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Tom Bergeron

Petra Nemcova Biography

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Birth Name: Petra Nemcova
Born: 06/24/1979
Birth Place: Karvin

On Dec. 24, 2004, Nemcova narrowly escaped death when she experienced the devastating tsunami that swept across South Asia, wiping out entire towns and killing hundreds of thousands of people. At the time, Nemcova was vacationing in Phuket, Thailand with her then-boyfriend, photographer Simon Atlee. The couple was due to leave the country in two hours when the tsunami hit and before she realized what was happening, waves swept her out of their bungalow, almost drowning her and separating her from her beloved Atlee, before burying her into a layer of trash. Nemcova survived by spending up to eight hours clinging to a palm tree, but Atlee drowned during the ordeal. She spent weeks in a hospital healing from a shattered pelvis and internal injuries, to say nothing of coming to terms with her personal loss. After her recovery, Nemcova established the "Happy Hearts Fund," a charitable organization dedicated to improving children's lives through education and sustainable programs. In 2005, she released her autobiography, Love Always, Petra: A Story of Courage and the Discovery of Life's Hidden Gifts and also talked about her life-changing ordeal on ABC's "Primetime Wednesday" (1989- ). Nemcova continued to model, but she also ventured into television, hosting the reality competition series "A Model Life" (TLC, 2007), where she mentored young girls seeking a career in the fashion industry. In 2011, the supermodel, who reportedly loved to dance, competed on the 12th season of the hit reality series "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ).