Interviews
May 05, 2021
by Danielle Gay

5 Minutes With Carolyn Murphy

Gritty Pretty sits down with the supermodel and beauty icon.

With three decades in the industry, Carolyn Murphy is one of fashion’s most iconic models, and, thanks to an enduring relationship with Estée Lauder, she’s also widely recognised as a beauty icon. Murphy, now 46, is celebrating a milestone anniversary this year: marking her 20th anniversary as global brand spokesmodel for Estée Lauder, one of the longest-running partnerships in the beauty industry.

Depending on your own age, you might remember Murphy first signing with the brand back in September 2001 and her very first campaign was for Advanced Night Repair Eye, a beauty legend in its own right. 

Here, Gritty Pretty sits down for five minutes with the Florida-born model to quiz her about all things beauty and ask her what this milestone means to her.

Hi, Carolyn! Congratulations on 20 years with Estée Lauder! You’ve been in so many of the brand’s incredible campaigns. Do you have a favourite?

I think, for me, one of the most memorable is the first ad, which was for Advanced Night Repair. Just because I didn’t know that I could look like that. I was like, “Wow, they made me look really sexy!” I was a new mother at the time and not feeling that way. I was overtired and breastfeeding still. And I was like, “Oh, wow!” 

That must mean your daughter, Dylan, is now 20 years old. In those early years of her life, when you were working, and modelling—how did you navigate all that, as a single mother?

It was very difficult to navigate that time because it was just myself and my daughter. But I think the best thing I was really grateful for was that I didn’t have to work all of the time. [With modelling], we go through spurts. My mother didn’t have that luxury, she had to work [full-time]. She was a single working mum, and she worked a lot. So, I felt really blessed.

How has your own personal concept of beauty changed over the past 20 years?

It has in some ways. My nana always said: “Beauty is as beauty does.” So, really, my concept of beauty was more around personality. I’ve been around the most beautiful women in the world and I can honestly say that not all of them are that beautiful—kindness is everything. That’s the most beautiful thing. 

What does beauty mean to you? When do you feel your most beautiful?

When I actually felt my most beautiful was when I was pregnant. And after I gave birth. I loved the way my body changed. I put on all this weight, and I had boobs and I felt sexy, and I had long hair that wasn’t damaged because it hadn’t been fussed with for a long time! But, you know, I’m really loving myself and getting to know myself and appreciate myself the older I’ve gotten. I’m in my late 40s now and I just feel better and better and I think with age comes wisdom and experience. I want to celebrate that. 

What changes have you seen in the beauty and fashion industry since you started your career?

Oh my gosh, it’s night and day. 30 years ago, it was just haphazard backstage! It was a lot of champagne, very little food—just drama! And it’s not like that now. There’s a level of professionalism that I probably would have preferred in the beginning of my career, to be honest! I’ve definitely seen a lot of changes in the beauty and fashion industry as a whole. Diversity—I think that there’s no one way of defining beauty now. 

What is one of your fondest memories that you have with the other ’90 supermodels?

I think there was such a freedom to that time. I got yelled at by Gianni [Versace] one year because the seamstress between the two shows had let the hem out and so I kind of tumbled. I have this funny story of him getting mad at me and he kind of went off on me on stage. So I went off back at him! And I remember Linda Evangelista couldn’t believe it … that this quiet Southern girl actually had something to say! We recently lost a dear friend of ours, Stella Tennant. It was so tragic. She epitomised the ’90s grunge and this kind of effortless, chic style that she had. I think that’s what made the industry fun is that we all were able to express ourselves. We didn’t have the social media pressure. It was the golden age. 

We know you’re really passionate about the environment, and you’re a real advocate for the planet. How does your work with Estée Lauder intersect with your passion for climate change reversal?

What I always say is that we have more information now than we did. We are working on some really incredible, exciting, innovative projects with regards to sustainability, that I’m really, really looking forward to launching and being a part of. It makes me super proud. I’m heavily influenced by nature, and the environment. 

Being the ambassador for Estée Lauder for such a long time, we have to ask: can you name five products that you can’t live without?

Re-Nutriv Cream, Advanced Night Repair, Day Wear Moisturiser, Double Wear Foundation, Bronze Goddess Powder.

Interviews
May 05, 2021

5 Minutes With Carolyn Murphy

by Danielle Gay

Gritty Pretty sits down with the supermodel and beauty icon.

