Who Is Cara Delevingne?
Cara Delevingne is the most prolific supermodel to emerge from the U.K. since Kate Moss. She has been the face of advertising campaigns for brands including Chanel, Burberry and Puma, and has been anointed by Vogue as “the preeminent model of her era” thanks to her “brazen display of personality, that thing most models are richly paid to hide;” Karl Lagerfeld calls her “the Charlie Chaplin of the fashion world.” She is close friends with Rihanna and Taylor Swift, has appeared in Hollywood movies and recorded a song with Pharrell Williams. Her goofy face-pulling, excess of charisma in an industry renowned for the opposite and love-hate relationship with modeling has endeared her to many: she has more than 41 million Instagram followers and another 10 million on Twitter.
As of 2018, Delevingne is worth $18 million.
The Anti-Model, A Force on Instagram
By 2015, Delevingne had the fashion world at her feet — and 17 million followers on Instagram. So her revelation in August that year, in an interview with the Times newspaper, that modeling made her feel “hollow” and “old” and that she was “not doing fashion work any more” came as a surprise; although perhaps not a complete shock — she had reportedly parted company with her model agency, Storm, months earlier, although no official announcement had been made. And she had previously told Vogue, in June, “modeling is the opposite of real.”
Delevingne explained that she was prioritizing her acting career, which had been building since 2012: Her first role was a walk-on part in Anna Kareinina, a 2012 film adaptation of a Tom Stoppard play set in 19th-century Russia. She won praise for her next role, 2014’s The Face of an Angel, a psychological thriller that was otherwise poorly received. By 2015 she had graduated to significant speaking roles, in films such as Paper Towns (based on a book by The Fault In Our Stars author John Green), Tulip Fever (alongside Judi Dench), London Fields (alongside Johnny Depp) and Suicide Squad (with Will Smith and Jared Leto).
“I never quit” read the tweet on her Twitter feed on March 20, 2016. Delevingne’s announcement came as she was revealed as the face of Yves Saint Lauren’s new couture collection. “I suffer from depression and was a model during a particularly rough patch of self-hatred,” she went on to explain, about her time away from fashion’s frontline. In an article she wrote for Motto, the supermodel elaborated further: “I felt like I needed validation from everyone. As a result, I lost sight of myself and what it meant to be happy, what it meant to be successful. I think it all stemmed from a deep-down feeling of wanting people to like me and love me.” In October 2017 she signed for another international modeling agency, IMG.
In May 2017 Delevingne had a buzzcut, explaining her new look was partly linked to another film role, as a cancer patient in the forthcoming Life in a Year, co-starring Jaden Smith. “When it’s a part like that, especially when it’s about cancer, I needed to feel what it would be like to have no hair.” Two months later, in July, she embarked on a promotional world tour with her good friend Rihanna to promote Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a science-fiction flick directed by Luc Besson. Both girls starred alongside Clive Owen and Ethan Hawke. The movie received mixed reviews, despite grossing $225 million worldwide.
Adding yet another string to her bow, Delevingne wrote and performed a song, "I Feel Everything," for the film’s soundtrack. Described by W magazine as a “throwback tune” that’s “as cabaret as they come” the song saw her reunited with hit-maker Pharrell Williams, with whom she had first performed in in 2014 in a short film for Chanel. To promote "I Feel Everything," she released her debut music video, in which she performed in a trouser suit and a variety of wigs.
Born on August 12, 1992, Cara Delevingne grew up in Belgravia, one of London’s wealthiest districts. Her father, Charles, is a property developer, her mother, Pandora, a socialite and part-time personal shopper rumored to help the Duchess of Cambridge. Delevingne’s maternal grandmother was a lady-in-waiting for Princess Margaret, and her godparents include the actress Joan Collins and Nicholas Coleridge, head of Conde Nast U.K., which publishes the U.K. editions of Vogue and GQ. “It’s fair to say she is used to mixing with the rich and the racy, and the out of control,” wrote Shane Watson in the U.K.’s Times newspaper in 2015. (One of Delevingne’s childhood memories is refusing to speak to Madonna, a visitor to her house, because she wanted to watch TV). Delevingne has two older sisters: Poppy, also a successful model, and Chloe, a trained scientist.
