Supermodel Carolyn Murphy: 'I'm not sure all that hype around influencers is earned'
Thanks for tuning into the glossy podcasts. I'm your host jill man off into today. I sit down with supermodel. Carolyn murphy who has been modeling for thirty years and this year is celebrating twenty years as the face of estee lauder indeed. She is the longest reigning folks model in the industry. I wanted to ask caroline. How modeling has changed in. Three decades including how implementers are impacting the space and how brand partnerships have evolved welcome caroline. Oh my gosh. Thank you for that introduction. I heard as your with you today and to have all the listeners. And yeah there's lots to talk about on so exciting so much to talk about. Let's talk about this twenty year partnership twenty by. Has that made sense. Why has that worked out so well. Well i don't know why i can't really speak for the behalf of the brand south but you know it's crazy. I would have never dreamed that we would be having this conversation. Were i would say that. I was the face of estee lauder twenty years later or actually maybe faces estee lauder to begin with is still when i'm on set and pinching myself. It's like a dream. Come true. Because i grew up with the brand i mean literally i grew up my nana's vanity her white linen and the gold tubes of lipstick and i remember just pining to wear beautiful perfume and going to the beauty counters in seem paulina Cova is the bride. And my mom's sticks advance asians so for me growing up with this brand having my entry point with clinic which you know they own and using the three step and then prescriptive which they also own which was concealing. You're too young for any of this but it's just really it really is phenomenal. And i'm so proud. And i'm so grateful and i'm so honored and i'm still to this day in disbelief. Yes while we were talking. A prior to the recording about kind of the business mindset that models have grown to have. Maybe didn't have twenty years ago. Did you know what an opportunity that was. I guess going in you know. I knew the opportunity in modeling but you have a little bit of a funny story so i started to. I started modeling because my mother put me in a finishing school. Is this very proper. This is a very kind of southern thing. I was shy. I was quiet. My mom thought it was the only way to kind of get me out of my shell. I was miserable. I did not want to be in that. weekly course. Learning how to walk with a book on my head. I had poise. I i was like i have taste. I have all that i just you know. I'm shy and so in my man was my style. Icon you know. She was super chic entertaining. Dc so like. I knew that it was there. But i wasn't. You know up to my mother standard. So it's interesting how that cabot poljud always had my best and dress but catapult into having a career as a fashion model and my parents are like whoa wait a minute. She going to college. No no no no. No no and i had this kind of intuitive resistance only because it was ingrained you have to have to finish high school. You have to go to college which i did Finished call you months. But i did so. It was by happenstance to to go into the industry. There was some resistance reluctance because we all just stop. Maybe people see some people see something in me. I don't see. I don't. I'm not six feet tall. You know these glamour at the time like christy linda naomi. I saw them in the george michael video but boy seen them in person. I was star struck. And i was like. There's no way. I could be like these women. There's just no way so so it didn't. I didn't really get into right away and then i was in college and i was. I was actually doing laundry at the laundry mat. Because you know we're all living housing. And i remember opening pages of bazaar and there were pictures of kate. Moss and emma bell for and so the industry had all the sudden turned in the early nineties. And there were there. Were models that i felt like i could relate to fashion. I could relate to because grunge was kind of how we were dressed saying to be cool like an adidas slam. Or whatever. I know bobbling known great. I finally was like oh i can relate to this. So i was commuting between dc My parents how my grandparents house into new york which was super easy doing some modeling jobs. And i think in the nineties because that integration of art and music and it was just great time for both of those like art music and fashion. There was a lot of passion their right and there was a lot of connection interaction. And so i didn't have business sense really at that time because it was just kind of like well. Let see where this goes and in develop a business sense towards my career until much much much much later. Probably actually gave birth to my daughter knows like oh you know i am the mom and i've i've got a i've got to get together. Yeah we were talking about fellow model carly clause obscene that. I'm in st louis. You do you think that she went into modeling with the mindset or she just moved fast like what are you seeing about the the models that are emerging. I guess more recently know. It's interesting with carly. Because i was with her on one of her very first job. We were shooting lord and taylor and we were out in the countryside on an island