In 2004, Czech model Petra Němcová was at the peak of her career. She was modeling for Victoria’s Secret and Cartier, and appearing on the covers of Elle, Cosmopolitan, and the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. But while she was on location in Thailand with photographer and then fiancé, Simon Atlee, the Indian Ocean earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck. Atlee drowned. Němcová managed to hold on to a palm tree for eight hours until she was rescued and airlifted to a hospital. She suffered a broken pelvis and serious internal injuries.
After the tsunami, Němcová created the Happy Hearts Fund (HHF), a non-profit organization to help rebuild safe-resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters. On the NBC show Escape, which airs Sunday, March 15 at 9pm, Němcová will tell her story of survival. On a lighter note, Nemcova has just been named the new face of lingerie company Ultimo. Photos from her first sexy shoot will appear in the summer ad campaign.