At 83 years old, New York City-born Carmen Dell’Orefice, known as “the world’s oldest working model”, shows off her timeless beauty for the latest issue of NEW YOU Magazine. While most models have a short career window, she remains practically ageless, famous for her striking white hair and remarkably youthful beauty. The perfect moment to seat back and pay our respects to a 7 decade long, extraordinary career.
Standing perfectly statuesque at 5’9” tall, Carmen Dell’Orefice is a living legend, possessing equal parts humility, grace, and beauty—the kind over which wars have been waged. Against all odds. Against everything we have been raised to believe true.
“I have had more magazine covers in the last 25 years than I have had in my whole elongated career. Today I am in a territory that business considers unmarketable: age and white hair. Slowly, however, I started to own that territory little by little because I stood up for age,” Carmen tells NEW YOU magazine.
On still having sex – and enjoying it: “Of course [I still have a sex life], why would I give that up? Do I love to breathe? If you have a Rolls Royce and it is up on wheels, you go in with the key and every now and then turn on the motor to make sure the motor is running. So when you want to drive the car, it is all oiled and ready”.
Remembering: At 13, The only child of an Italian immigrant father and Hungarian mother, she was spotted by the wife of a photographer, getting off a bus in her native New York City; the following year, she sat for Salvador Dalí – who gave her a painting in addition to the $7 she officially earned for modelling for him – before going on to work with the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century, including Cecil Beaton, Norman Parkinson and Richard Avedon. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts London, in recognition of her contribution to the fashion industry. The university sponsored a retrospective exhibition curated by illustrator and long-time friend David Downton, featuring Dell’Orefice’s Vogue covers, career highlights, and photographs from her personal archives. After her third divorce and in need of funds, Dell’Orefice returned to modeling in 1978, and continues to work to this day.