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Ageless Beauty: Carmen Dell'Orefice, the World's Oldest Model

Updated on April 7, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years of successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (CAP).

Carmen in the 2005 Red Dress collection.
Carmen in the 2005 Red Dress collection. | Source

Beauty In the Senior Years

If it were not for the Pinterest social network, I likely would never have heard of Carmen Dell'Orefice, since I am not a major nor consistent follower of fashion and beauty. Pinterest is showing me many things I have never seen before.

Thanks to the fun image pinning site, I caught a glimpse of this beautiful woman, still working as a model at age 85 in 2016. I was intrigued. This long career is astounding to many people, but a good example of productivity and happy activity well into the later years.

Carmen Dell'Orefice
Carmen Dell'Orefice | Source

Ageless Role Models

From time to time, we see articles about 10 or 20 beautiful women over 50 or over 70 years of age and my opinion of most beautiful over a lifespan has remained Nichelle Nichols. Ms. Nichols is 80+ and still acting, one venue being website movies set in the Star Trek® universe with other cast members of the original 1966 - 1969 series.

However, Carmen needs to be added to my list as a tie in the category of lifespan-encompassing beauty, even those she may have undergone some cosmetic surgery. Both women also possess an inner beauty and poise.

If I were to add a third lady to the Number One Spot on my list, it would be a gorgeous shop clerk I met in Dayton, Ohio long ago. She was 75 at the time and working at what is now Macy's. Despite her lovely silver hair, she looked 19. Her energy and quick smile added to her appearance and charm.

These three women are certainly role models, especially in a Western society that discounts senior citizens. The lives of these three women are encouraging.

Carmen as a teen and in a much later advert.
Carmen as a teen and in a much later advert. | Source

Carmen's Long Career

The photo above illustrates the model as a teenager, just 15 years of age and snapped up by Vogue magazine already, and in a later pose, further into her career and advertising the popular Revlon line of cosmetics.

Many models today begin during earlier teen years, but do not last as long as Carmen and her seven decades to date of modeling. One comes to mind - Riley Keough, Elis Presly's granddaughter. I do not know how long she will model, since she began films with her debut in 2010s The Runaways. Her role in 2012's Magic Mike was pretty unsavory. Her film Yellow has no release date as of this writing. However, she is listed as seventh in the lineup of stars in Mad Max: Fury Road (2014) and may be receiving better roles. Her last modeling was for a lingerie line in August 2013, banking on her being "rock 'n'roll royalty."

Carmen, still successful after 70+ years' work, was born during the summer of 1931. She has become recognized in many parts of the world, especially USA, Canada, and UK - and wherever Vogue is available.

Carmen's work has advertised throughout Vogue, for Rolex, in YOU Magazine, and many others in between. She attempted to retire in 1959 at age 44, but returned to her exciting work. In her latest YOU interview in 2013, she declared that she had worked more photo shoots in the past 15 years that in all the rest of her career combined. The older she becomes, the more popular she becomes.

Photo Shoot 2011

Background

Has ethnicity and homelife anything to do with Carmen's attractiveness and long-lived career as a model in print and on the fashion runway?

Her parents were Hungarian and Italian immigrants to New York City, but they separated and Carmen lived in various foster homes and at times, with relatives.Still, she redits genetics with "good bone structure."

Apparently, her godfather introduced her to people at Vogue when she was 15 and they signed her immediately. She used her early income to help her poor parents. Ballet classes provided to her as a youngster by her mother must have helped her in her presentation in photo shoots.

Carmen's romantic relationships have not been the happiest, a couple of the men taking unfair control of her money; but, she did have a lovely daughter, Laura Miles, who became a psychologist.

Carmen worked to support herself and her child and continued to work afterwards, through relationships, surgeries, economic downturns and upturns, and whatnot. She has worked with well known photograhers and was the inspiration of some of Salvadore Dali's works when she was 14. Her life has been active and interesting.

Timeless Beauty

Appearance

Several older women are known for an attractive appearance, such as Lena Horne, Claudette Colbert, opera star Leontyne Price, and Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's® original Uhuru).