With three decades in the industry, Carolyn Murphy is one of fashion’s most iconic models, and, thanks to an enduring relationship with Estée Lauder, she’s also widely recognised as a beauty icon. Murphy, now 46, is celebrating a milestone anniversary this year: marking her 20th anniversary as global brand spokesmodel for Estée Lauder, one of the longest-running partnerships in the beauty industry.

Depending on your own age, you might remember Murphy first signing with the brand back in September 2001 and her very first campaign was for Advanced Night Repair Eye, a beauty legend in its own right. 

Here, Gritty Pretty sits down for five minutes with the Florida-born model to quiz her about all things beauty and ask her what this milestone means to her.

Carolyn Murphy shot for INPRINT magazine by Thomas Slack.
Photography: Thomas Slack / Styling: Megha Kapoor / Makeup: Karo Kangos / Hair: Rachel Lee Wright

Hi, Carolyn! Congratulations on 20 years with Estée Lauder! You’ve been in so many of the brand’s incredible campaigns. Do you have a favourite?

I think, for me, one of the most memorable is the first ad, which was for Advanced Night Repair. Just because I didn’t know that I could look like that. I was like, “Wow, they made me look really sexy!” I was a new mother at the time and not feeling that way. I was overtired and breastfeeding still. And I was like, “Oh, wow!” 

That must mean your daughter, Dylan, is now 20 years old. In those early years of her life, when you were working, and modelling—how did you navigate all that, as a single mother?

It was very difficult to navigate that time because it was just myself and my daughter. But I think the best thing I was really grateful for was that I didn’t have to work all of the time. [With modelling], we go through spurts. My mother didn’t have that luxury, she had to work [full-time]. She was a single working mum, and she worked a lot. So, I felt really blessed.

How has your own personal concept of beauty changed over the past 20 years?

It has in some ways. My nana always said: “Beauty is as beauty does.” So, really, my concept of beauty was more around personality. I’ve been around the most beautiful women in the world and I can honestly say that not all of them are that beautiful—kindness is everything. That’s the most beautiful thing. 

What does beauty mean to you? When do you feel your most beautiful?

When I actually felt my most beautiful was when I was pregnant. And after I gave birth. I loved the way my body changed. I put on all this weight, and I had boobs and I felt sexy, and I had long hair that wasn’t damaged because it hadn’t been fussed with for a long time! But, you know, I’m really loving myself and getting to know myself and appreciate myself the older I’ve gotten. I’m in my late 40s now and I just feel better and better and I think with age comes wisdom and experience. I want to celebrate that. 

What changes have you seen in the beauty and fashion industry since you started your career?

Oh my gosh, it’s night and day. 30 years ago, it was just haphazard backstage! It was a lot of champagne, very little food—just drama! And it’s not like that now. There’s a level of professionalism that I probably would have preferred in the beginning of my career, to be honest! I’ve definitely seen a lot of changes in the beauty and fashion industry as a whole. Diversity—I think that there’s no one way of defining beauty now. 

What is one of your fondest memories that you have with the other ’90 supermodels?

I think there was such a freedom to that time. I got yelled at by Gianni [Versace] one year because the seamstress between the two shows had let the hem out and so I kind of tumbled. I have this funny story of him getting mad at me and he kind of went off on me on stage. So I went off back at him! And I remember Linda Evangelista couldn’t believe it … that this quiet Southern girl actually had something to say! We recently lost a dear friend of ours, Stella Tennant. It was so tragic. She epitomised the ’90s grunge and this kind of effortless, chic style that she had. I think that’s what made the industry fun is that we all were able to express ourselves. We didn’t have the social media pressure. It was the golden age. 

We know you’re really passionate about the environment, and you’re a real advocate for the planet. How does your work with Estée Lauder intersect with your passion for climate change reversal?

What I always say is that we have more information now than we did. We are working on some really incredible, exciting, innovative projects with regards to sustainability, that I’m really, really looking forward to launching and being a part of. It makes me super proud. I’m heavily influenced by nature, and the environment. 

Being the ambassador for Estée Lauder for such a long time, we have to ask: can you name five products that you can’t live without?

Re-Nutriv Cream, Advanced Night Repair, Day Wear Moisturiser, Double Wear Foundation, Bronze Goddess Powder.

Comments

This post has no comments yet.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Search our
Little Black Book
Of Beauty

I'm looking for...
Location
To submit your business for consideration, enquire here