News & Runway

What Drives Carol Alt’s Passion to Create and Innovate

Photo Credti: Jimmy Bruch

Photo Credti: Jimmy Bruch

Muriel Alt was due December 2, 1960. She delivered a baby girl one day earlier: December 1. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows her daughter, Supermodel (with a capital “S”) Carol Alt. Throughout her career spanning over three decades, she's always wanted to be first, driven by a pioneering passion to create and innovate.

“What inspires me?” Alt rhetorically muses. “Creating a new path for models and being the first to do something big. I love the creativity of it all. I choose projects I love and I put all my energy into them.”

Alt was first discovered waiting tables at a Long Island restaurant, one of the many odd jobs she took to save money for college. The day after she signed with Elite Agency, the 18-year-old found herself modeling for Harper’s Bazaar Italy, a far cry from the job prospects in Queens, NY. Since then, she's graced the cover of over 500 magazines (including 1982’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue), starred on both big and small screens, and was the first model to produce her own posters and calendars (a move strongly discouraged by her agency at the time). That list barely scratches the surface.

“I look at myself as the Babe Ruth of modeling – I swing at anything!” Alt laughs. As of last September, she can add television host to her resume, a new passion fueled quite literally by her dedication to health, wellness and a raw food diet. A Healthy You & Carol Alt, a weekly 30-minute TV program on Fox News, is the culmination of years of personal health struggles. “When I was modeling, I was barely making it through the day,” she says. “With three jobs a day, seven days a week, I just had no energy. I wasn’t social, I wasn’t political, I wasn’t myself.”

Today, a raw food diet is a relatively familiar term but when Alt adopted the diet in the early 80s, it was quite radical. She didn’t tell friends and family about her new regimen at first, but people started commenting on her energy, her skin and overall glow. “My mother thought I got a facelift!” Alt recalls with a chuckle. “I realized my passion for eating raw was a platform for me to communicate and educate. Plus I started to get a little sick of everyone asking me about it, so I wrote a book!”

Three books, to be exact. Her show takes these books to the next level, with guest professionals, celebrities and everyday people sharing their health and wellness tips, tricks and personal journeys. “It’s been inspiring to know I’m not just one voice in the wind screaming against a hurricane,” Alt says. “I’ve had so many doctors help me – who’ve saved my life, really – and I hope my show is a way to pay that forward.”

Through her various projects, Alt has accumulated a mass of fans who follow her (on Twitter, among other platforms) and she takes that responsibility very seriously. She’s had insanely lucrative offers to do appearances plugging Botox, starring in cigarette campaigns (she doesn’t smoke) and promoting makeup lines chock full of chemicals, but declined anything that threatens her image as a health and wellness role model. “It’s important for me to be congruent,” she says. “Believe me, I’m not easy. My manager has been through hell and back with me!”

“I’ve always gone against the grain, always been contrary,” says Alt. “If you follow the beaten path, it’s boring because someone’s already done it! Sure, you get hard knocks along the way but it’s important to look for new things. It’s always worth it.”