Carolyn Murphy

Posted by Stephan Moskovic | August 8th, 2011

As one of the most prolific models in recent memory Carolyn Murphy has accomplished nearly every modeling goal imaginable. Throughout it all Carolyn has handled herself with grace and humility, remaining not just one of fashion’s favorite models, but also one of the most down to earth people in the business. Catching up with her longtime friend Francesca Sorrenti, for a candid chat, Carolyn discusses her inspirations, accomplishments and advice for newcomers.


An interview by Francesca Sorrenti for

Cover photos credits (left to right):
V Magazine / Strictly Carolyn March 2011
Estee Lauder
Vogue Paris
Muse Magazine / Spring/Summer 2011 issue
Vogue Italia / Sept 1998

Carolyn Murphy, Florida-born and a Leo is a down to earth woman, straight forward, friendly and definitely knows what she wants in her personal life. I first met Carolyn in Paris in Dave’s restaurant in 1995, she was an All-American girl ready to learn the ropes and work at modeling in the U.S. She has definitely come a long way since that time. Carolyn just recently renewed her contract with Estee Lauder. This multi-faceted woman is not only a supermodel but also a great mother. She has appeared in over 50 major ad campaigns and numerous fashion mags worldwide and continues to do so.
I met up with Carolyn in her beautiful Brooklyn brownstone. We reminisced about the past and then the questions came pouring out and she candidly answered them all….

What does fashion mean to you?
Creativity, evolution, expression, I guess I need to expand on it but those are the words that pop into my mind at first thought.

What is your best asset and your worst?
My neck, I like my neck! And I always hated the bags under my eyes!

Who are your favorite designers?
There are so many but at the moment Chloe because there is a timelessness and femininity that I like and there is Yohji and Comme des Garcons with their unique pieces. I like mixing all of the above, even pulling in pieces by newer designers like Isabel Marant.

Do you like to shop?
Sometimes, in fact yesterday I spent way too much money at Isabel Marant.

What is your relationship with shoes?
Well lately they don’t seem to like me, I’ve been getting blisters all over my feet and high-heels are getting higher and higher. I prefer bare feet and flats.

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?
Yes, this gold Italian “horn” charm that I wear around my neck. Italian folklore says that it protects you against the evil eye.

Let’s talk about Estee Lauder and your relationship with them.
I’ve been with them for 11 years and just signed for a couple more. I feel very grateful maybe because I grew up with the brand; my mother always having a gold lipstick case lying around or an EL perfume bottle in her room. I have a nostalgic connection with EL. I have a hard time believing that I’m actually their spokesperson. It’s definitely an honor, it’s pretty cool!

Photo: Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia, 2005

When you are called a supermodel, how do you feel?
I roll my eyes!! I think that it takes a whole team to create a model’s career. The photographer, hair and make-up artists, stylists and your agent (IMG), they are the building blocks to a successful career.

Were there any tips you received that made an impression on what you needed to do to become successful?
Yes, years ago I was on a shoot with Pamela Hanson and James Kaliardos was doing make-up. I was modeling along side the famous iconic model, Carmen. They were giving me advice on what to do to become successful. “Don’t smoke, don’t drink, make sure your hair and makeup looks good”.

Favorite photographers on your list?
I have many. Mario Sorrenti, your son, being one of them, I feel that we grew up together, starting at the same time along with the beloved Davide Sorrenti.
Steven Meisel who had an eye for what was out there and refined and polished it.
Bruce Weber who always allowed me to be me.
Mario Testino who showed me my sexy side that I didn’t know existed.
And of course you, your pictures started it all. You dyed my hair real red and it was uphill from there!

Do you want to share any embarrassing runway moments?
Well there was the time I tripped on the runway during a Versace show, I was wearing the bridal gown and he was yelling at me to f**k off!

Are you working on any projects lately?
Yes, I’m working on a TV show and also curating on a new on-line website for Open Sky.

What are the things you love to do when you’re not “at work”?
I love to spend time with my daughter; I like to cook with her, gardening, ride my horse, reading, painting, surfing and writing. Real home stuff.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Buying property and fixing them up. On a smaller scale seeking-out local farming. I also keep an organic kitchen and I feel it’s important to support local farmers. All my cleaning products are environmentally safe.

Photo: Craig McDean for W, 2002

What’s your favorite book?
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is my favorite.

I hear you have a great passion for illustration and literature.
Yes, I collect a variety of first edition books. Just to name a few: George Wharton Edwards, Edmund Dulac, collections of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

What is your most prized possession?
My great-great grandmother’s crocheted blanket.

Who is the person alive you most admire?
Jane Goodall, but I admire anyone who stands by their convictions, just as long that they are living their truth.

Who is the dead person you most admire?
Anais Nin and Jacques Cousteau.

What is your biggest regret?
Not going to college, I would have loved to major in literature.

What qualities do you most dislike in women?
When there is dishonesty and extreme competitive behavior.

Favorite color?
Light blue

If you could come back after death, what would you be?
A dolphin. I’m a water baby!

Favorite activity?
Surfing and horseback riding.

If you could pick a new career?
I’d be a Waldorf teacher.

What would you want to change in the world?
For everyone to learn what love really means.

Your favorite top 3 models?
Lauren Hutton, Christy Turlington & Kate Moss

Who do you feel has revolutionized fashion past and present?
Coco Chanel, Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld. And of course Comme des Garcons.

Any advice for “New Faces”?
Keep your soul!

Thanks Carolyn!

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16 Comments to “Carolyn Murphy”

  1. Bckls says:

    She sounds really grounded and down to earth.Beautiful woman.

  2. CHUNGKIT says:

    Carolyn Murphy has always been one of my favorite models, ever since before she cropped of all her hair for that iconic Prada campaign. She has had one of the most prolific careers in fashion and I am so thrilled she is still working today. The two times I met her in person, she could not be any sweeter… so incredibly down to earth. Great profile, MDC! More of Carolyn, always.

  3. J'adore says:

    All good, except Jane Goodall isn’t dead. πŸ˜‰

  4. janelle says:

    Just an incredible and classy woman, you have to appreciate that.

  5. Nike says:

    Beautiful Interview! she’s so gorgeous!

  6. Emme says:

    She seems so sweet. Love her. Oh and J’adore, Jane Goodall was the person she admired who was ALIVE. Just in case you were confused. πŸ™‚

  7. Queni says:

    Cute MOM (-:

  8. poo says:


  9. olivier says:

    happy birthday !x

  10. Joy says:

    She’s incredible. Great model!

  11. Alejandro says:

    This model is a great influence for others and she really shows what love really is! πŸ™‚

  12. Athena says:

    She has always been a beauty and is so down to earth. I really enjoyed working with her when I did.

  13. Alicia Ramsey says:

    Omg I wish I could accomplish what this women has done in the Modeling industry! Very lucky

  14. antonio says:

    @jadore: read again. No reference to jane goodall as dead. Caroline answered the question correctly.

  15. madhu sudhan says:

    i love u

  16. trumancapote says:

    too bad she didn’t Include versace or prada who really helped her career to explode