Karolína Kurková (born February 28, 1984) is a Czech model, best known as one of the Victoria's Secret Angels, and an aspiring actress. Mario Testino said of Kurková, "The proportions of her body and her face, as well as her energy level, make her a model who could fit almost into any moment." Designer Marc Jacobs said, "She has an angelic look with a dark side, she's sweet and fun but looks like she could be an evil bewitching child." Vogue editor Anna Wintour called her the "next supermodel".
Karolína Kurková was born in Děčín, Czechoslovakia, to Josef Kurka, a Czech basketball player, and a Slovak motherWhile Kurková was young, she was made fun of for her height. But after a friend sent photos of Kurková to an agency in Prague, she - at 15- landed a runway appearance, as well as a commercial and print ad. She later traveled to Milan to gain more experienceand signed a modeling contract with Miuccia Prada.
In September 1999, Kurková appeared in the American edition of fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue, and after moving to New York City at the age of 17, graced the cover of the February 2001 edition, becoming one of the youngest models ever to appear on the magazine's cover.
Following her Vogue cover, Kurková became recognized at haute couture fashion shows, and lingerie brand Victoria's Secret chose her to be a part of 2000's televised fashion show special. Prominent fashion houses such as Yves Saint Laurent signed Kurková to contracts, while print campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Christian Dior, Hugo Boss, Versace, and others helped expose her even more. In the 2002 Victoria's Secret fashion show, she wore the multi-million dollar fantasy bra, worth almost $10 million and designed by Hearts on Fire. Other runway credits of hers include Alberta Ferretti, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Chanel, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, and Vera Wang.
Kurková was named "Model of the Year" at the 2002 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards, in part for her work ethic, having worked twenty-three weeks straight.
Kurková has appeared in almost twenty Vogue magazine covers internationally, including the French, Italian, UK, German, Russian, Greek, and Korean editions, and has also appeared in international editions of Elle, Vanity Fair, and The Face. She has worked with noted fashion photographers like Steven Klein, Mario Sorrenti, and Mario Testino.
After being contracted as a Victoria's Secret Angel in 2005, she was featured in the 2006 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, showcasing the $6.5 million fantasy bra decked with almost 2000 diamonds weighing 800 carats and a centerpiece diamond brooch weighing 10 carats. She is the only Angel besides Heidi Klum to model the fantasy bra twice. As an Angel, she received a star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" prior to the 2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, appeared on the February 2008 cover of Esquire, re-creating the classic 1966 Angie Dickinson cover for the magazine's 75th anniversary, and was chosen as part of People magazine's 100 most beautiful people in the world. She has appeared in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show’s 2000-2008 consecutivly and was an angel from 2005 to 2008.
In December 2007, she could be seen in print ads for Dell.
In the last Cía Marítima fashion show, Kurková's unexpectedly heavier physique brought criticism from the Brazilian press as having "too much back fat, love handles and cellulite".
Kurková is among the world's top-earning models, having earned an estimated $5 million in the year 2007. She was placed 6th in the Forbes annual list of the highest earning models.
Kurková has no navel, and photographs are often altered by the addition of an image of a navel to hide this.
In November 2008, E! Entertainment Television voted her the world's sexiest woman, beating the likes of Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Gisele Bündchen, and her fellow Angels Heidi Klum and Adriana Lima.
Kurková is set to make her film debut alongside Frankie Muniz, Harvey Keitel, and Amber Valletta in Howard Himelstein's coming-of-age dramedy, My Sexiest Year. She has also been cast as Courtney A. Kreiger / Cover Girl in the live action G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra to be released in 2009.
She appeared on the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards along with Dwight Yoakum in presenting the "Top Female Vocalist" award to Carrie Underwood.
She currently lives in New York City's TriBeCa district and enjoys courtside basketball games at Madison Square Garden. Karolina's interests are football, basketball, hiking, and acting.
Kurkova has revealed that she has suffered from hypothyroidism, which caused her to gain extra weight.
In March 2006, Kurková received an award from the non-profit organization, Women Together, for her humanitarian work. Kurková was honored for working for the welfare of children through organizations such as "The Beautiful Life Fund", "Free Arts" and "Global Youth Action Network".Karolina Kurkova Received the Atmosphere Magazine Award at the Madrid Planet Hollywood on December 18, 2003.