Dancing With the Stars

Petra Nemcova Is Like Mother Teresa, Says Karina Smirnoff

04/20/2011 at 01:45 PM EDT

Dancing with the Stars Results - Petra Nemcova Elimination
Petra Nemcova
Dan Steinberg/AP
In most competitions, your competitors usually want to see you fail – unless, that is, you are Petra Nemcova.

While the quickstep proved a giant misstep this week for the Dancing with the Stars contestant, her fellow cast members had nothing but glowing praise for the supermodel and tsunami survivor who has dedicated her life to charity work.

"I don't know how to take [her elimination], because I love her," former rival Kirstie Alley told PEOPLE shortly after the announcement of Tuesday night's results. "She's the sweetest, most amazing, bright spirit in the universe."

Nemcova's spirit proved infectious – even at the lowest of times on the show.





"I was venting to her last night [about being in the bottom] and she goes, 'You know, sometimes it is a blessing in disguise,' " said pro dancer Karina Smirnoff, who, along with partner Ralph Macchio (and Kendra Wilkinson and Louis van Amstel), was also in last place Monday night. "I was like, 'Who are you, Mother Teresa?' But it's nice to know that there are people like her out there."

On the Positive Side

Even after being booted from one of the top-rated shows in America, Nemcova still finds a silver lining.

"I will be always thankful for all the support from the audience and mainly for everyone who got inspired and started to do something to help children who are forgotten after natural disasters," Nemcova said.

In 2006, the Czech model founded the Happy Hearts Fund after suffering a broken pelvis and other internal injuries during the tsunami in Thailand. Through the organization she is now helping to rebuild schools and improve educational programs in natural disaster stricken areas around the world.

Nemcova has also involved some of her DWTS family in the good work.

"She's just so giving and generous and her charity is so important to her – so much so that she has asked me to be a part of it," said Macchio. "And that's the beauty of coming together in a situation like this show. She's a sweetheart."

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