Karen Victoria Silvstedt (born September 19, 1974, in Skellefteå, Sweden) is a Swedish glamour model, actress, singer, and former professional skier.
Silvstedt was a member of the Swedish National Ski Team, ranking as high as fourth among her Olympic teammates in the Super-Giant Slalom. Silvstedt claims that when she was 16, she competed in a Best Fake Orgasm contest at a local bar. The contestants were Silvstedt and 10 guys, and the winner got a brand-new TV. When she came home, she told her mother she won it at a game of Bingo.
Silvstedt claims as a sports person she was a bit of a tom-boy who supposedly had never worn high heels, but after a shoulder injury ended her skiing career at 16, her mother and sister secretly entered her into the 1993 Miss Sweden Beauty Pageant. Silvstedt was the first runner-up in Miss Sweden, and went on to represent Sweden in the Miss World contest in South Africa, reaching the final eight contestants. She was then signed by a Parisian modeling agent and began a career in high fashion, working for various companies including Chanel, Christian Dior, Loris Azzaro, Givenchy, Valentino, and Giorgio Armani.
After being approached by Hugh Hefner, she appeared as a centerfold in the December 1996 issue of Playboy and was subsequently named Playmate of the Year in 1997. As a European, not being aware of the wider distribution and publicity effect of Playboy, she suddenly broke into the North American market. She has been featured in countless magazines, including GQ, Maxim, FHM, Gear, and Nuts, where in 2005 she came second to actress Jennifer Ellison in a competition to find the Sexiest Blonde in the World.
Like many glamour models and Playmates before her, she is trying to branch out into acting and business. Silvstedt claims her favorite hobby is singing, and in 2001 she recorded an album called “Girl On the Run”, published by EMI, which went gold in Sweden with the hit singles, “Hello, Hey” and “Rocksteady Love”.
Silvstedt was already well recognised in the United Kingdom when she took on a new career hosting The Late Show on Virgin Radio, and as a guest host on the TV show Eurotrash. She has appeared on the American TV shows Melrose Place and MTV’s The Real World, and has worked on Italian TV hosting several shows. She currently co-hosts La Roue de la Fortune, the French version of Wheel of Fortune on TF1, alongside Christophe Dechavanne.
Victoria made guest appearances in the Hollywood motion pictures: Boat Trip, The Independent, BASEketball, and Out Cold where she played up to her Swedish-Blonde “Inga” character. Silvstedt is now acting in lead roles in European films mainly based in Italy, and taking to the stage in North America.
Silvstedt became a spokesmodel for Guess? Jeans, following in the footsteps of former Guess models, Eva Herzigova, Anna Nicole Smith, and Shana Zadrick. In February 2006, she launched her own lingerie range during London Fashion Week.
Silvstedt claims that she speaks fluent Swedish and English, basic French, and very little Italian — plus some Norwegian and Eskimo-Inuit. (Note that Swedish and Norwegian are often mutually intelligible languages.)
Silvstedt married WCBS-TV sports telecaster Chris Wragge in June 2000 at Tuxedo Park Country Club in New York. In June 2006, Victoria and Chris threatened legal action against Sky News for slander, after pictures of her in Sardinia with a man other than her husband went onto the Internet. Sky News had to remove the page. Silvstedt and Wragge later separated.
Playboy Playmate: December 1996