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Paulina Porizkova and Pain

By Samantha Simmons | March 13, 2023

A refugee turned model, that is the story of Paulina Porizkova in which she details in her new book, “No Filter: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful.”

​Paul Grondahl and Paulina Porizkova in the Sciences Library at the University at Albany.

Photo Credit: Samantha Simmons / The ASP

Porizkova, speaking to a group of students in the Science Library, said she grew up in Czechoslovakia and was raised by her grandmother who taught her self-worth. At the age of nine, she was separated from her grandmother. She then went to live in Sweden for a few years before going to Paris at the age of 15, where she became a career model by chance.

She said she grew up wanting to be a housekeeper, post office employee, and an artist. Modeling, however, was the opportunity that arose first, with lots of money. “I made more money in a month than my parents made in a year. I could not just leave back for school like I planned to after a year,” Porizkova said. “When I tried to go back, I thought, ‘I don’t belong anymore.’”

Her book is a piece of her heart, she said, “it’s all the stuff that had been sitting in me for two-years [COVID-19].” The personal essays examine the hardships of love, anxiety, and life as she experienced them as a refugee, model, mother, and actress.

​Porizkova now uses Instagram and other social media platforms unironically to share her thoughts, feelings, and life.

As she now walks through life as an author and occasional model now, Porizkova said, “I notice people’s faces, but not with judgment. Just as this is what it is.” During her modeling career, if she had a pimple or some facial blemish that could detract from a photo, the shoot was over, and she lost a day's worth of pay that she depended on.

​While writing “No Filter,” the part that pained her​ the most was reminiscing on love, the early stages of it. For her, she had to reconsider these tender moments that turned sour in some ways and remind herself how lucky she had been to have love and to have been loved. In reference to her late ex-husband, Ric Ocasek, she said, “our individual scars fit just right at that time.”

Porizkova reads books voraciously, pouring through three books a week as an escape from everyday life. While some around her in the modeling world underestimated her intelligence, she kept reading. She reads to sleep and gets lost in multiple books a week.

“No Filter” also expands on her struggles with anxiety. She shared that writing a book produced more anxiety for her than modeling ever had. She knew a day would be over in a few hours while modeling and does not care for the job too much, but her writing is a piece of her, it is something she wants to connect with others and if the readers reject her writing she feels as though they are rejecting her, which is scarier than any critique she received as a model.

Porizkova has also authored two other books, “A Model Summer” and “The Adventures of Ralphie the Roach’ as well as been seen in more than a dozen movies and TV shows.


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