Shooting and interview with Carolyn Murphy, 49, Estée Lauder muse

We thought we had a meeting by Zoom with an inaccessible and in a hurry supermodel, the type to index her interview time on the drying time of her nail polish, and, surprise, Carolyn Murphy is none of that. Rather a superwoman, a supermom, a supergirlfriend, who has the art of storytelling in her heart and the generosity to integrate you into her universe, even if her daily life, that of a top American living in LA by the ocean , is scattered in photo shoots at the other end of the earth, openings of Californian art galleries in the presence of Timothée Chalamet or breakfasts with his dear friend Lauren Hutton. Curious, funny, spontaneous, authentic and beautiful with her blonde hair pulled back, her perfect complexion without makeup and her porcelain blue eyes with a very soft gaze, Carolyn Murphy, who moves around with her computer, shows us her shelves (made by her father) crumbling under art books and novels, terracotta birds that she has modeled, her favorite outfit from her dressing room (a just-perfect Celine jacket, a Chanel bag, Chloé boots), and ends up brandishing a funny bright red ceramic sculptured by his hands. “My daughter Dylan, 21, thinks she looks like a female, do you agree? »

A model like no other

At 49, the one who celebrates her thirty-year career and represents the brand Estee Lauder as an ambassador for twenty-two years has demonstrated a rare longevity in an environment where fads pass as quickly as they arise. “A real mystery to me,” she said modestly. This is undoubtedly the demand of an industry that today calls for women of all ages, with different silhouettes and skin colors. When I was 20, we were in the middle of a “heroine chic” trend, and that’s why several modeling agencies turned me down, because I was too pretty and looked healthy. I didn’t really understand because I was already frequenting the punk rock scene. So I plucked my eyebrows to look weirder. I told myself that I would not exceed thirty in this profession, and I am almost 50 today! »

In the early 1990s, the one who was born in the Panhandle of Florida then followed higher studies in American literature and creative writing in journalism, and aspired to write. Noticed by an agency for her natural beauty, she only comes into fashion backwards. “I arrived in the ‘game’ quite late, I was already 22 or 23 years old. At first, I was reluctant and at the same time fascinated by fashion. ” Unlike other supermodels of the nineties, the young girl with a shy and introverted temperament suffers from‘anxiety social and doesn’t put pressure on herself to run parties or become famous at all costs: she prefers to go home directly after posing for US “Vogue” or “Harper’s Bazaar”. “I had to adapt to this environment and create an alter ego to survive,” she says. In 1999, at the peak of her career, when she starred in a Barry Levinson film alongside Adrien Brody (“Liberty Heights”), Carolyn Murphy decided to take a break. She takes her first vacation after five years of non-stop work and leaves to discover Costa Rica with a friend. “And there, double love at first sight: I fell in love with the country and I fell in love, period. There is a saying that you can have success and all the gold in the world and feel very alone, that was my case. I had just shot a film, all the attention was on me, but I told myself that acting was not what I expected. I wanted to be able to work with creative people, have a private life separated from this hustle and bustle and live in the middle of nature. »

Classic American Beauty

In Costa Rica, where she settled, she struggled to find funds to build a school in an underprivileged neighborhood, then, in 2001, gave birth to a little girl at home on an old state farm. from New York. “I gave birth during a snowstorm and I think that says a lot about Dylan: she is so strong, beautiful and charismatic, she has such a presence! marvels this single mother who says she has developed a strong bond with her offspring. “In recent months, we have tried to live apart, but we are so close that it is difficult, she laughs. I am proud to have been able to multitask, I played both the role of father and mother, while maintaining my career, it was a real challenge, but a great challenge. »

On the silhouette side, the muse of Estée Lauder has not changed since she was 20 years old. “However, I am getting dangerously close to the ‘big 50’, and I feel the social pressure on age,” she protests. I, who had never really cared about aging, celebrating my 49th birthday was a shock. Luckily, I don’t have those awful hotel bathroom mirrors to watch every wrinkle up close. But when I go on Instagram, I am inundated with advertisements for treating menopause! How do they know? » she protests with humor. As for her style, that of a blonde and classic American beauty, it is radically timeless. “In fashion, I’m minimalist, she says, I don’t do much shopping and I keep few pieces. I love this Chanel black weekend bag that Karl gave me. As for icons, I admit a soft spot for three women: Carolyn Bessette, whom I met in New York in the early 1990s; Lauren Hutton, who can come to our dates with a pencil skirt and a baseball cap! Finally, Carine Roitfeld, who got me started and whom I find completely iconic. Just like Carolyn Murphy, the quintessence of classic American chic.

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