“We all age, we’re all going to die. It’s how we get there, and what we make of the trip.”
– Carmen Dell’Orefice
If there was ever a role model of how to stay positive in the face of adversity, and how to make your own luck, Carmen Dell’Orefice might just be the poster child. This 85-year old woman has spent her entire life in the public eye – she began her modeling career at age 13, and is still modeling today.
I know, you’re thinking glamour, luxury, silver spoon; what’s adversity got to do with her life? Well, she didn’t have an easy or steady ride. Growing up in an unstable family environment, she was shuffled back and forth from foster homes, and by 15 years old, she was the primary bread winner, trying to support her mother and herself. Without any resources or help to support her, not even a telephone to receive calls about potential new modeling jobs, she had to hustle and do everything she could to make ends meet. In fact, she was so malnourished that she had to be stuffed and pinned to fit the outfits she modeled.
If that wasn’t enough, she was swindled out of her earnings by her first husband, and then she went through a series of tumultuous relationships for much of her adult life. By age 50, things might have started to look up for her, only to lose her entire nest egg (which wasn’t that much to begin with) in the stock market.
In 1993, at 62 years old, things finally seemed to be working out for her. She met a nice man and probably felt like the storms had passed, but Carmen had no such luck. Her new beau was Bernie Madock’s best friend, and she invested her remaining savings with the mastermind behind the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. Although they lived the high-life with the Madocks for several years, it all came crashing down on her in 2008 when Madock was exposed and arrested, all her money gone with him.
That was six plus years ago, and you know what? Carmen is not only still standing, she’s blowing up the fashion scene with more interviews, jobs and covers of magazines than she ever did before. And now, she’s got a message to spread: “Age is just a number“ she says.
The message I get from this absolutely incredible, fabulous and gorgeous woman’s life is certainly about breaking through age barriers, but to me, it’s so much more. Her story shows how our thoughts shape our lives, and when we make the best of whatever we are given, we will get to a better place; that struggles are an opportunity to shine, and if we just keep going, nothing will get in the way of our happiness.
No matter what you face along the way, and sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle, keep on keepin’ on – it’s about the journey, let’s not let it end before it’s really over.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!