Thursday, March 8, 2012

March of the Hot Vegan Army - Day #9 - Petra Nemcova

Petra Nemcova

Know her from: This Czech beauty has graced MANY magazines over the course of her career, including the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition 2002-2006. She is an international model who has been part of ad campaigns for a slew of big name companies including (but most certainly not limited to) Victoria's Secret, Max Factor, Benetton, Pantene, Bulgari Sunglasses, Clarins, HP Intel, Cartier, and Rampage. She also competed in 2011's 12th season of Dancing with the Stars. Perhaps the most notable reason that you may have heard her name though is because she survived, against terrible odds, the devastating tsunami in Thailand back in 2004, which was caused by the Indian Ocean Earthquake.

Why she's vegan: Petra is a very globally-conscious person, and she became a vegan in 2007, largely to make a public statement against global overfishing. However, her choice to avoid meat and dairy also gives the impression that Petra disapproves of other unsustainable practices of food production.

Why she's awesome: It's hard to figure out where to begin on this topic, because Petra is quite an amazing human being for many reasons. I would be remiss, however, if I did not mention the story of her survival in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. During the unexpected and horribly destructive flooding, Petra's fiancé, photographer Simon Atlee, was swept out to sea, and Petra's pelvis was broken in 4 places. She survived this ordeal by clinging to a palm tree that was partially above the rushing water for an estimated 8 hours. She had an extraordinary will to live, and she is a survivor in the truest sense of the word.

Petra is not only amazing for having survived this terrible tragedy, but for the hope and help she has given others through the Happy Hearts Fund, which she created in 2005. This organization was created and underwritten in such a way that 100% of all donations would be provided to helping children in the recovery efforts after the Indian Ocean tsunami. This organization has been expanded to help other disaster relief efforts since then as well. The HHF helped victims of Hurricane Katrina, and the earthquake in Peru in 2007. The organization was also active in Haiti years before the horrible earthquake of 2010, and continues to help in the wake of that disaster. HHF is also working to help Japan recover from its own terrible earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Petra is a global activist and humanitarian, and a very bright and intelligent woman. She speaks 6 languages, and was appointed Honorary Consul from the Czech Republic to Haiti in late 2011. She is now married to British actor Jamie Belman. One hopes that with all she has been through, and all that she has accomplished in the world, that she has now achieved some of that happiness she's worked so hard to bring to others. She is a genuine role model, and I am wowed by her.

Petra, you are an amazing human being, and an inspiration to us all.

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