Carmen Dell'Orefice born in 1931 in New York has been in the industry nearly her whole life starting off at age 15 and being on the cover Vogue before she reached the age of 16, since then she has had many great opportunities come her way throughout her life. In 2012 she was known as the oldest working model in the industry at the age of 80. So what has she done over these past 65 years?
Her career began as she was approached by the wife of a photographer on the bus at age 13 and within a couple of years of this she was being signed by Vogue and shot her first cover straight away aged 15. The next year she did another Vogue cover dressed as different Disney characters. Carmen and her mother struggled to survive on the wages she received as a model and she was so malnourished her dresses had to be pinned back at shoots. She always had the dream to become a ballet dancer but after being ill for a year she had grown too weak and tall so all hopes of this were gone but if she had gone on to be one she would never be where she is now. At age 21 she married her first husband after being with him for 5 years prior. At 28 they conceived their first child only for him to become unfaithful and leave. She then went on to marry her second husband who was one of her photographers who also then later decided to leave her. Her third marriage was also unsuccessful and also faded out after 11 years which is when she realised it was time to give up on it and now enjoys living herself. Carmen did not realise at her young age what all these people saw in her and did not believe herself to be a cover girl like the other models. She was not as outgoing as the other models and very much kept herself to herself but believes modelling gave her experiences she never would have had if she hadn’t got into it.
More recently in her life her look has become iconic as she is so well known in the industry and to still be able to model as she did before is incredible. At aged 85 this year she walked the end of the Paris summer fashion week showing she’s still got what it takes. “Im going for 105 and then I’ll see if I want to change professions” she quotes to a Harpers Bazaar showing she will always be interested in working in the industry.
Over the years she has worked with many great photographers including Richard Avedon who she worked with in Paris, he helped her become great by showing her how to let people see her best features in every picture taken. To help keep her beauty she has had regular procedures done which have included frequent silicone injections, a skin lift to get rid of her sun damaged skin and electrolysis to get rid of her hairline. Even if she hadn’t had these procedures I’m sure she would be looking just as good and would still be where she is today, walking on the runway.