Paulina Porizkova: No Filter

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A Supermodel Shares Her Story, Her Way

Once the face of Estée Lauder, and a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl, Paulina Porizkova was one of the highest paid models in the industry. While her supermodel career was filtered by photographers and journalists, Porizkova, now in her 50s, tells her own story in the memoir, “No Filter: The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful.”

The Czech-born Porizkova was first discovered at 13, rising to modeling fame in Paris in the 1980s. As someone whose career was based on her outward appearance, Paulina has always been conscious of being judged by her looks. She acknowledges that while the messages society sends as we age may be damaging, the most potentially dangerous ones may come from inside ourselves. It’s up to us to decide what to do with the messaging.

“We have three options,” Porizkova told Growing Bolder. “We can either make ourselves look younger so that we don’t get pushed away from the main table…because there’s so many choices now that we actually can go back to looking younger. We can accept our invisibility and just quietly retire into a corner, where it seems that is where society wants us. Or we can embrace who we are and what we are and shout and say, ‘I am not ready to be invisible.’”

At just 19, Porizkova met and fell in love with the lead singer of the band, The Cars, Ric Ocasek, who was 40. The two married, raised two sons and were together for 35 years. Eventually they amicably separated but were living together when Ocasek died, following a surgery. Following his death, Porizkova learned Ocasek had disinherited her from his estate, stating “My wife is not entitled to any part of my estate, because she abandoned me.”

The shock of his death, coupled with the trauma of betrayal, led right into the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic. Porizkova needed time to rebuild her life, on her own terms.

“You know how when you first come of age and the world is wide open to you? You’re filled with hope because you’re going to go out there and conquer the world, find love, have a house, and have a family or amazing career or whatever it is that you want to do.

“I’m in a second coming of age. This is it. My life was wiped down. Somebody gave me an unexpected gift and burnt my house down to the ground. So, I have to build myself a new one. The difference is that this time I have the tools and I know what kind of house I want.”

The memoir details her journey to this point, and her view of the possibilities ahead.

“I’m in my prime now,” Porizkova told Growing Bolder. “You might think it was back when my face was perfectly taught and plump and smooth, but no! With all the knowledge that I’ve acquired in my life and everything that I’ve done, I’m in my prime now. So there.”

This article is featured in the Spring 2023 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.

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