You know the saying, walk a mile in someone’s shoes? I recently tried that out with supermodel and philanthropist Petra Nemcova as she moved from video interview to her business office, on the streets of New York and lunch meetings. These days everyone is busy, we all go so fast: an Instagram here, a flight there, back to back meetings and @ messages. It was so fascinating to shadow someone and watch as they live minute by minute and in Petra’s case, do it with such ease, grace, amazing kindness and triple kisses. As we moved from place to place, I learned so much about the woman whose face I knew so well, including all about her non-profit foundation, the Happy Hearts Fund.
Happy Hearts Fund focuses on bringing hope to children in the wake of natural disasters. Coming in to work after the emergency response is over, HHF is mostly focused on rebuilding schools and putting sustainable practices into place to make a real and lasting difference. Petra was inspired to create the foundation due to tragic events – she and her fiancé, photographer Simon Atlee, were in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami. Her fiancé was killed and though Petra was an incredibly lucky survivor, she suffered multiple serious injuries. During her recovery, she realized that after the emergency responders left, children were often forgotten about. Unsatisfied with charitable foundations available, Petra set out to create her own and thus Happy Hearts Fund was born. Since its beginning in 2006, it has been active in seven countries and has built and rebuilt 84 schools and kindergartens.
Recently the foundation has partnered with Chopard, a brand we know and love, to craft a special edition of a Happy Diamonds bracelet, featuring a free-moving pink sapphire inside a heart. A percentage of the sales from the bracelets will go toward the reconstruction of schools for children around the world, making the world a more beautiful place all around.
Above, Petra layers three of Chopard’s Happy Diamonds bracelets as she prepares for her live interview.
Makeup artist Michelle Coursey (who has the most amazing vintage style) used all Clinique products to make up Petra’s beautiful face. She started with Super Balanced Makeup foundation, Airbrush Concealer, Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Sunset Glow, Sunswept bronzer, All About Shadow Duo in Sand Dunes on the eyes, High Lengths Mascara, and finished with bright lips in Cubby Stick Intense in Heftiest Hibiscus.
Her nail color which I especially loved is part of the special collaboration with Clinique and the Happy Hearts Fund. Clinique has created three unique products that help give back by donating part of the sales to Petra’s foundation and have already raised $550,000 for the rebuilding of schools across the world.
We then went to Petra’s office where she caught up with her business partner. He showed her recent New York Times press on their candle collection, Be The Light, they worked on new package design, went over contracts and a beautiful editorial of Petra in a recent magazine.
Throughout the day Petra would often touch her Happy Diamonds bracelets, almost as if re-grounding herself. Her spirit, which is just as beautiful as she is, is always focused on positivity. On her wrist is a little tattoo of the number 108. When I asked her about this she said the number 1 keeps her reminded to be connected to God, 0 is a reminder to be in zero state of mind as in meditation and 8 represents infinity – infinite love.
Above Petra shows me her home décor line, called Be the Light New York. As a seasoned world traveler, Petra experienced many different cultures and wanted to spotlight the treasures of the countries she had seen. Be the Light New York currently has two different collections: Made in Peru, where alpaca wool is featured in pillows and blankets, and The World Collection, scented candles inspired by some of Petra’s favorite places – Haiti (where she currently lives), Indonesia, and her home country of the Czech Republic.
When showing me the Czech Holiday Cookie candle she excitedly told me about how every Christmas her family gets together and bakes these holiday cookies, each having a job in the process so in the end the cookie represents all of them together…fittingly, this candle represents the “Togetherness of Family” and the scent is modeled after this family recipe. Below, she shows me where she is from, so proud to have been able to put her hometown on the design.
Above & Below: Looking at her editorial in the printed issue of Billionaire Magazine.
Petra wears J Brand jeans (so comfy, she had me touch them to prove how soft and stretchy they were. Her favorite pants to travel in, she says), Stuart Weitzman boots (currently on sale!), Toupy top, Hermes belt, Gucci Jacket & a handmade scarf.
Then she was off to a lunch meeting at Blue Water Grill where we parted ways, each to go on in different directions of our busy lives but hopefully with a bit more kindness in our hearts.