in new york and i remember she walked in and i looked at the hairdresser and i said wow this girl is going to be a star. It was her poise her manners. And listen that's a really big part of it is having manners and she just was polite shoes engaging she was present and to this day she has not changed and to me. That's a mark of a star. She's been consistent from day one. She could move. She knew how to work with the camera. what i love about watching carly's evolution for on this fifteen year old schoolgirl. I think part of the biggest joy seen her blossom into becoming this young woman. And what i was saying to you before we began our conversation today That you know my love for carly and my is also like partly via fan because we took the reins and she said okay. I'm going to set goals for myself. This is a job and this is how i'm going to do it. And the only person i saw from my from i guess. Stop on the in my generation. Really nobody just after was out boone's jen where the carly disdaining she said. I'm wayne to set a career path. And i'm going to set goals and i'm just going to give it all. Give it my all how. What a great role model and my daughter an carly. You really looks up. Shoot to carly and so carly to my daughter is kind of like christy turlington and cindy crawford worth of me and those strong businesswomen from the generation prior. Let's say the nineties my generation. Everybody's a little more raucous which you say. I feel like you're the exception in terms of the longevity of your career i remember you know having worked hand in hand as a stylus with a modeling agency. I always remember the conversation with young models and you mentioned about your parents saying college. I always remember the talk about window that you have. It's kind of like take it or leave. it did. Do you remember that conversation. Do you think that's more typical interesting. Because i start even though i'm the same ages Some of the girls like amber valetta slum. Harlow kate moss. Everybody thinks. I'm younger. Because i started five years after them And it's so interesting. Because i just remember of course. I knew that it was like. Oh my god what do you mean. You're twenty one and you're just moving to new york to model. But i don't have the concept of age in my personal life. I still think time just young and goofy and it doesn't really even though i am getting closer to fifty. That might be a little bit of a lie am thinking but no know. I definitely was older. I was definitely older. And i kind of was like you know my sanity is more important and my parents. I'm so grateful for that guidance. And for you know for them. Instilling Maybe some about ethic in me. But i didn't finish college. Which is kind of a bummer. I'm harping on my daughter about it now And i think that. I have no regrets had no regrets. I don't think that i would have been able to handle that time in the industry way that i did had i not started later like i did right on. Will you were discovered you linked with an agency. What would you say. We're we're the key. I guess points that really saw your career taking off. Was it walking in a certain show. Obviously it was a different day and time Was it being featured in vogue. What what were those. What went into it. Well i think you know my big break Came well first of all. I had a work ethic Again during that time a lot of there was other things going on right. We've read about him. We know about the nineties. I was labeled as the professional and i was really annoyed at that because i wanted so badly to be. Cool i just. I wanted badly to be cool. Like kate moss. I couldn't you know my constitution was different. My work ethic was different. And you know i remember that part of me felt like okay. I've been recognized for for my level of professionalism. 'cause they listed like the top ten supermodels Of time and i was like number four and couldn't believe that i was in that group and part of me like oh darn it you know so boring to be called the professional but then the other part of me. I was kinda proud It took me a while. it didn't it. My big break really didn't happen till about ninety five ninety six. It was two or three years in. You know really trying and it was for french vogue for cover where they're like. Oh you look like rummy schneider. And i'm like who so i had to learn about us the european actress and that's what i loved about. My job really was the creativity in art because partly. That's what i was studying in. School was art history and literature. And i loved watching the films. I loved the research. I love the books. So bad is really where by my essence came from onset was using not to that was for the cover of french vogue. I think ninety five and then ninety around that time ninety five ninety six was the product campaign with gave. David sends and before that i didn't know who prada was. I didn't know who per who i thought you know. Any of these huge design houses and so And then of course. American vogue in that followed like ninety six game i i cover was amber and i was so nervous because they had already had a few hundred belt that around i was like oh my god. You can eat me alive and american vogue of chris. Green up with that magazine just to be featured was huge and then of course