Petra Nemcova Talks Beauty Must-Haves, Her Favorite Apps, & More!

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60S_280x335 If there’s one supermodel that doesn’t deserve to be categorized amongst the glamourati who refuse to get out of bed for less than $10,000 — it’s Petra Nemcova. The Czech fashion model survived the terrifying Indian Ocean tsunami in '04 and has since founded the Happy Hearts Fund, which aids children affected by natural disasters. In town to promote the organization’s fragrance Clinique Happy Heart, Nemcova chatted with us about life after the tsunami, her holiday wish list, and how she remains so drop-dead gorgeous off the runway.

What do you find satisfying about your work at Happy Hearts?
“There is a lot that gives you that satisfaction, and a lot that doesn't satisfy you. The satisfaction is just knowing — I don't have to even see it or experience it — just knowing the children are getting the opportunity for a brighter and safer future. And I don't need the ‘thank you,’ just knowing that makes me really happy and pushes me forward. And why I'm not satisfied is because there are many children that are forgotten years later. They went through horrific experiences and suffer because they are in unsafe places. Their schools are temporary, their homes are unsafe, and they are living and stuck in extreme poverty without any opportunity for brighter futures.”

After surviving the tsunami, what was it like to go back into an industry that's focused more on the surface?
“Actually, the first job I did after that experience, I was crying and crying, and I was like, ‘What's the purpose in this?’ and then it hit me. Because actually, every single person in the industry was saying, ‘How can we help you? What can we do?’ and they were trying to do something purposeful. So, the first orders for Happy Hearts were from everyone in the fashion industry: Photographers, hairdressers, makeup artists — they were giving their time, helping at fundraisers. I think in the fashion industry, they are seeking more sometimes, even more than other industries, for something purposeful."

Switching gears a bit, you were once in a commercial for the iPad app, Booktrack. Do you consider yourself a techie?
“I have years when I'm very techie and savvy, and then I'm completely, absolutely useless. I have a few apps that I absolutely love, and I recently became a little more tech-savvy."

What app do you love?
“One of the secret ones is Snapseed. It's an app where you can change the pictures that you take in a super-fast way. On Instagram, you have few options, but on Snapseed you can change the brightness, different colors, you can contrast, you can do frames, you can do brightness on the inside or outside the picture. It's amazing. I gave it to a few friends, and they're addicted to it.”

You’re obviously gorgeous. What are your go-to beauty products for hair and makeup?
“For eyes, it's All About Eyes serum, which is amazing. It's like a cooling serum; the feeling of the coolness is like, 'aaah.' And then I use the Surge Moisturizer, which is fantastic. And I'm in love with the Chubby Stick and the Chubby Intense. They're like intensified pigments. It's stronger, especially in the winter because in the summer you want a lighter note — try Roomiest Rose. For hair, I try different products from Kerastase, but I use a lot of different products."

Are you one of those lucky models who gets to eat what they want, or do you have to work?
“I have to work. I was born with curves, so I have to really be conscious, but not just from a visual standpoint, but because my family has diabetes on both sides. So, it's really for investing in my health.”

What's next for your career?
“I'm an ambassador at large for Haiti, so I have a wonderful responsibility, a diplomatic one, and I love the people of Haiti. I've been really honored to help them in other ways than with just food. I'm rebuilding schools and education. I was knighted; I was the knight of charity, ordained. There comes a responsibility with that, too, because you practically make a vow to serve humanity. And the cool thing about it is a very powerful ceremony where you share your vow, you sign it, and then they burn it, which means you cannot back off. You cannot cancel that contract. It's always on your conscience to do service for humanity. And that's in many ways a part of Happy Hearts.”

Photo: Courtesy of Happy Hearts