© Wikimedia Commons

White, neatly combed hair, perfect posture and flirtatious smile on her face. This is how Carmen Dell’ Orefice, the oldest American model, looks like she when is in public. Carmen Dell’ Orefice was already on the cover of a famous fashion magazine Vogue when she was just 15 years old and had just started the career.

Previous Life

C.Dell‘Orefice was born in 1931, in New York, in a family of an Italian violinist and Hungarian ballerina. Although the parents were poor, Carmen was extremely pretty and that was her promise to a better future. Because of complicated relationship in a family, the future model had to live with her relatives and in children’s home. When she was a little girl Carmen wanted to become a ballerina but when she attained 13 years, it became clear that Carmen was suffering from rheumatism.


When she was 13 years old Carmen was going to ballet classes and was noticed by a famous model, whose husband, Herman Landschoff, was a famous photographer. He made a first Carmen’s photo shoot, which was the beginning of her career. The Godfather took 15 years old Carmen off to a company of Vogue magazine where she signed her model contract. This young girl became the most beloved Erwin Blumenfeld’s model, who photographed her for Vogue cover in 1947.

C. Dell’Orefice and her mother had some financial problems. Model job and earnings were too low to support the family, so Carmen and her mother started to work as seamstresses in order to earn enough money. At that time they did not have a phone; therefore Vogue had to send a courier to inform Carmen about next work in prestigious magazine.

Retreat and Return

Despite an early success, model agency Eileen Ford refused to represent C.Dell’Orefice and the magazine Vogue lost its interest in Carmen. Thanks to the maturation and changing body shapes which gave her a chance to work in catalogues and later on Carmen earned 300 dollar per hour.

After the second marriage, Carmen stepped out from modelling but in 1978 she had no money and came back to fashion industry where she works till this day.

In June of 2013 C. Dell’Orefice celebrated her 82th birthday. She got a Doctor’s Honour Award, which was dedicated by Art University of London for active work in fashion world. The University arranged an exhibition which was embodied by David Downton. It was made up from Vogue covers with Carmen and her personal pictures.


“Madame” cover ©  Tim Petersen

Personal Life

Her personal life was not so smooth. Three marriages which were unsuccessful. One of her husbands died after their engagement. When C. Dell’Orefice was asked about her current personal life, her eyes start to glitter. “There always is a man. I could refuse everything except love”, said silver – tongued model.

Despite all difficulties, Carmen was working hard to support he parents and even her husbands. Now she is helping her daughter from her first marriage.

It is not a surprise that people still want to see Carmen Dell’Orefice in public. She claims that she has to be grateful not only to her genes for the looks but also to many other things including – body recognition, athletics, no usage of alcohol and cigarettes, avoidance of direct sunlight. Discipline and balance are the most important things if you want to remain young.

„Discipline is a word that women should not be afraid of“, said Carmen Dell‘Orefice, the oldest model in the world. She is 82 years old, walks on a catwalk and stuns with a beauty and grace.

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