What do you mean exactly?
I’ve been learning about spirituality for the last 17 years and with that you have a different understanding
of the world and the universe, especially about how interconnected we are. One of the reminders I have to stay connected with everything is on my wrist: the number 108. It’s considered asacred number in many traditions
such as Hinduism, Buddhism and others. In Nemcova’s walk of life, many people describe themselves as spiritual – perhaps so as not to appear superficial. Or because it is easier to express a few thoughts than to assume responsibility for a cause.
In Petra Nemcova’s case, neither is true: she isn’t just a model, she is also a philanthropist who uses her celebrity status to fight poverty. Her spirituality is genuine: in 2004 her life came to a terrible turning point when she was in Thailand during the tsunami. Her fiancé died in the disaster, she narrowly escaped by clinging to a palm tree for eight hours despite her serious injuries. After recovering from the ordeal, Nemcova set up the Happy Hearts
Fund, which builds safe, resilient schools in nine countries. So far, the total is 118.
Was there ever a time you wanted to abandon the world of glitz and glamour for good?
When I got my first two jobs after getting back to full health after the tsunami I couldn’t stop crying. I just kept saying to myself: “What are you doing here? What’s the meaningful purpose in this?”
How did you emerge from that low point?
suddenly found meaning in my work again, because I saw that everyone I worked with wanted to help. In the beginning, the Happy Hearts Fund was supported first by people from the fashion world: photographers donated their pictures, designers their dresses. That kind of charity is beneficial to both sides: on the one hand, the donors feel they are doing something meaningful, and it makes them happy, and the recipients get the opportunity to study at safe schools, which makes them happy. We build a bridge between worlds. I’m at almost every opening ceremony for every new school.