If Paulina Porizkova could relive her supermodel heyday, she’d spend less time trying to prove she was more than just a pretty face and more time enjoying the fact that she earned up to $10,000 a day and appeared on hundreds of magazine covers. “I didn’t care to become famous simply because I was attractive,” says the striking Czech, who got her start at 15. “I was like, ‘No, no, wait: I know everything about classical composers.’ ”
These days, the New York–based Porizkova knows how to “swim with the current,” although her tendency to tell it like she sees it hasn’t diminished. Take her reaction to Claudia Schiffer and Helena Christensen posing topless for U.K. magazines last year: “They did it for publicity, right? I hope they got it.” So, would she do a nude shoot herself? “It’s like asking if I’d go to Alaska and build a tent. I might—but why?” That said, she adds: “Never say never.”
Over the years, Porizkova has expanded into acting (Anna), novel writing (A Model Summer) and stints on reality TV. In 2008, she joined the judges’ table of America’s Next Top Model—and in 2009, she left. (“I was fired,” she says with typical candor.) Playing a con artist on several recent episodes of As the World Turns brought her up short: “Watching the show, I thought, whoa, I’m not a girl anymore,” she says. Crinkling her forehead for effect, Porizkova says she’s never had Botox—but, “I use every freaking $250 cream I can find in hopes that it will miraculously do the stuff that other people have to have injected.” In the end, “I have better things to do than get my face frozen,” she says.
On the day she spoke to More, she was finishing a Cyclops head for a fifth grade production of The Odyssey (she and Ric Ocasek, former front man for The Cars, have been married 25 years and have two boys). “It’s interesting to talk about the choices you make,” she says. “I’m trying to learn from my past; I figure I still have another 40 years to go."