“I Started in the fashion industry after the industry was born.”
In what is considered one of the snobbiest industries, one that holds out impossible standards for models to break into, comes Carmen Dell’Orefice, an 85 year old model that is still working till the present day. An epitome of poise, elegance and sharp features that are well sought after in the fashion industry, Carmen is considered the oldest working model in the world.
The fashion industry was first introduced to Carmen 69 years ago, as a fresh-faced model gracing the cover of Vogue magazine. It had not been an easy journey up till that point; Carmen was raised in foster homes due to her parents’ troubled marriage. In a time where the American fashion industry was still starting, following the world war II, the young model was getting paid a mere 7.15$ an hour, often resorting to use roller skates to go to assignments to save up on bus fares. As a result of her tough situation, the model was malnourished, which prompted her photographers to stuff her dresses with tissues to fill in the curves. She started gaining attention following the magazine cover, however the pressures of the industry’s standards soon followed. At on point, Dell’Orefice was prescribed shots to start puberty.
In the Sixties, however, the model decided to shock an industry obsessed with youth, when she refused dying her hair, leaving it to turn white. Nowadays, the model is still landing magazine covers and doing runway shows. Just like wine, Carmen Dell’Orefice gets better with age.”
By: Reem Eid