Mother's Heroin Addiction
Although Cara Delevingne’s childhood was undeniably privileged, it was also blighted by her mother’s recurring heroin addiction. “You grow up too quickly because you’re parenting your parents,” she told Vogue’s Rob Haskell in 2015. “My mother’s an amazingly strong person … But it’s not something you get better from … She’s still struggling.” Delevingne herself suffered from mental-health problems at school and has admitted to playing psychological games with the psychiatrists she saw during this period, causing more than one to refuse further treatment. She also suffered from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and dyspraxia, a developmental brain disorder that causes difficulty coordinating thoughts and movements. At 15, she was hit with “a massive wave of depression and anxiety and self-hatred,” and was prescribed antidepressants. She also self-medicated, smoking pot, though noted “I was completely mental with or without drugs.”
Delevingne Follows in Sister's Modeling Career
Delevingne quit school in 2009 at 15 and subsequently began working as a model, signing to the leading agency Storm Model Management, whose CEO, Sarah Doukas, happened to be the mother of an old school friend, Genevieve Garner, (it also helped that Delevingne’s older sister, Poppy, already had a successful modeling career.) Even at 15, she was no stranger to the fashion industry. Her first appearance as a model had actually been at the age of 10 in Vogue Italia, wearing a Philip Treacy hat. But after signing with Storm, Delevingne had to work for a year before her first paying job. She eventually made her breakthrough in a Burberry campaign in 2011. She catalogued her every move on social media, and built up a huge following — more than 41 million on Instagram, and 10 million on Twitter.
She may be shorter than the average model — 5 feet 8 inches — but what makes Delevingne stand head and shoulders above her contemporaries is the force of her personality. “While other models upload pictures of themselves to Instagram looking cute in yoga kit, Delevingne’s signature is goofing about, tongue lolling, doing the double thumbs up while wearing whacky clothes … she eats pizza, she wears onesies, she gets crazy tattoos, she doesn’t seem to be remotely up herself,” wrote fashion journalist Shane Long in the Times. The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis also notes that “pulling faces is central to her appeal;” Delevingne confessed to him that it began as a “defense mechanism” that “gets you out of so many sticky situations … As a model, I really stand for not being a model, if that makes sense.”
Another Delevingne trademark are her prominent, unplucked eyebrows. Such has been their impact that in 2013 they were blamed for declining sales of tweezers. That year, Google reported that searches for “fuller eyebrows” had risen in tandem with a fall in searches for “eyebrow plucking.”
Party Girl, Openly Bisexual
Perhaps unsurprisingly, as her success grew, Delevingne also acquired a reputation as a party animal. Although she has said that this was partly down to her need to be around people. “I had to be doing things with people at all times,” she told Vogue. “The life of the party is an easy part for me to play. It rots your insides, though.” She admits she did drugs — infamously dropping a packet of what appeared to be cocaine in front of photographers outside her London home in 2013. “I don’t think I did anything different from other people my age,” she reflected during her interview with the writer Rob Haskell. “I’d have probably done more drugs… if I hadn’t been working like mad.”
Delevingne’s love life has also long been a gossip-column staple — specifically for her sexually fluid relationships. She has dated both boys and girls. Previous partners have included the singers Jake Bugg, Harry Styles, Rita Ora and Annie Clark (better known as St. Vincent) and the actress Michelle Rodriguez. “It took me a long time to accept the idea [of being attracted to women as well as men],” she told Vogue in 2016, “until I first fell in love with a girl at 20 and recognized that I had to accept it … We’re all liquid. We change, we grow.”
In August 2018, Delevingne confirmed that she was involved with Pretty Little Liars actress Ashley Benson when they were photographed kissing at London's Heathrow Airport. The two sparked whispers of a romance when they were seen leaving a Lauryn Hill concert together in May and had also recently been spotted celebrating Delevingne's birthday in Los Angeles.
Cara Delevingne’s #MeToo Harvey Weinstein Moment
In October 2017 Delevingne added her voice to the growing list of actresses speaking out over the alleged sexual misconduct of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. She recounted a story on Instagram of what happened when she was asked to go to Weinstein’s hotel room with another girl. “He asked us to kiss and she began some sort of advances upon his direction,” she wrote. “I swiftly got up and asked him if he knew I could sing. And I began to sing … I thought it would make the situation better … more professional … like an audition … I was so nervous. After singing I said again I had to leave. He walked me to the door and stood in front of it and tried to kiss me on the lips. I stopped him and managed to get out of the room. I still got the part for the film and always thought he gave it to me because of what happened."
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