Karolina Kurkova

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Postby Gisele » Thu Nov 28, 2002 6:53 pm

Mon, 25.11.2002, 19:04
From our "Yeah, sure" department

November 25, 2002 -- Before coming to America, supermodel-of-the-moment Karolina Kurkova couldn't even get a date.
She was jeered at and called "anorexic" by the boys at school, and she was too insecure about her appearance to pose for family pictures.

"At school they used to just laugh at me as I walked by," she remembers. " None of them found me attractive at all. I could never get a boyfriend because the girls they all liked were the ones who were full and breasty.

"It's only since coming to New York that I learned thin can be beautiful."

At 18, Czech-born Karolina commands up to $40,000 for a day's work, and last month became the youngest model ever to scoop the VH-1 Fashion Awards Model of the Year award.

Earlier this year she bared her size 4 body for the Pirelli calendar, shot by legendary Vogue photographer Bruce Weber. And she's in the current Victoria's Secret lingerie catalogue.

Not bad for a teenager who, two years ago, had never left the Czech Republic, never seen a copy of Vogue and never heard of the likes of Gisele Bundchen or Kate Moss.

"Fashion is very different in my country," she explains. "There is no Chanel or Louis Vuitton. We only have two fashion magazines and they only have Czech models in them."

At 5-foot-11, Karolina's almost frighteningly skinny, her long, coltish legs looking as though they might snap in a breeze.

"You wouldn't believe how much I eat," she says, on cue. "I eat, eat all the time, people always ask me where I put it all. I think I just have a very fast metabolism. I think I must expend a lot of energy because I am always waving my arms around and I smile a lot."

Over the past two years, Karolina has graced 25 magazine covers - among them American Vogue, whose editor, Anna Wintour, calls her "the next supermodel."

But modeling was never the most obvious career option for Karolina, even after a school friend sent her picture into a Prague modeling agency that promptly signed her.

"I only ever got three jobs," she says. "One catwalk show, one shoot for a teen magazine and a commercial. Nothing big at all."

But a week-long trip to Manhattan, to perfect her English, changed all that. Karolina created such an explosion in the city's seen-it-all fashion world that her agency, DNA, advised her to drop out of school and move to New York.

Her first-ever modeling job in America was a shoot with Steven Meisel that made its way onto the cover of American Vogue. Gigs with Miu Miu, Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel, Helmut Lang, Gucci and Marc Jacobs quickly followed.

Away from the camera, Karolina shares her TriBeCa loft with her Shih Tzu puppy, Bella, and her Swiss-Italian musician boyfriend.

"I travel a lot but I love being in New York best," she says. "I love to go out for a nice dinner or to the movies with my boyfriend.

"I don't really go so much out. I can't work the next day if I've been out partying. I want to look beautiful and fresh and full of energy and rested."

She keeps her designer-shod feet on the ground via regular trips back to the Czech Republic to spend time with her basketball-player-turned-police-chief father, her mother and 15-year-old brother.

And those boys from school are no longer ignoring her, she notes.

"They are like 'Karolina, Karolina let's go out and get a coffee or something.' But I'll remind them of how they used to laugh at me for being skinny."

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