The first time Karolina Kurkova starred in a Valentino campaign, she was part of an ambiguous love triangle. The second time, she was naked. Both the Fall/Winter 2001/2002 ready-to-wear campaign and the Spring/Summer 2003 ready-to-wear campaign were shot by Steven Meisel, and in each case, the legendary photographer tapped Kurkova for her sophisticated sex appeal. Kurkova was only 17 when she appeared in the FW ‘01/’02 campaign with Axel Hermann and Caroline Ribeiro, and yet she already exuded an aristocratic poise. Kurkova was never anyone’s plaything. And by the time she and Meisel re-teamed for the Spring ’03 campaign—one of fashion’s all-time clever-est—that poise had blossomed into something even more commanding. Holding styled print images of Valentino Spring ’03 looks up over her nude body, Kurkova flirted outrageously with the camera, her seduction a knowing commentary on the “sex sells” nature of marketing. Are you hot for Karolina? Well, Karolina is hot for these clothes…
There are lots of sexy models. But it’s the rare girl whose sexiness is tinged with wit—and that’s the magic of Karolina Kurkova. She’s known in the industry for her smarts and humor, to which Mr. Valentino and Mr. Giammetti, having known Kurkova since her teens, will happily attest. If you want proof of Karolina Kurkova’s comic chops, however, look no further than her cameo appearance in the episode “Leap Day” from the sixth season of 30 Rock. Kurkova doesn’t have much dialogue, but she slays with her indelible line “This time, the male will be in the Czech.”
“The Czech,” of course, is Kurkova herself. She was born in Prague, on February 28, 1984. This year, as Kurkova toasts her 32nd birthday, she’ll have an extra reason to celebrate: In November, Kurkova and husband Archie Drury welcomed their second son to their clan. With two boys in the brood, this model mom is definitely going to find her famous sense of humor coming in handy.