American model and actress Carmen Dell'Orefice was born on June, 3 1931, making her 80 years young this year. See her incredible modeling photos throughout the years.
Poor, and raised off and on by a single mother, Dell'Orefice was often left with relatives and even in foster homes as a child. She dreamt of being a ballerina, but contracted rheumatic fever, preventing her from following that dream.
Carmen became a model by sheer luck. Riding the bus one day at 13-years-old she was asked by the wife of Harper Bazaar’s photographer Herman Landshoff if she wanted to model. Following a test shoot, her mother received a letter in the mail stating that her daughter was not photogenic, however, her Godfather thought differently and showed the photos to his friend, Carol Phillips, an editor at Vogue magazine.
Within a week, Carmen was being photographed by famous photographer Erwin Blumenfeld, and her first photos appeared in Vogue soon after, on 17 full pages. She was offered a contract with the magazine for $7.50 an hour, and started working with some of the biggest photographers of that time, including Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn and Horst P. Horst.
Within one year her face graced the cover of Vogue and soon after Harper’s Bazaar. She was soon receiving $60 per week (around one thousand dollars today) and making a better life for herself. Unfortunately she had three failed marriages, but did have a daughter and a successful career.
Eventually age caught up with her, around 47, and she was headed for retirement. However, one of her photographer friend’s Norman Parkinson asked her to do a photo shoot, and made the comment, “You are an attractive old bag.” Carmen’s hair had just started to turn grey, and she made the decision to lighten her hair, which became her signature in her later years.
She was mature, independent and still sexy. In 1993, she had her first movie roll in the Martin Scorsese film “The Age of Innocence.” She went on to do a few more roles in TV and film.
However, in 2000 she participated in a John Galliano fashion show for Christian Dior and soon became the Guinness Book of Records holder for the podium model with the longest career. Since then she has appeared in numerous other fashion shows for Hermes, Moschino, Donna Karan, among others, proving that age is just a number, even in the fashion industry.