Paulina Porizkova is sweatin’ to the oldies—“I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “Sweet Dreams”—in the “Awesome 80’s Dance Class” at Crunch’s Union Square branch. Porizkova, who lives nearby with her husband, Cars front man Ric Ocasek, and their two sons (12 and 16), comes weekly to stay in shape and, perhaps, commune with music from the era when she was among the world’s reigning supermodels, appearing on the cover of Vogue three times in one year (1986) and getting a then-record $6 million contract with Estée Lauder. The instructor runs the class through grueling, goofy dance routines (“Walk Like an Egyptian” arm moves, “Lucky Star”–type punches), demanding that they “Give me drama!” Porizkova, who, at 45 is probably the oldest in the class but has the best body, fumbles through her moves, often looking endearingly gangly, like Audrey Hepburn in her Funny Face beatnik dance sequence; she also makes funny faces in the mirror at me.
Porizkova is a writer these days. She published a roman à clef called A Model Summer and blogs for Huffington Post and modelinia.com. She often writes about how she feels at parties where people don’t recognize her, and refers to herself as a “has-been.” Like when she ran into Anna Wintour in the ladies’ room at a recent event: “ ‘Hi Anna,’ I said brightly,” Porizkova blogged. “Her large eyes in her large head flickered. And with the slightest nod, one that may have been a twitch, she left me standing at the sinks.”
“I felt a little hurt; it was making me feel more C[-list] than B,” Porizkova says. How would Wintour fare in the class? “That would be hysterical,” she says. “She must exercise, because she’s really skinny. Maybe she pukes all the time. Probably not. That was a wistful thought.” Wishful? “No. Wistful.”
Porizkova has garnered some attention for writing about how dismayed she is about other women’s excessive plastic surgery. Reacting to photos of Kate Hudson’s apparent breast enlargement, Porizkova blogged that she was “heartbroken,” because she saw Hudson as “an example of the perfect beauty with a small chest. Now … she just looks like any California blonde actress … she has diminished herself.” Of Madonna, she wrote: “What started as a sexy, well-shaped, and somewhat hairy Italian girl has ended as a cool Nordic blonde … she is starting to sort of melt away into the stew of the famous-women-over-50 high-cheekboned blondes-who-cannot-frown.”
“You can always tell work, even subtle,” says Porizkova, who admits to dyeing her gray hairs. But if she ever gets “a wattle,” she says, she’ll have work done—and she thinks her thighs are too fat. “They’re saddlebags!” she exclaims. “Look.” She puts her legs together to show how the flesh touches. But getting reduction surgery “isn’t going to make me look better. I’m a Czech girl with thighs, so I’m doing my best.”
After the class, we go with her assistant—a pretty Latvian woman who took the class with her—to a bakery to buy pastries to take home for TV night with the kids. “Having fun is being with my friends who don’t judge me,” Porizkova says.