After Tsunami, Petra Nemcova Going "Dancing With a Purpose"
March 14th, 2011 12:07 PM by Free Britney
Petra Nemcova nearly bailed on Dancing With the Stars, which begins next week. But the reason she almost quit is now the exact reason she's hanging in.
With the premiere days away, the supermodel - who barely survived the deadly Asian 2004 tsunami - is shaken up emotionally by last week's disaster in Japan.
"It's very hard to look ... at those videos," she told Access Hollywood.
"There's the famous saying 'six degrees of separation,' but when a natural disaster happens, there's no degree of separation. We are all connected."
Petra Nemcova has seen what a tsunami can do first hand.
In 2004, Nemcova spent eight hours clinging to a palm tree when deadly waves ravaged a Thai resort and claimed the life of her fiance, Simon Atlee.
After months of healing and learning how to walk again, she went back to Thailand to help - instead of going back to work in the fashion business.
She founded The Happy Hearts Foundation to aid children in the wake of natural disasters. She nearly left DWTS to devote herself entirely to it.
Instead, she'll be there when the premiere airs Monday - with the victims in mind.
Nemcova was talked out of dropping out of the competition, sources say - to get the word out to a weekly audience of 18 million viewers.
"This is really 'Dancing With A Purpose' for me," she said. "The purpose is to shine more of a light on the lives of children who are forgotten."
"It's usually when the cameras leave that the support leaves as well," she said last week. "Sometimes a whole generation skips their education."
"And, in areas where it's so poor already, they go even more down the spiral, and extreme poverty is there for so many more years."
Nemcova - now re-engaged to Jamie Belmer - was the only Dancing With the Stars cast member not there for the announcement this month.
She had a previous engagement -- a speech to give at the UN. She's a supermodel with a cause - and one to watch out for come next week.