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

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history, and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.

Carmen in the 2005 Red Dress collection.

Carmen in the 2005 Red Dress collection.

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 as a teen and in a much later advert.

Carmen as a teen and in a much later advert.

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.

Photo Shoot 2011

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.

Background of a Long Time Model

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.

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Keeping Up Appearances

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.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Patty Inglish MS


Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 29, 2020:

Yes! She gives us all hope for happiness in later life.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 10, 2020:

I was not familiar with Carmen Dell'Orefice, but happy to learn about her long-lasting life as a model. She is gorgeous and serves as a role model for many people past 50, 60, and even 70 or more.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 10, 2020:

How about that! What a fun thing to share, Gladys.

Gladys Browman on October 08, 2020:

I had the pleasure of meeting Carmen Dell Orifice, she was gracious and very down to earth. We both shop in the same grocery store.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 26, 2014:

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!

Sondra Rochelle from USA on July 26, 2014:

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 (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 30, 2013:

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 from Ontario/Canada on October 30, 2013:

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 (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 15, 2013:

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

drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 14, 2013:

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 (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 13, 2013:

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

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 13, 2013:

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

Marlene Bertrand from USA on October 12, 2013:

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 (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 12, 2013:

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

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on October 11, 2013:

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

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 11, 2013:

Sounds like that is right to me!

Kim Kennedy from uk on October 11, 2013:

This was so interesting, she was born to model.

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