After a double-knee-replacement surgery and a handful of retirement attempts, 85-year-old Carmen Dell’Orefice is keeping her 70-year modeling career going fashionably strong.
Let’s face it - the model gods do not want “the world’s oldest working supermodel” off the runway.
It all started when 13-year-old Carmen was spotted by the wife of Harper Baazar’s photographer, who took her photo and dubbed her “totally unphotogenic.” Two years later, she graced the cover of Vogue for the first time ever. From there, she went on to pose for some of the most celebrated photographers, including Cecil Beaton, Norman Parkinson, and Richard Avedon.
Now, Carmen hopes to help woman “get out of the closet about aging, live their life and not try to compete with themselves at a younger age or anybody else at any age.”
Along with other elderly working woman like Iris Afpel (95) and Jackie Rogers (84), Carmen also refuses to be part of a nationwide perception that older women have no value in the workplace.
“I’ve finally hit a point in my life where I have a look that is uniquely mine,” Carmen said in an interview with Videofashion. “Time defines me. I lived it, I own it, and I present it.”
We see you Carmen!
Even in her 80’s, the superstar still graces magazine covers, struts the runway, gets interviewed by notable publications, and fronts campaigns with luxurious brands.
"Today I am in a territory that business considers unmarketable: age and white hair,” Carmen told New You Magazine. “Slowly, however, I started to own that territory little by little because I stood up for age."
According to the Social Security Administration, a woman turning age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 86. In a world where people are living longer, it makes sense for brands to target older women.
That may be why some advertisers are adjusting to the times. Oscar winner Helen Mirren, 69, and longtime model Twiggy (Lesley Lawson), 65, are both modeling for L'Oreal Paris.
In conclusion, we think Carmen is every feminist’s best friend and every young woman’s fairy godmother.