If you don't already count Petra Nemcova as one of your life inspirations, that's about to change. The striking supermodel is an incredible survivor of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, who, despite suffering tremendous loss and heartbreak, refused to let the tragedy crush her spirit. We caught up with the globetrotting philanthropist, who founded the Happy Hearts Fund to help raise money for areas impacted by natural disaster, to talk about her work, 2015 resolutions, and how she cultivates beauty and happiness in her life (the secret to her famous glowing skin included). Keep scrolling for some serious inspiration!
I love the idea of Happy Hearts, the namesake of your foundation. What makes your own heart happy and what do you think others can do to have happy hearts?
Nemcova: I just read recently a really nice post that’s short but very true: Happiness is an inside job. You can truly become happy only from within. Externally, things come and go, and if you are not truly happy inside, the things from outside, one day they make you happy and another, sad. True, long-lasting happiness has to come from within, and when it does, good or bad things externally don’t impact your own happiness. Each of us has to work on it ourselves.
The reason we named the foundation Happy Hearts Fund is because when you help someone, and do it from pure intention, you make that person happy, but at the same time you make yourself happy. That’s why it’s Happy Hearts plural, because it goes both ways, for the receiver and the person giving the help. Happy hearts on both ends.
I know that the Happy Hearts Fund focuses on educating and empowering others. What is the most important life lesson you have learned?
Nemcova: There are lots of lessons you learn at school, but I think some of the most important life lessons, we learn from life, and not necessarily in the classroom format. Of course many teachers can bring that, but what speaks to me and I think is transferrable to every single person around the world is about hardship, and about the power of choice really. Because we all go through hardship, whether losing loved ones or being sick. In every experience, no matter how hard it is, we have a choice to focus on the negative or the positive. The positive may be only five percent or three percent, but if we can focus on the positive, then we can empower ourselves because positive attracts positive, and then we can become stronger and make others stronger. I’ve seen that lesson work in my own life, and I’ve seen it work in the lives of others, and it is transferrable to anyone. It’s not just a lesson, but a really great, practical tool on how we can uplift ourselves and also others.
You obviously are a beautiful person, inside and out. What are your beauty mantras?
Nemcova: If you are taking caring of your body, your mind, and also, the soul, you will be much more harmonized. Under each comes different practical things. For your mind, it can be certain things like thinking positive and meditation. If you take care of all three parts and make them happy and balanced, that is the best beauty mantra because it will make you shine and radiate the most.
Practically speaking, I love using manuka honey. It’s an unusual trick. In the morning, make your face a little bit damp with honey and sort of cleanse your skin with it. It is antibacterial and works like a cleanser, but at the same time it plumps up your skin. Wash it off after about five minutes. It’s very natural and serves that dual purpose of cleansing while making your whole skin plump overall.
My routine is first thing in the morning I take a mixture of greens: spirulina, chlorella, and greens together. If I can, I will have hot or warm water because the warm water cleanses your insides. Then I cleanse with the manuka honey—only in the morning, as it’s not a cleanser for the evening after walking around all day. Then I use a scrub. I use different ones, but there’s a very nice one from Bliss, Micro Magic. Then after that I put on my Clinique Superdefense Moisturizer ($47), which has SPF 20. In the evening, I cleanse with Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash ($24) and then use a heavier cream, Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm ($29), to take my makeup off. My skin gets really dry with flying every second or third day so I use Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask ($33), which helps me stay super moisturized.
Exercise-wise, I love Physique 57.
Do you have a resolution for 2015?
Nemcova: Stay true to my true self. Many times life takes you in different directions and influences you so much that you stop walking on the path where you want to walk.
Keep scrolling to shop the Clinique and Happy Hearts Fund collaboration—a great way to buy a gift that truly gives back. Clinique and Happy Hearts Fund have a continuing partnership dedicated to help surpass Happy Hearts Funds’ goal of building 100 schools by the 10th anniversary of the horrific 2004 tsunami. With the purchase of either the Clinique Happy Heart Perfume ($38) or the Clinique Happy Heart Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm ($27) in Plumped Up Pink, Clinique will donate $10 and $3 respectively, directly to the Happy Hearts Fund.