Carmen Dell’Orefice And Beverly Johnson On Aging Gracefully, Timeless Style, And Living Life On Their Terms

The longevity of world-renowned supermodels Carmen Dell’Orefice And Beverly Johnson is awe-inspiring and a testament to the statement, “It gets greater later.” From being one of the youngest Vogue cover models at the age of 15 to still shutting down runways at 91, Carmen Dell’Orefice has one of the most long-lasting modeling careers.

And nearly 50 years after making history as the first African American model to appear on the cover of Vogue, Beverly Johnson is still effortlessly making waves both inside and outside the modeling world with numerous projects, business ventures, and gracing magazine covers. 

These two iconic women who have broken barriers and continue to do so opened up to NEW YOU about inner and outer beauty rituals, maintaining a youthful spirit throughout the years, living in a digital era, and how social media has transformed the beauty and fashion landscape, plus more. 

NEW YOU: What keeps you uplifted and motivated each day? 

Beverly Johnson: Listen, life is wonderful, and I think the most important thing for me is to be happy and have peace of mind. Those two components really keep you waking up every day with a smile on your face. 

NY: How do you feel about working with Carmen [Dell’Orefice] after all these years? 

BJ: I like to go on the record to say this woman is my idol. She is model goals. She’s been a mentor to me and doesn’t even know, and I have the utmost respect for this woman. I know all of her photographs. She has the biggest, most stunning body of work of any model in fashion.

NY: Can you walk us through when you were 15 years old, appearing as one of the youngest Vogue cover models at the time? 

Carmen Dell’Orefice: With Irving Penn, I brought my first double page in Vogue to life. He told me to try to breathe as little as possible and don’t move. Just sit there. Irving was a really good friend to me, and he saved my life physically.

He made me go to the Vogue staff doctor to ensure I was healthy enough to work because, in those days, you needed permits due to child labor, especially at my young age. But I met the Vogue staff doctor who took care of me many decades later, until the day he died. 

NY: How have you maintained your beauty throughout the years, and what piece of advice can you offer to others? 

BJ: Men and women should care for themselves and love themselves. One of the secrets to maintaining beauty is doing what you do for a baby, nurturing and feeding the baby with love. That’s what we should do with ourselves: nurture ourselves, love ourselves, and give that kind of energy to ourselves. 

NY: Being in a digital era, how do you feel social media has shaped the younger generation’s approach to fashion and beauty?

BJ: Social media is important globally. We can find out what’s happening on the other side of the world in seconds; therefore, the exchange of information is incredible. I’m fortunate to be around at this time to witness its evolution. I have seen pictures of myself that were done 50 years ago that I’ve never even seen before. We have access to all of the beauty routines and products around the world, from natural to the scientific genius of man. It is a very wonderful time to be alive.

I think it’s left up to the consumer to take advantage of it or not. If one wants to grow old gracefully, you have that tool as a resource. I particularly want to grow old gracefully, minus the wrinkles and all the complications that can come with getting old. Just think all of this information is out there for everyone. And you have people like myself that are aging right in front of the world, and we’re here to share our secrets. 

NY: How do you feel being photographed nude at 91 years old?

CD: Just like working with acclaimed photographer Fadil [Berisha], it’s their perception of what they see in you or me. We are there, a synergy starts to happen, and they bring it out. It’s where their mindset is. The photographer’s mindset is high, not in the gutter. It’s all projection. We’re all silent actresses, and that’s what it’s about. 

NY: It’s been nearly 50 years since appearing on the cover of American Vogue as the first Black model. Looking back, do you ever have any past what-ifs throughout your career?

BJ: It was most certainly a defining moment in my life. It’s going to be 50 years in 2024. When I started modeling, they said you would have a career of five or six years; I decided I would prove them wrong at that moment. And so far, so good! I have no regrets. If you have regrets, you won’t be able to learn from all those lessons and all those knocks on the head that you received to help you become a better person.

NY: NEW YOU is all about wellness, so what is your health and fitness regimen these days?

BJ: At this present moment, I’m doing Pilates. We all know that you have to eat right, drink a lot of water and move and exercise or have some kind of routine. I try to take care of myself on a daily basis. And that means meditation too. I have a spiritual life, four grandchildren, and my daughter. All those things, together with love, keep me in balance.

NY: Does the title of the magazine NEW YOU make you feel like a NEW YOU?

CD: We keep growing every day, and we’re not finished until the day we’re finished. You learn something from the day before, and you’re constantly changing yourself like the hands of a clock. Time is passing, but you can’t see the hands move. That’s happening to humans daily, and it’s how you handle and accept the change. But intelligence is known as keeping it simple because less is more in almost everything in life except love.

Read more : Fashion Icon Carmen Dell’Orefice on Love, Sex and Secrets To Her Success

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