NEW YORK, N.Y. - Karolina Kurkova wants to be the mentor on TV's "The Face" that she didn't have 13 years ago when she started modeling.
She will be the third coach on the new reality competition for up-and-coming models, working alongside Naomi Campbell and Coco Rocha, Oxygen Media announced Wednesday. Photographer Nigel Barker, a former judge on "America's Next Top Model," will serve as host.
Filming on "The Face" starts in September. The show will air early next year.
The trio of supermodels will scout their own teams and lead them through the sometimes glamorous — sometimes not — world of castings, runway shows, editorial and commercial photo shoots. The last model standing, in high heels, no doubt, will become the spokesmodel for a national brand.
Kurkova will be "a shoulder to cry on," she says, but she can also dole out tough love when needed. She's gotten even better at that since her son, Tobin, was born almost three years ago.
"I am someone who is nice but I know to achieve something you have to be tough and honest, but you don't have to be mean," the Czech-born Kurkova says.
Kurkova, 28, says she went into modeling after training to be a professional gymnast, so she had a strong work ethic and knew nothing is as easy as it looks.
There certainly are designers, stylists and photographers in the industry whom she now calls friends, Kurkova says. It's still a relatively small circle, though, because top models are always on the go, moving from job to job, often shuttling between time zones and never staying in one place for more than a few days.
As she climbed the ladder, people would be supportive and answer her questions, but she was without that one person to show her the ropes, including how to weave her personal life into a busy schedule. That's easier now that she has Tobin, she adds.
Kurkova says it will be nice to be based in New York for several months during filming of "The Face." But she doesn't see her days in front of the camera or on the catwalk slowing down.
"I never take it for granted. I'm always asking, 'What can I do better?' I haven't had the moment where I say, 'This is it! I've made it.'... I'm always thinking what about tomorrow?" she says.
Kurkova has shared the runway with Campbell and Rocha and admires them, although she doesn't know either one well.
"I'm speaking for all three of us: We've had great careers and we want to share what we've learned."
Samantha Critchell tweets fashion at (at)AP_Fashion and can be reached at (at)Sam_Critchell.