Petra Nemcova Says She Struggled to Stay Thin Enough to Model

Petra Nemcova knows what it's like to struggle to stay thin and continue modeling.

"I'm naturally more curvy, so I always had to lose weight," the 27-year-old Czech supermodel says in People magazine's Oct. 2 issue, on newsstands Friday. "I took laxatives. I went through all of it just to be able to model."

Nemcova would not have faced that problem at this year's Madrid Fashion Week, where models deemed too skinny were banned from the runways.

The Association of Fashion Designers of Spain said it wanted models to project "an image of beauty and health" and shun a gaunt, emaciated look.

Nemcova appeared on the cover of the 2003 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She has appeared in magazines including Vogue and Marie Claire, and has modeled for Victoria's Secret.

She was vacationing in Thailand with her boyfriend Simon Atlee in December 2004 when waves from a deadly tsunami swept through their beach hut. Atlee, a 33-year-old British fashion photographer, was killed. Nemcova suffered a broken pelvis.

Nemcova recounted her story in an autobiography, "Love Always, Petra," co-authored with Jane Scovell.