There aren't a lot of models who you can identify from either their first or their last name. Daniela Peštová is one such lady. If you talk to anyone in the fashion industry with any sense of history and mention that Daniela will be at a party, or that Pestova is going to be on the cover of Elle, they should know right off the bat who you are talking about. Let's learn a little bit about this legend.
Daniela was born in Teplice, Czechoslovakia (it is now the Czech Republic) on 14 October 1970. The story goes that Daniela wasn't thinking about modeling. In fact, she was a mail carrier of all things. Then, Dominique Caffin of the Madison agency spotted her at a theater. That's the way it always happens, right?
Well, the story is a bit more unusual than that once you get into the details, because Daniela was already 19 years old at the time. Most models, especially European ones, already are veterans by then.
Some claim that Daniela did some local modelling beginning at age 17, so maybe she wasn't really 19 during her first gigs - but she was still "discovered" older than most girls who become superstars. Despite her late start, Daniela quickly made up for lost time.
|Daniela at the Prada Spring 1992 Ready-to-Wear Fashion Show.|
Just getting spotted isn't always enough; usually, a model then has to prove herself worthy. The typical way to do that is to enter a modeling contest. So, Daniela entered such a competition, and won. See how easy it can be? Then, she signed with Madison.
By 1991, Daniela was walking for Revlon. She got her first major cover, for Vogue Germany, in January of that year, and also one for Cosmopolitan.
|Vogue Australia, November 1995.|
Everybody loved Daniela, but she still wasn't breaking out into the truly big time. To capitalize on her Cosmo cover, the following year, 1992, Daniela moved to New York City. It proved to be a charm for Daniela.
|“Daniela At Ease,” Glamour US, March 1996. Photographer: Andre Carrara.|
Daniela quickly became a legend in the modeling racket. She was a spokesmodel for L'Oreal beginning in 1994.
Around that time, Daniela began her long run with Sports Illustrated. She was in the Swimsuit Issue in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2006.
|Daniela Pestova on the cover of Sports Illustrated.|
And, Daniela was probably in Sports Illustrated some other years, too, but when you get to double figures, who's really counting any more? She was on the cover in her very first year, 1995, too - that's considered special.
|Christian Dior, 1991.|
Daniela was in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 1998, 2000 and 2001.
|Angie Everhart, Naomi Campbell and Daniela Pestova.|
When Sports Illustrated decided to feature Joanne Gair's body painting in its swimsuit issue, who do you think they called? You're right! It was Daniela Pestova.
Daniela is one of those models who could have an entire wall... make that an entire room with pictures of all of her covers on the walls from floor to ceiling. I don't know if she does have such a room, just that she could do that if she wanted to. Heck, if you've got them, you go, girl!
Just as a small sampling, here are a few of Daniela's covers over the years:
Donna (Andreas Ortner)
Harper's Bazaar Czech Republic (Matus Toth)
Marie Claire Czech Republic
Marie Claire, USA; Cosmopolitan, USA
Mademoiselle, USA; Cosmopolitan, USA
Daniela follows in the footsteps of fellow supermodel Paulina Porizkova, another one of those models with the two recognizable names. Yes, Czech women can make an impact.
Daniela has a variety of looks. She has the nickname "The Chameleon" as a result. Oh, in Czech, that's Chameleon. See how easy it can be to learn foreign languages?
Recently, Daniela has been doing work with Avon and their Anew skin care products. She also appears in Nutri Advance, Luxe makeup and Celluvive ads.
Daniela is signed with Trump Models.
|Daniela at the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in NYC.|
Daniela may have been married to Tommaso Buti - they are described as husband and wife in '90s shots, but it may have been an informal deal. She married Tommaso Buti, then the CEO of Fashion Café, in 1995, and they had a son, Yannick Fausto, the following year. The couple got divorced in 1998.
Daniela's subsequent long-time relationship with Slovak singer Pavol Habera, frontman of Slovak band TEAM, definitely is informal, but with some formal results. They have a daughter, Ella, and a son, Paul Henry, together.
Daniela also was in Peter Lindbergh's 2014 book, "Images of Women II: 2005-2014." If anyone knows a supermodel, it would be Lindbergh, who some claim is responsible for the whole phenomenon.
While Daniela has not done much acting, she has appeared on numerous shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and various Sports Illustrated video projects.
Daniela remains at the top of the modeling world with her timeless, classic beauty. That's pretty rare: most models hang it up after, you know, the first half dozen Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues (I'm obviously joking, it is exceedingly rare for any but the very top supermodels to get that many covers).
Sure, Daniela works hard to maintain her look - but that kind of pure beauty is not something that you can create, it has to just happen. For Daniela, it happened. Daniela, incidentally, has a daughter named Ella, born July 21, 2002.
Daniela has well over 100,000 followers on Instagram,
The Sports Illustrated people don't forget their top models, so Daniela made an appearance in the 2014 "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful" TV Special.