year.In the 2002 Victoria's secret fashion show she also modeled the multi-million dollar bra worth almost $10 million, embellished with rubies and emeralds, which was designed by Hearts on Fire. She was named "Model of the Year" at the 2002 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards. Kurková later signed contracts with designers including Ralph Lauren, Óscar de la Renta, Chanel and Balenciaga.
Most recently, she has appeared on the cover of Korea's W, as well as the Greek Vogue. She also appeared as the new face for DELL. Kurková has been featured in fashion spreads in most major fashion magazines including U.K., U.S., and German, French Vogue (as well as other international versions of), Vanity Fair and Vanity Fair Germany The Face. In Germany she covered the GQ SUMMER STYLE GQ Sommer Stil and the Park Avneue besides that she was part of many articles in fashion magzines like max or GALA. She has worked with well-known fashion photographers including Steven Klein, Mario Sorrenti, and Mario Testino. She was also featured in the 2006 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Once again showcasing the multi-million dollar bra worth $6.5 million, decked with almost 2000 diamonds weighing 800 carats, and a centerpiece diamond brooch weighing 10 carats.Karolina's walk down the Victoria's secret runway wearing the above mentioned diamond bra along with frost wings happens to be her most notable walk for Victoria's secret. She happens to be the only other Victoria's secret angel besides Heidi Klum to model the multi-million dollar bra twice in 2002 and 2006. Karolina has done several print and ad campaigns for lingerie giant Victoria's secret.
Karolína Kurkova is among the world's top-earning models.
As of December 2007, she can be seen in print ads for Dell. She was also featured on the february 2008 cover of Esquire magazine which re-creates the classic 1966 Angie Dickinson cover on Esquire's 75th anniversary along with fellow Victoria's secret angels Adriana Lima, Izabel Goulart and Selita Ebanks. Model.com featured her at No.5 on the list of the hottest models today. She also appeared on the cover of Elle magazine february 2008 issue. She happened to appear dressed only in shoes, diamonds and gloves for the November 2007 issue of Vanity Fair celebrating 20 years of supermodels with fellow angels.
In the last fashion show of Cía Marítima, Kurkova was critized by the Brazilian press as being "too fat". Although it could be seen that she had gained weight, the press exaggeratedly wrote "too much back fat, love handles and cellulite"
Kurková's notable television appearances have been on- -"Showbiz Tonight" - "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" - Miss Junior 2005 (2005) (TV) She has also received a Star on the Hollywood walk of fame along with her fellow Victoria's secret supermodels.
Kurková is also set to make her film debut alongside Frankie Muniz, Harvey Keitel and Amber Valletta in Howard Himelstein's coming-of-age dramedy, My Sexiest Year.