there was steven meisel who was like the ultimate photographer and work with him and once he and i started working together ninety six ninety seven it just all took off and then i was working with helmet. Newton irving pan. You know bruce weber like some of the greats and it was just i just you know again was in disbelief. But i was really having so much fun creatively. I love the creativity my job. I love it. Would you say that. It was a benefit or maybe. I don't know a con in terms of your experience versus now in terms of models using being discovered on social media and instagram is the new. I guess model book and having that the pressure to have that presence and to be engaging with an audience and the follower count is maybe how. You're getting jobs. Maybe i'm blowing this up in my mind and that's not exactly happening but yeah your experience. Compared to now i mean what what. What's your take on that. Well we didn't have the layer of social media so if you can imagine we didn't have cell phones have social media so you would go to paris and you're literally given a list of appointments and a little book called a plan to perry and plan to perry was like a map of the subway station that was it you fitting for yourself. You were on your own go same thing. If you went to japan you went to new york. That was able to filofax. So you know there's no hand holding there. It was a real. It was a it was tough right. It was really not easy. It's so interesting because we really had to pound the pavement to get anywhere as models There was no hand holding. And i can't speak for the models today but of obviously you have a lot of you have a lot of models who come from celebrity reality shows and you know i have a lot of respect for those girls there beautiful. You know you have a lot of influencers who are out there today. That have kind of changed the face of the industry in some regards right. I mean you. Daham model is a model. And i can't speak for what holds value to those models but from what i observed you know to really kind of you know in in twenty twenty one big break. What does that mean. It's still kinda the same. It's still the same like you. Got those photographers you wanna work with. You've got those Fashion houses that you wanna work with and and do the advertising for you wanna get that cosmetic contracts that all holds true. But what's wonderful about today is that there's a whole new generation of photographers and stylists which i think is so exciting right. There's a whole new crop coming up When it comes to the influencers you know to be honest. I'm not a huge fan. Because i you know. I watched that documentary with my daughter. Three weeks ago called fake famous and it was so revealing right and you see that it was fascinating and again the the the bold the bold word there is fake. You know fake. So i feel like for all you know. It really traditionally as a model. You're still out there. Hamming the pavement. You know standing in front of people putting yourself out there getting rejected which is a huge part of the industry. You know Putting your time. In and i'm not just leinster's don't have a place value. You know they do but as related to modeling. I don't see them as models. And i'm not sure that all that hype around. Dan is is earned in a way that i can totally comprehension if that makes makes perfect sense well. They're obviously kind of making their way into campaigns making their way into into onto runways. Even but i wanna talk about that in terms of fashion brands of maybe expanding their horizons not just influencers but in terms of diversity. Age diversity size diversity yes race and ethnicity. Do you see that actually like in a big way. Do you think the the fashion industry is. I feel like it's headed in a positive direction could be moving faster. What what what's your take on that. Oh my gosh. I think it's so wonderful to see the evolution taking place Not only is a woman and this is taking myself away from the model part of me. I'm going as a consumer as a mother as a woman. I get goosebumps. I think the diversity in ethnicity and body shape and size and background culture. It's so vital. And i also think that fashion has the power of so much influence you know not just style anymore so much more in its responsibility that is is being taking very seriously within the industry and I think i'm just so excited to see how it keeps going mike. I love julia the future. I don't even know if john i would say that. The dern influencers. I just love the voice. I love the platform and i think that that's where i'm so in awe of some of the athere influencers if you will debtor that are really focusing on social social justices. I'm so dusted environmentalism. Climate change. all of this is so important in. it's so vital. So that and degration of this type of influence or with a voice with a purpose with the meaning. Bats what i'm all about. I'm so excited for that. Yes let's talk about the your own. I guess initiative. You're supporting. I would wanna know if i know that you again. I think environmental causes. If i'm correct but across the board but if if you're fashion or if you're modeling career really led you to this and maybe what you were seeing in this space where you weren't but anyway talk to