Former Model Carol Alt Talks Breaking Into the Industry Today, Interchangeable Shoes

Carol Alt
Carol Alt at Spring '18 New York Fashion Week.
Rex Features

Former ‘80s supermodel, entrepreneur and actress Carol Alt has a new fashion gig. This time, Alt’s been tapped by new women’s footwear brand Cat Perkins as director of strategic communications and creative adviser.

This is not Alt’s first involvement with the shoe industry. In 2008, she appeared in “The Celebrity Apprentice,” where her team was given the task of a coming up with a shoe donation program, with Crocs as the sponsor. Alt’s team won the competition and as its project manager, she received $20,000 for her brother’s charity, the Tony Alt Memorial Foundation.

Carol Alt Cat Perkins Cat Perkins creative advisor Carol Alt. Courtesy of Cat Perkins
Today, Alt is getting behind Cat Perkins, a collection of convertible shoes launched online this year. The brand features a proprietary technology that allows the wearer to easily interchange shoe uppers and bottoms for a wardrobe of looks. “I [typically] limit myself to black and white [clothing], or one color when I travel so I don’t have to keep changing my shoes,” said Alt about her decision to team up with the brand. And she noted the collection’s comfort factor, due to a cushioned footbed hidden in the wedge outsole.

Here, Alt talks about her modeling days, stepping into the shoe industry, and battling it out on ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.”

Footwear News: As project leader on “Celebrity Apprentice,” what was the experience like?

Carol Alt: “I’ve known Donald Trump for 36 years. I did [the show] since I could promote the memorial foundation [in my brother’s memory]. I also thought I could learn from others [on the show]. I looked up to Marilu Henner. It was the most difficult and challenging thing I have ever done. But it was sad the way the [female] contestants attacked one another. They fractured in different groups, fighting one another. But we won. We [created] giant receptacles shaped like crocodiles where people could place their worn shoes and [then have] Crocs donate a [new] pair.”

FN: How do you describe your personal style?

CA: “When I was modeling, I only wore sweatpants to the studio. If you wore anything nice, it would get ruined. I [also] liked tight-fitting clothes that held you in. Now I just want to be comfy, even when I go out. I wear James Perse. It’s nice and classically sexy [line], but also feminine and comfortable.

FN: After retiring from modeling, what professional paths have you taken?

CA: “I could not have made a living [from modeling] for Sports Illustrated. Back then, at 25, your career was over. So I did posters and calendars, went into movies and wrote books on [healthy living]. I just I just signed two other deals, one with Endoderma skin care and Core 46workout equipment.”

FN: How did you learn about Cat Perkins?

CA: “I was lecturing at a [recent] The Truth about Cancer conference and [noticed] my girlfriend must have had 15 different pairs of shoes [with her]. She wore them [all day], whereas I was taking off my high heels when walking long distances and putting on my flip-flops. I [asked] her who was transforming the shoe industry.”

FN: What role will you play with the company?

CA: “I’m going to be involved with marketing and have lent my image to the brand. I’m also on the board of advisers. The [founders] have also asked me to design a red carpet shoe.”

FN: Do you have any advice for today’s young models?

CA: “If you’re not already a celebrity or have some kind of connection, or a million followers on Instagram, or are a Victoria’s Secret girl, it’s hard to be a model today. I made it on good, old-fashioned hoofing and hard work.”