Petra Nemcova: A dreamer, a doer & a survivor

"It takes belief to make your dreams a reality," supermodel and philanthropist Petra Nemcova told LSY! teen reporter Juliet Shatkin on the red carpet outside the Only Make Believe Gala in New York City.

“It takes belief to make your dreams a reality,” supermodel and philanthropist Petra Nemcova told LSY! teen reporter Juliet Shatkin on the red carpet outside the Only Make Believe Gala in New York City.

When you hear the name Petra Nemcova, what do you think?

Many probably think of the famous Czech supermodel who caught her big break on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Italian Cosmopolitan.

But behind the beautiful face is a woman who survived unthinkable tragedy.

When Live! Starring … You! interviewed Petra recently, she said, “Every dream is possible. Never give up.”

She’s lived that advice, and survived by it.

Back in December 2004, while Petra was on vacation in Thailand with her fiancé, Simon Atlee, a major tsunami hit and wiped out nearly everything in the surrounding areas — 283,000 people died.

By a huge miracle – and a little bit of luck – Petra was one of the survivors. With her pelvis broken, she clung to a tree for nearly eight hours until someone came to rescue her. Through that time, Petra heard the cries for help from people around her — and there was nothing she could do. One of the victims of the big wave was her fiancé Simon, who was only 33.

Petra has used this experience and her fame to give back. She started her own charitable foundation called the Happy Hearts Fund, which rebuilds schools and helps families who have been affected by natural disasters. Petra also supports several other causes, including Only Make Believe, which brings theater to children who are ill or have disabilities.

LSY! teen reporter Juliet Shatkin met Petra on the red carpet at the Make Believe on Broadway Gala late last year.

“Each of us, we have to use the gifts which we get to be passed on, to be used to help others,” said Petra, who was being honored at the gala. “Each of us has something to work with to give back.”

Petra has done just that. After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she visited the country many times, helping to rebuild. In honor of all Petra has done, the Haitian president even named her ambassador at large for the country.

On the red carpet, LSY!’s Juliet asked Petra to share advice for kids.

“Your thoughts are creative,” Petra said. “So if you think things, you say it, and you voice it, and more people voice it, you create your own reality. And that’s what I do.”

Petra has made her own dreams come true when she became a supermodel and later when she started her own charity.

“It takes belief to make your dreams a reality,” she said. “It takes belief, hard work, and sometimes a little bit of luck and dedication. Things happen. Magic happens.”

— Katie Muise, LSY! teen reporter, Mount St. Mary Academy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s