Cara Jocelyn Delevingne was born in Hammersmith, London, the daughter of Pandora Anne Delevingne and property developer Charles Hamar Delevingne. She grew up in Belgravia, London, one of the wealthiest districts in the world. Delevingne has two older sisters, Chloe and model Poppy Delevingne. She also has a paternal half-brother Alex Jaffe. Her godfather is Condé Nast executive Nicholas Coleridge and her godmother is actress Joan Collins.
Delevingne’s maternal grandfather was publishing executive and English Heritage chairman Sir Jocelyn Stevens, the nephew of magazine publisher Sir Edward George Warris Hulton and the grandson of newspaper proprietor Sir Edward Hulton, 1st Baronet. Her paternal great-grandfather was the Canadian-born British politician Hamar Greenwood, 1st Viscount Greenwood, and her maternal grandmother Janie Sheffield was lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. Through one of her maternal great-great-grandfathers, Sir Lionel Lawson Faudel-Phillips, 3rd Baronet, Delevingne descends from the Anglo-Jewish Faudel-Phillips baronets; two of her ancestors on that line served as Lord Mayor of London.
She attended Francis Holland School for Girls in central London, until she was 16, before moving to Bedales School in Hampshire. She has dyspraxia and consequently found school challenging. In June 2015, in an interview with Vogue, Delevingne talked about her battle with depression when she was 15 years old. She said, “I was hit with a massive wave of depression and anxiety and self-hatred, where the feelings were so painful that I would slam my head against a tree to try to knock myself out.” At age 16, after completing her GCSE examinations she moved to Bedales School in Hampshire, to focus on drama and music. After one year she dropped out and followed the career path of her sister, Poppy, into modelling.
Delevingne first began modelling at age ten in an editorial shot by Bruce Weber for Vogue Italia alongside model Lady Eloise Anson. She signed with Storm Model Management in 2009. She worked in the industry for a year before booking a paying job and went through two seasons of castings before landing her first runway show. Delevingne was propelled to fame after being scouted by Burberry’s Christopher Bailey in 2012 while working part-time in the office of a fashion website. Bailey cast her in the company’s spring/summer 2011 campaign.
Delevingne’s first catwalk appearance was at the February 2011 London Fashion Week, stepping out in the Burberry Prorsum autumn/winter collection. Jourdan Dunn opened and closed the show with Delevingne appearing sixth. Later that year, Delevingne then got her chance to open and close proceedings, modelling the Burberry Prorsum 2012 spring/summer collection in the September 2011 London Fashion Week.
Delevingne then commenced the early 2012 season by walking in the Chanel Haute-Couture spring show, at Grand Palais, Paris, on 24 January 2012. The stage was set up to resemble an aeroplane and the clothes the models wore vaguely referenced airline flight attendant uniforms.
The New York Fashion Week was the first of the ‘big four’ fashion weeks, within which Delevingne walked in nine shows for fashion houses including Jason Wu, Rag & Bone, Thakoon, Donna Karan, Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera. The week after, London Fashion Week took place. Delevingne exclusively took part in the Burberry Prorsum Womenswear autumn/winter 2012 show, on 20 February 2012. In the front row were celebrities such as Samantha Cameron, Will.i.am, Will Young and her partner in the Burberry campaign, Eddie Redmayne. After her single appearance in London, she took part in six shows in the third of the big four fashion weeks, the Milan Fashion Week. In Milan, she took part in walks inclusive of Fendi, Trussardi, Moschino, Blumarine, DSquared2 and Dolce & Gabbana. For the walk in the Dolce & Gabbana autumn/winter 2012 Show, she wore a lace and embroidered dress and was watched by fellow Brit Dame Helen Mirren, who was sitting in the front row. The final fashion week of the season was the Paris Fashion Week, in which she walked in seven shows for Nina Ricci, Sonia Rykiel, Cacharel, Stella McCartney, Paul & Joe, Kenzo and Chanel. The Chanel autumn/winter 2012 Show featured the likes of Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry and her sister Poppy Delevingne sitting in the front row. This was the beginning of what would turn out to be a long lasting professional relationship between Delevingne and the Head Designer and Creative Director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld. In an interview with Elle after the show he said, “Cara is different. She’s full of life, full of pep. I like girls to be wild but at the same time beautifully brought up and very funny.”
