Carolyn Murphy was born on August 11, 1973 in Florida, and grew up between the Gulf Coast and her families farm in Virginia. She was raised with a reverence for the outdoors, wanderlust for travel and appreciation of the arts and literature.
Before Carolyn graduated from Fort Walton Beach High School in 1991, her mother enrolled her in a “finishing school” to combat her shyness and it was at a modeling convention that agents immediately noticed her creative and curious nature. However, reluctant to begin a career as a model, Carolyn instead moved back to Virginia to pursue her college studies, modeling part time.
Fashion editors and photographers were impressed with Murphy's instinctive ability in front of the camera. Murphy said “It’s all about finding the art in fashion”. In 1995 she landed an exclusive advertising campaign with Prada, after her famed “pixie” haircut, shot by David Sims.
Murphy has fronted other advertising campaigns for Blumarine, DKNY, D&G, Tom Ford, Céline, Versace, Versus, Gucci, Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld, Dolce & Gabbana, Iceburg, Trussardi, Roberto Cavalli, Max Mara, Calvin Klein, CK, and Ralph Lauren. She has also been featured in ads for Harry Winston, Masimo Dutti, Missoni, Anne Klein, Banana Republic. Carolyn was the “first face” of Harry Winston jewelry advertising. Carolyn has recently been in ads for Louis Vuitton, Max Mara, Oscar de la Renta, Alberta Feretti, Miu Miu, Mango, Tiffany’s and Ferragamo.
Perhaps most notably, Murphy became a spokesmodel for Estée Lauder in 2001, signing one of the most lucrative cosmetics contracts. In her almost 20 year tenure for the beauty behemoth, she has been in ads for their iconic perfumes, Pleasures and Beautiful, Advanced Night Repair and Renutriv. Carolyn holds the longest running cosmetic contract in the industry and is currently the face for Resilience, Perfectionist and Double Wear.
Murphy has graced seven covers of American Vogue, a dozen French Vogue covers and six Italian Vogue. She has worked with a host of the foremost image-makers, including the late Irving Penn, Helmut Newton and Peter Lindbergh.
As a testament to her meteoric rise in the late 90’s, she was presented on the cover of Vogue in November 1999 as a Modern Muse and was named “The Millennial Supermodel”. Newsweek magazine ranked her number 5 in its “Top Ten Supermodels”, calling her “The Professional”. Murphy received the Model of the Year VH1 Vogue Fashion Award in 1999.
In 1998 the director Barry Levinson chose Carolyn to play the role of “Dubbie” in his film “Liberty Heights” alongside Adrien Brody. She and her co-star, Justin Chambers, were in Calvin Klein’s ‘Contradiction’ perfume ads together.
She has also covered magazines such as TIME, W Magazine, Italian Vogue, Paris Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour, Allure, Marie Claire, MUSE, LUI, Town And Country, Porter Edit and WSJ Magazine.
In 2005 Carolyn landed the cover of the coveted Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and again in 2006 as a part of the magazines “all-star supermodel” lineup.
Murphy has supported small business in America since 2010, curating only “American Made” products for one of the original e-commerce sites, Open Sky.
Carolyn hosted “Project Runway All Stars” in 2012 and also appeared in Carine Roitfeld's documentary, “Mademoiselle C”.
Steven Meisel chose Murphy as one of his muses for “The Godfather” article in American Vogue in 2009, and again for the cover of Vogue Italia 50th Anniversary September issue 2014.
In 2013 Carolyn was introduced and paired with the All American brand Shinola. The Detroit based company decided Murphy embodied the sensibility of the modern American woman, and later named her as the Women's Design Director. She created The Lois Tote for the brand in 2018.
Carolyn collaborated with London based lingerie brand, Cheek Frills, creating a sustainable line sold exclusively through Net A Porter summer of 2015.
In 2018 Carolyn joined forces with No More Plastic and created and eco friendly drinking can, with the artwork drawn by her, to raise money towards ocean conservancy
Off-duty, Murphy prefers to be the "invisible supermodel” and enjoys creating art, writing, gardening, crafting, surfing, camping, exploring and riding her horse.
Carolyn continues her education in literary studies and supports various organizations that benefit the well-being of children, animals, overall wellness of mind/body and ocean conservancy. She is ambassador for Surfrider, The Wellness Foundation, Animal Haven, Edible Schoolyard NY, Ocean Unite and No More Plastic.
31 December 1969
Photography Alexander Nataf | Styling Ilona Hamer
Photography Dario Catellani | Styling Vittoria Cerciello
Photography Guillaume Roemaet | Styling Michael Philouze