It is the stuff of fairy tales. Growing up in a small town in the Czech Republic, Karolina Kurkova was, in her words, “the tall, skinny nerd”. Whenever someone pointed a camera in her direction, she never wanted to smile. “I thought my teeth were too big,” she remembers.
But after a friend sent her photos to a modeling agency in Prague, the self-conscious 15-year-old landed a runway appearance, before being whisked to Milan and signing a contract with Prada. Then, in September 1999, she was hand-picked by Anna Wintour for an American Vogue photo shoot with Steven Meisel, one of the biggest names in fashion photography.
“He said my smile was beautiful. So I started smiling!” Kurkova recalls. Wintour put one of the shots on the February 2001 issue
“Steven Meisel told me that my SMILE was BEAUTIFUL, so I started smiling!”