Kurková is among the world's top-earning models, having earned an estimated $5 million in the year 2007. She was placed 6th in the Forbes annual list of the highest earning models.
Early life and careerKarolína Kurková was born February 28, 1984 in Děčín, Czech Republic, to Josef Kurka, a Czech basketball player, and a Slovak mother. While Kurková was young, she was made fun of for her height. But after a friend sent photos of Kurková to an agency in Prague, she – at 15 – landed a runway appearance, as well as a commercial and print advertising. She later traveled to Milan to gain more experience and signed a modeling contract with Miuccia Prada.
In September 1999, Kurková appeared in the American edition of fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue, and after moving to New York City at the age of 17, graced the cover of the February 2001 edition, becoming one of the youngest models ever to appear on the magazine's cover.
Kurková is also known for her unusual navel. She actually doesn't have one because of an operation she had as an infant.
Modeling careerFollowing her Vogue cover, Kurková became recognized at haute couture fashion shows. Additionally, the lingerie brand Victoria's Secret chose her to be a part of 2000's fashion show webcast, though she was only 16 at the time. Prominent fashion houses such as Yves Saint Laurent signed Kurková to contracts, while print campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, Valentino, Louis Vuitton, John Galliano, Chanel, Christian Dior, Hugo Boss, Versace, H&M, and others helped expose her even more. In the 2002 Victoria's Secret fashion show, she wore the multi-million dollar fantasy bra, worth almost $10 million and designed by Hearts on Fire. Other runway credits of hers include Alberta Ferretti, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Chanel, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, and Vera Wang.
Kurková was named "Model of the Year" at the 2002 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards, in part for her work ethic, having worked twenty-three weeks straight.Photographed by Steven Meisel, she was presented on the September 2004 cover of American Vogue as one of the "Models of the Moment".
Kurková has appeared in almost twenty Vogue magazine covers internationally, including the French, Italian, UK, German, Russian, Greek, and Korean editions, and has also appeared in international editions of Elle, Vanity Fair, and The Face. She has worked with noted fashion photographers like Steven Klein, Mario Sorrenti, and Mario Testino.
After being contracted as a Victoria's Secret Angel in 2005, she was featured in the 2006 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, showcasing the $6.5 million fantasy bra decked with almost 2000 diamonds weighing 800 carats (160 g) and a centerpiece diamond brooch weighing 10 carats (2.0 g). As an Angel, she received a star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" prior to the 2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, appeared on the February 2008 cover of Esquire, re-creating the classic 1966 Angie Dickinson cover for the magazine's 75th anniversary, and was chosen as part of People magazine's 100 most beautiful people in the world.
In December 2007, she could be seen in print ads for Dell.
In the last Cía Marítima fashion show, Kurková's unexpectedly heavier physique brought criticism from the Brazilian press as having "too much back fat, love handles and cellulite".
Kurková has a smooth indentation in place of a navel, and photographs are often altered by the addition of an image of a navel to hide this.
Kurková is represented by Viva Models Paris.
In November 2008, E! Entertainment Television voted her the world's sexiest woman, beating the likes of Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Gisele Bündchen, and her fellow Angels Heidi Klum and Adriana Lima.
Kurkova modeled for Bottega Veneta spring 2011 campaign in a classic Hitchcock-esque style.
Television/movie careerKurková made her film debut alongside Frankie Muniz, Harvey Keitel, and Amber Valletta in Howard Himelstein's coming-of-age dramedy, My Sexiest Year. She played Courtney A. Kreiger / Cover Girl in the live action 2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra film. She was a guest judge on the fifteenth season of America's Next Top Model.
She appeared on the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards along with Dwight Yoakam in presenting the "Top Female Vocalist" award to Carrie Underwood. She also guest starred on NBC's Chuck in Season 4, Episode 2, "Chuck Versus the Suitcase"
She lives in New York City's TriBeCa district and enjoys courtside basketball games at Madison Square Garden.
Kurkova revealed that she has suffered from hypothyroidism, which caused her to gain weight.
In July 2009, she announced she is expecting a child with her fiancé, Archie Drury. On October 29, Kurkova gave birth. The baby boy, Tobin Jack Drury, weighed in at 6 lbs. 3 oz., and is the couple's first child.