Supermodel Petra Nemcova Talks About Becoming An Entrepreneur

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Petra Nemcova left the Czech Republic at the age of 18 to pursue her dreams of being a model, and was met with pure success. After winning the 1995 Czech Elite Model Look award, she jetted off to Milan, where her career continued to flourish; in addition to being featured in campaigns for global brands like Cartier and Victoria’s Secret, she’s appeared in countless magazines, from Elle to Sports Illustrated.

But her looks aren’t the only thing she’s got going for her.

Nemcova spoke with Huffington Post about her first dip into the entrepreneurial world with her luxury design brand, Be The Light. The company boasts a collection of fancy candles representative of different countries and the ambiance they evoke. For example, the Czech Holiday Cookie scent is “meant to convey the warm feeling that families experience when they get together for the holidays.”

The candles are U.S-made and will retail for $98. They will initially be sold at Bergdorf Goodman and online, and later pushed into Neiman Marcus. Following its candle line, the brand will also be producing other goods such as bed throws, vases, trays, and picture frames.

Nemcova told Huffington that the move to business was a “natural progression,”  adding, “I think you have different dreams in different stages of your life.” Nemcova took business classes at Cambridge University and London Business School to help guide her in her venture.

If you ask people in the fashion industry about old-timers like Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer, they’ll say to be a successful model you have to be very business-minded,” Nemcova said. “I’m more or less an old-timer too.”

Nemcova is also a philanthropist; she started the Happy Hearts funds after falling victim to the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, where she lost her fiancee, photographer Simon Atlee, and suffered from several internal injuries.

In a heart-wrenching interview with Diane Sawyer, she described the final moments she spent with her husband, and the eight hours she spent clinging to a palm tree before she was rescued. The Happy Hearts fund is a tribute to him and aims to help aid people affected by natural disasters.