me about your i guess the values and the importance of using your platform for good. Well it's interesting i. I'm still learning how to use platform. I'm i'm not really great. I think that my instagram social media presence definitely needs work. One woman show. I don't have assistance. I don't have managers in any no. It's not intuitive for me. While i love the creativity of taking photos i'm terrible itself promotion and some still learning how to engage. You know there was this quote the said you know i. I just wanna be an artist. Not a brand. And i had felt like that so much of my career. I much agents dismay especially when you know a lot in the cover of sports illustrated which again and i was like. How did that happen. I just you know things were just happening. And then i did. A movie with barry levinson and everybody thought i was the new grace. Kelly knows going to become an actress. Mike said no. I'm actually meeting to costa rica. and i'm working school. And i'm going to help rehabilitate and you know how bill school bewitched which is what i did. But i have. I have a propensity. Shying away from the spotlight and i think that carries over into by social media presence that it yes i will do my job as a model and i will highlight product. Now happily do so When it comes to to activism. I like to call myself an advocate. And it's not. I don't have opinions. I don't have things to say. I just do things very quietly. And i'm involved in a lot of different organizations You know rider yard new york no more plastic and working on a capsule collection right now with mother genes which been huge fan for longtime junior completely election. So there are things that i do. My main focus is always been nature in its comes from a place of advocacy rather than activism and the difference in that layer for me is when. I'm an advocate on advocating. For something that i believe in because i've taken the time to do my research i've taken the time to get the information and i'm not gonna ever preach to anybody about it. I'm not gonna stand on a soapbox about it. I always want to highlight in put insight around it and then that way people can take from what they want. Because if i'm not entirely walking the walk right in me contradictory to talk the talk. So then i just like to say this is kind of what we know. And this is my experience and let me share with you. How i've been able to adapt. That makes perfect sense. That mother collaboration is that something. That's newer are you collaborating with brands. In an official capacity with your name on it Is there opportunity for the carolyn murphy brand. Well that's interesting. You ask because i again. I've done a couple of collaboration. Is that. they've always been much more quiet. I worked with shyamala. Great brand out of detroit and you know that was wonderful. Because i was so excited. You know a brand american made and spending time in detroit. Really when they're making his comeback. I love that city so much. I love that state of the whole ethos of the brand you know was really important to me and i was honored to not only be there model. How that relationship came about was. I was modeling for them. First and then they realized that i had half a brain and had some design sense. I went on to work with them and designing watches. And then i did a collection that was based around my grandmother. Us style was very city two countries. So i did on the lowest tote in honor of her But again. I never really wanted to be about me and i think that also goes back to. I always want to pay it forward. I want to do things that have purpose. And meaning and i think that also comes from journalism to and so mama. Murphy's is a placeholder name as something that i've been wanting to do for ten years which is an online journalistic magazine of sorts and that is been in the works for a while and the wonderful thing about social media and technology where it had. This aha moment was. Oh i can actually use this and so we will be launching an i g tv for this journalism which is so exciting. Yes yes it is and it in in. It's going to. It's going to be about all kinds of different things and and You know i really really. I'm looking forward to that because it's a whole other. It's a whole other facet as a whole leather. A whole other side. Shoot myself but did not about me. Yes will you've been writing. This is a passion of yours are you. Is there a book happening as well. I feel like i this is rina about. It's interesting if the book that you're reading about in this rumor. Mill about a book is actually a fiction. Not said there's two. There's two things. I did a lot of biblical therapy with my daughter when she was younger. Because i'm a single mother and I used bibliotheca therapy where we would make. i'd make up stories like there was darcy. The doll offended was just her and her mom and then she had a friend. Wendy the whale that had you know the mother. The father in light tends to lanes in the mother never had time for her but darcy and her mom and while the story goes so i decided to take a lot of those biblical therapy stories that we were using in our family to kind of cope out and put them into print And then the other part of that is also the fiction novel. Is this kind of Something that