Carmen may have undergone some plastic surgery during her later career, but surely not as much as has Joan Rivers. Carmen admits a single facelift, but multiple injections of silicone for her face, declaring that doing all this is like having a fallen roof repaired.

I met Leontyne Price as a child when she spoke at my school. In October 2001, she sang at the national memorial service for the victims of 9/11 and she was just as lovely then.

I recall that she sang This Little Light of Mine and went on with an A Capella version of God Bless America. Her voice was even more beautiful than I remembered and she was now 74 years old. Thus, I am not surprised by other women that maintain positive attitudes an inner beauty as well as outward appearances.

Carmen even had a double knee replacement and was ready to model again in just a few weeks. Her fierce sense of independence must be responsible for this, since she supported herself for so many years.

How Carmen Stays Young

Carmen credits good looks to staying active, being independent and proactive, and using a little help from cosmetic surgery.

She feels modeling should be about romance and refinement, not a vulgar sexual walk.

She recommends only if you are in love, not according to fulfillment of a checklist of demands.

She enjoys living alone and cooking for a few friends occasionally.

A good female friend can be as much of a soulmate as a male friend.

A film of her life will be released in the mid-2010s, but until then, read some of the reference material for this Hub at Carmen Dell'Orefice at 82.

Active Women In Their 70s and 80s

Click thumbnail to view full-size
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia and the first NEA Opera Honorees in 2008: diva Leontyne Price at age 81, composer and librettist Carlisle Floyd, and impresario Richard Gaddes. Nichelle Nichols in 2012 at age 81. She recuited astronauts for NASA in the 1970s and 1980s.Carmen at age 74.
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia and the first NEA Opera Honorees in 2008: diva Leontyne Price at age 81, composer and librettist Carlisle Floyd, and impresario Richard Gaddes.
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia and the first NEA Opera Honorees in 2008: diva Leontyne Price at age 81, composer and librettist Carlisle Floyd, and impresario Richard Gaddes. | Source
Nichelle Nichols in 2012 at age 81. She recuited astronauts for NASA in the 1970s and 1980s.
Nichelle Nichols in 2012 at age 81. She recuited astronauts for NASA in the 1970s and 1980s. | Source
Carmen at age 74.
Carmen at age 74. | Source

© 2013 Patty Inglish

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 3 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Yes, I agree. It would be a cruel world in which we live to be 100, with nothing to do and no one to talk to after 50. Thanks for your comments!

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 3 years ago from USA

      As an older woman, I would like to thank you for this well written and very interesting article. You get so tired of people assuming that you are a throw away after you turn 50. I know many women in their 80's who are attractive and active, and I say "hoorah!!".

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hi Zsuzsy Bee! I was fascinated that this lady is still working. But then, we single women may all be working into our 80s in America soon.

      I admire you for maintaining your farm and doing other work as well and I think work that we enjoy or is necessary is hard to give up at any age.

      My best to your ducks!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 4 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Wow, she sure is gorgeous even at 80+. As always a great and interesting hub Patty. You sure can find super topics. Hope you're well.

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I am happy you enjoyed reading this one, drjb. Carmen is incredible.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      This woman IS extraordinary - beautiful and motivated. Of course, the 'to-die-for' cheekbones don't hurt! Thank you for the lovely intro, Patty.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      @MarleneB and DDE - I think if she does another Vogue cover, I am going to save that one! Her life is extraordinary.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Carmen Dell'Orefice, the World's Oldest Model at 80+ this is such amazing hub with a person with beauty from not only the inside but also the outside, great hub and the photo is so lovely

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from USA

      She's gorgeous! I think it is awesome that she is still working as a model, especially in this world where "youth" is over-glorified.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Really very interesting, isn't it? I had never though about models of this age. It's encouraging.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, she is gorgeous and so inspiring! What an anomaly in the fashion world she is. Voted up and interesting.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Sounds like that is right to me!

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 4 years ago from uk

      This was so interesting, she was born to model.

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