Pavlína Pořízková is a Czech-born model and actress, who holds dual U.S. and Swedish citizenship. At 18 years old, in 1984, she became the first woman from Central Europe to be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She was the second woman (after Christie Brinkley) to be featured on the swimsuit issue's front cover consecutive times (1984 and 1985). Porizkova also joined judging in America's Next Top Model in Cycles 10–12.
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. 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.
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. Porizkova acquired Swedish citizenship. The reunion was soon ended when Porizkova's father left the family, and her parents filed for divorce. Porizkova and her father have been estranged ever since.
An aspiring photographer friend took pictures of Porizkova 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 physical beauty and potential, and offered her a ticket to Paris.
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.
Porizkova 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 Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Self, Cosmopolitan and Glamour. She was also featured in advertising for Diet Sprite. Porizkova was the cover model for the 20th Anniversary issue of Cosmopolitan magazine in November 1985.
In 1988, Porizkova won what was then the highest-paying modeling contract: a six million dollar contract with Estée Lauder cosmetics, replacing the model Willow Bay. 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. She soon got a new contract as the lead model for Escada.She was presented on the November 1999 Millennium cover of American Vogue as one of the "Modern Muses".
Porizkova'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, Porizkova devoted less time to modeling, and she moved into acting in independent films. In early 2001, she was the hostess for a television show on the E! network's Style Channel.
Porizkova was part of the panel of judges on America's Next Top Model, starting on Cycle 10 replacing the fashion icon, Twiggy. Porizkova 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 12 May 2009 appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS. 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 co-released, along with Tyra Banks, 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.
Porizkova was a participant on Dancing with the Stars, in Spring 2007 but was voted off on the first results show which aired 27 March 2007. In January 2010, she played the minor role of Clarissa, in the CBS Daytime soap opera, As The World Turns. Porizkova appeared in the fourth episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories' second season.
Porizkova's film debut was in the 1983 modeling mockumentary, Portfolio. She appeared in the 1987 film Anna, 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 in the film Her Alibi. However, she was nominated for a Golden Raspberry for worst actress for her appearance in the film.
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 also appeared in a 6th season episode of Desperate Housewives, "Chromolume No. 7", alongside model Heidi Klum. Porizkova wrote and directed the 2001 film, Roommates. 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 most recently appeared on the ABC Family drama-comedy series Jane by Design in an episode which aired on 6 March 2012.
Porizkova co-authored a children's book, The Adventures of Ralphie the Roach with Joanne Russell and illustrated by stepson Adam Ocasek, that was published in September 1992. She published her first novel, A Model Summer (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 currently a blogger for Modelinia and The Huffington Post.
On 23 August 1989, Porizkova married Ric Ocasek, lead singer for the rock band The Cars. They had first met in 1984, when she was 19 years old and he was already married, during the filming of The Cars' music video "Drive". The couple have two children.
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. She is also the subject of the song "Paulina" on No Doubt's eponymous first album and "Dear Paulina", written and performed by Luna for the film Thursday, in which she stars.