PaperCity Magazine

March 2016 - Houston

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K arll is famously reticent and understated; only her closest friends know of the extraordinary life that molded her first decades. Reared in the Highland Park enclave in Dallas and Mexico City, her glamorous, adventuresome parents met, courted and married after her mother piloted a plane South of the Border to attend a dinner party. Karll's father, Major Robert Paul Karll, was stationed as air attaché to the American Embassy in Mexico City after serving as a pilot during WWII. Her mother, Mozelle, was a famous beauty whose modeling career took off when Stanley Marcus discovered her at the age of 17; thereafter known as one of Mr. Stanley's favorite models, she later became style coordinator for all the models at Neiman Marcus. Throughout Karll's childhood and adolescence, she and her parents rubbed shoulders with icons of the era such as Clark Gable and his last wife, Kay Spreckels (at a neighbors' casual dinner in Beverly Hills), and Ernest Hemingway (Mozelle gave him a lift to Mexico City in her plane). And then there was the summer of Ava Gardner. "During semester break while studying in Mexico, I was invited to participate [as a model] in an international fashion show," she says. "It was to be held in Acapulco, so I thought it would be fun. My mom came along as my chaperone. One day she asked me to join her and an old friend who happened to be in town. I arrived, and my mother introduced me to Ava Gardner. Ava invited me to go water skiing every morning for the month I was there. She was staying at ex-husband Frank Sinatra's house. Everyday we'd hang out, go shopping at the flea markets, swim and have dinner at her house. Ava told me she thought of me as the daughter she never had. I told her I planned to pursue a career as an artist. She suggested I wait and continue modeling for a while, which I did. "A few commercials later, I went to New York and signed with the Wilhelmina modeling agency," Karll says. "I was chosen by the legendary photographer Victor Skrebneski to replace Karen Graham for the BY CATHERINE D. ANSPON. PHOTOGRAPHY JENNY ANTILL CLIFTON. HAIR AND MAKEUP TONYA RINER. CHRISTY KARLL THE LIVES, LOVES AND ETHEREAL NATURE OF ARTIST Among her many avocations, artist Christy Karll has been a model, fashion seeker and savant, animal activist, beautiful bohemian and environmentally sensitive artist — the latter, her most passionate role. She shares the sanctuary of her charming Spanish-revival home, a study in vaporous shades of white, with her husband, Hal McWhorter, and a noble canine, English setter Hudson. Since they were newlyweds 24 years ago, the couple has lived in this 1927 home, encircled by a garden and tucked away down a sequestered street in the Museum District. In the kitchen, a recent painting by Christy Karll, Soul Tree, 2015, reverberates with an Eastern aesthetic.

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