Karen Elson (born 14 January 1979) is a British model, singer-songwriter and guitarist who walked the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2001.
Karen is from Oldham. She attended North Chadderton School as a child, along with her non-identical twin sister, filmmaker/model Kate Elson. She herself tried modelling as a teen, and when she was 16, the owner of Boss models saw potential in her.
On her 18th birthday, famed photographer Steven Meisel shot Karen for the cover of the February 1997 Italian Vogue. She shaved her eyebrows and dyed her hair bright red for the cover at his suggestion. That was her big break. Karen went on to win the 1998 Vogue/VH1 Model of the Year award.
Karen has many, many covers since then, including just in 2014:
- September Vogue Ukraine
- August Vogue Korea
Karen's adventures extend beyond modelling. She was in the 2001 and 2006 Pirelli Calendars, and appeared in the 2005 music video 'Blue Orchid' by The White Stripes. For Karen, that was a fateful appearance, because she met her future husband there.
She was one of the elite group of British models who walked during the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony. She also helped found and performs with the Citizens Bands, which covers classic standards. She has two children with Jack White of the White Stripes, though they divorced in 2013.