Paulina Porizkova, Full-Frontal Emotion


Ms. Banfield introduced Ms. Porizkova and Mr. Sorkin, 59, by text message, and they began corresponding. A month later, she flew to Los Angeles to go on a date. (Reached by email, Mr. Sorkin said that he prefers not to comment about people unless he is working with them, “but if Paulina’s ever a cinematographer on something I write I’ll give you a thousand words.”)

While on the West Coast, Ms. Porizkova also spent time with relatives, including Colleen Otcasek, 57, the wife of Ric’s oldest son, Chris, and Olivia Otcasek, 22, Colleen and Chris’s daughter.

Colleen, herself a model and a daughter of the 1950s screen legend Don Murray, said that after decades of expecting to be beautiful and silent, Paulina wishes to be reconsidered. “I know this is something she struggled with in the ’80s and ’90s,” Colleen said. “I think she wanted to be known as very intelligent. She was a supermodel at 17 years old and she’s doing all these interviews with people asking big questions about her perspective on life. The media fails to acknowledge that they are looking for wise words from a teenager.”

Even for Olivia, a product of the always-be-sharing Insta-generation, Paulina has an ability to break through reserve. “She pulls out this openness in us when we’re together,” Olivia said. “My mom and I are super, super-close, and we think we talk about every subject. But when Paulina’s around, it’s like, ‘Grandma’s here, let’s talk about sex!’”

Back in her apartment, Ms. Porizkova was unpacking, sorting through mail and peeling and posting samples of temporary wallpaper for Oliver’s bedroom.

The apartment, she realized the day she decided to rent it, is directly next door to the very first one where she lived in New York, back in the 1980s. “Talk about full circle,” she said, a little sadly. “Being 17 you feel like, everything is about to happen. Here I am, 40 years later, it’s happened. I’m like, ‘Is this it or is this the end of one circle and the beginning of another?’

“The hope from the past is tempered with reality of what it takes to go places, how hard things can be, and how everything is not magical. At the same time, you gain self-knowledge and, perhaps, acceptance of yourself that makes you so much more interesting as a person. It’s not that I’m stronger now. It’s that I’m aware of my strength.”

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