Carolyn Murphy’s California Musts

The model and first-ever C cover star shares her Golden State favorites


CAROLYN MURPHY on the cover of C Magazine for its inaugural issue in September 2005 (right), as photographed by Brian Bowen Smith, and more recently, on a Californian hike (left).


Where do you live? 
Secret spot between the mountains and the sea.


PFEIFFER BEACH in Big Sur. Photo by Daiwei Lu/Unsplash. 


Favorite beach?
I love surfing Rincon, but my favorites are in Big Sur — Pfeiffer Beach in particular because of the ruggedness, and the surrounding area is a giant playground.


Branded cloth bags and an afternoon spread at Venice’s GJUSTA.


Favorite takeout?
I love Gjusta in Venice for their breads and smoked fish. I’m a food snob.

Favorite hotel? 
Post Ranch Inn. Mickey Muennig is a genius architect, integrating structures with the land [and using] native plants as roof coverings.

Favorite cocktail? 
I like the occasional “salty dog” in summer, which is grapefruit juice with a splash of vodka and a salted rim.


Papayas. Photo by Marissa Rodriguez/Unsplash.


Favorite market? 
The Ojai Certified Farmers Market is the best. For vintage furniture I love exploring Summerland or Santa Paula.

Favorite Californian wine? 
Someone recently gave me a bottle of pinot noir from Scribe Winery in Sonoma, and it was super yummy.


A cozy cabin retreat in El Capitan Canyon.


Where do you take visiting friends? 
Cruising up the coast: tacos in Santa Barbara; Farmer and the Cook in Ojai; “glamping” at El Capitan [Canyon] in the cabins.

Which car do you drive?
A vintage Land Rover or 1983 Mercedes wagon, biodiesel.


Bixby Creek Bridge and the Big Sur coastline. Photo by Cameron Venti/Unsplash.


Favorite drive? 
Between Santa Barbara and Goleta, or from Carmel to Big Sur.


Summer styles by DÔEN.


What do you wear in the day? 
I mostly wear vintage Levi’s with Enza Costa or Ceres pieces, and if I’m feeling more dressy, I love Christy Dawn or Dôen.

What do you wear in the evening? 
Vintage dresses from YSL, Gucci, Yohji Yamamoto, Chloé and the Victorian era.


ESTÉE LAUDER Sumptuous Extreme mascara, $29. HERITAGE STORE rosewater and glycerin spray, pricing varies.


What’s in your cosmetics bag? 
I use Double Wear concealer and Sumptuous mascara from Estée Lauder, and if I’m feeling dressy, Pure Color Classic Red for my lips.

Favorite skincare? 
I can’t live without my Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, I’ve used it for over 25 years. I love the rosewater and glycerin spray from Heritage Store and Weleda body cream.

Go-to facialist? 
Terri Lawton for 20 years now! She is more than a facialist, she’s a healer.

What book are you reading? 
At the moment, Essential Mary Austin and Braiding Sweetgrass.

Last TV show you binged? 
Down to Earth With Zac Efron.


Feature image: A view from Big Sur’s POST RANCH INN.


This story originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of C Magazine.

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