i've just. I've written my entire life. It was like my my safe-space was journaling and writing and also be out nature. I have a tendency. I have a very visited wild magic nation. I love readings so this is kind of a good place to put. My energy is into writing novel. I can't say when it's gonna come out and at least if it's easy you're because they're shorter and i also paint and draw and i can illustrate the store economic straight those as well and and the other one will probably come out. Many years now knows it's who knows how grades well twenty years with estee. Lauder i mean. Are you just like keep modeling. There's no end in sight right. The interesting about modeling. These days is that you would have been done by the time. You're twenty seven. Twenty eight back can day. It's twenty years later. I'm almost forty eight years old. I never thought that i would still be modeling. Let alone estee. Lauder would keep near round but We have searched agree partnership. A you know it really is genuine. It really is heartfelt. We are family. They had been huge supporters of of my career. And you know. I think maybe demographically is. Well there's this ambiguity with with maybe the way that i look i don't know but there is so much more going on within the brand an upcoming that i'm so proud of este. Herself was an innovator and entrepreneur. She was a champion for women. I mean it's the essence of the brand. If you've ever read any books about her and in one of them is the company i keep. You know leonard lotteries new. You can learn much more about her in. You will see that. She was so modern and she was so head of the times. She's been a huge inspiration and then my friendship with water also has created her own brand which is a ken her grandmother. It's kind of a natural progression evolution and she sustained alike con to boot It's just really wonderful. And i'm so excited to see how our relationship will evolve With the sign. Of the times when i can't tell you too much but there are other incredible things coming good. We are not stopping anytime soon. But i have to ask before we sign off. Because i'm like a fashion week junkie. I just love it but can you tell me about the last editor that loves fashion week. But can you tell me about your experience with with walking in the shows. And whether you think that's losing relevance what the future holds they're just as as an insider. I hope that fashion week doesn't lose. Its its place a honestly. it's such a backbone of our industry. There's the anticipation the excitement. And thank you by the way because it is people like you who helped keep that part of our industry alive and exciting and there is anticipation decree ativity. People wanna see. Who's in the show. What designers creating wearing. Here's a lot of dialogue around. What's going to happen with kobe. But i can tell you from experience. Because i just was in new york. Doing michael kors the fashion show their m. I did a few weeks ago. There's an adapt that has taken place with coded right. So it's more about filming. Which is which is. It's different but it's also been an exciting Know turn of events that we've adapted to So i'm excited. When michael kors does come out in a week or two. I think people will be excited to do that online. But i hope that actual fashion week does come back because no matter. What with all of this technology connection is still so important. So vital. And i think we've learned that fashion aside just in the world alone that we need to be together and we're all stronger and happier together in community is everything. Do you think that cova did a year. We've been through any other impacts on the industry outside of fashion week In terms of you know. I know that a lot of brands have really pared down. How the production that goes into a campaign or a photo shoot or anything along. Those lines may be the impact from codes. eddie named. yeah exactly. Well i think the biggest that the there's so much dialogue round the fashion industry taking responsibility for its environmental impact. So this is the conversation. That's really happening right now. Because climate change is real Luckily we have an administration prison. That's really recognizing not sorry to get political in in that moment but it really is important because fascism whether you're dealing with human hands and crafting and you know the ethics there or you're dealing with the amount of water that's being used in the pollution's had there. There's a lot of things that need to shift. So i'm hoping that the positive outcomes are there i again. I do know firsthand that. There's a lot of dialogue around that it takes time to change abbots. But this is again. Were being an advocate is so much better than an activist because we didn't have the information than that we do now. It's yatom lines. Oh blaming no pointing fingers. Anger begets anger. So why don't you use positively positively solutions to get positively and solutions. Well hey i love that positive. Note to end it on caroline. This was so fun. Thank you for being on. Are you kidding thank you. That's all for this episode. Our theme music is by otis mcdonald. Be sure to give us a rating on apple podcasts. Or wherever you're listening to the glossy podcast see you next week.