Over the four fashion weeks she had walked in more than 20 shows and had earned a name for herself. Vogue described her as their ‘crush of the season’ and The Daily Telegraph picked up very early, while in New York, on her becoming ‘THE’ girl of the season after walking in the Jason Wu and Rag & Bone shows. The international fashion weeks began again in September 2012 to showcase spring/summer collections for 2013. Her first shows of the season were in New York, in which she would walk seven times for the designers Jason Wu, DKNY, Thakoon, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta and Marchesa.
The Marchesa show was an extraordinary show as it took place in New York’s Grand Central Station. The show and venue attracted the attention of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West who were in the front row. The show took inspiration from India in the 1960s and Delevingne took to the stage in gold leggings and a white gown embellished with gold designs. Delevingne then flew to London to commence proceedings for London Fashion Week. She started by walking for Burberry, in which she appeared second in a white signature Burberry trench coat and also later on, in an oversized brown jacket and brown knickers. Following a month after the city had hosted the London 2012 Summer Olympics, the front row of the show was littered with British medal winners including Victoria Pendleton, Andy Murray accompanied by his future wife to be Kim Sears, also Harry Styles (who sang at the London Summer Olympics closing ceremony with group One Direction) and photographer Mario Testino. She followed this appearance by walking in shows for Sass & Bide, Issa, Preen, Topshop, Mary Katrantzou, Giles, Rag & Bone and Matthew Williamson. After London was Milan, where she took part in her most strenuous week of shows yet. She walked for Moschino, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Emilio Pucci, Ermanno Scervino, Ports 1961, Anteprima, Iceberg, Gabriele Colangelo, DSquared2, Anthony Vaccarello, Just Cavalli and Trussardi.
Delevingne picked the DSquared2 show out as a particular favourite of hers because she had more of a role to play, she had to dismiss the ostensible attention of photographers who hounded her on the catwalk. She said, “I do love it when there’s a bit of a role involved in my part at the shows. I enjoy acting, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.” The final week in September was the Paris Fashion Week, in which she walked for designers such as Cacharel, Louis Vuitton, Costume National, Paul & Joe and Chanel. In the Chanel spring/summer show, Delevingne walked out on a solar panel effect runway with imitation wind turbines sunk into the catwalk, in front of celebrities such as Kanye West, Jennifer Lopez and her sister Poppy Delevingne. Poppy was also in attendance at Delevingne’s Louis Vuitton walk, which drew inspiration from the 1960s and 1970s with mini-dresses and had the models travelling down escalators in pairs. Over this season she had walked in over 50 shows, a figure a veteran model would find hard to match, let alone someone who had only been in the business for a few years. Delevingne then went on to appear in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on 7 November 2012. She featured in the ‘Pink is US’ section and walked during Justin Bieber’s performance of ‘Beauty And A Beat’. The show was aired on 4 December 2012. She finally rounded off her year of catwalk shows when she took part in the Chanel pre-fall 2013 show in Scotland with the runway around the courtyard of Linlithgow Palace. The collection, designed by Karl Lagerfeld was called “Paris-Edimbourg” and inspired by Scottish style using Tartan fabrics. The show renewed media interest in the possibility of restoring the roof of the palace.
Delevingne kicked off 2013 the same way as 2012 by walking in the Chanel Haute-Couture spring show and followed this up with an appearance in the Valentino Haute Couture show before flying to New York to take part in New York Fashion Week, the first fashion week of the year. Her first appearance in New York was for Jason Wu where she walked down the runway in a short white dress with black gladiator strap heels. She followed this up by walking for Rag & Bone, Tommy Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, Derek Lam, DKNY, Carolina Herrera, Tory Burch, Jeremy Scott, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Anna Sui and finally Marc Jacobs’ rearranged show, due to a delay in transportation of goods for the show due to the February 2013 nor’easter. After New York it was on to the London Fashion Week where her first show was for Sister by Sibling, following this up by walking in another seven shows across the week for Issa, Topshop, Mulberry, Matthew Williamson, Peter Pilotto, Burberry and Giles. After this Delevingne walked in another seven shows at the Milan Fashion Week, the beginning of the week started with some concerns over the weather with snow forecasted to disrupt the week. In spite of this, Delevingne walked in seven shows for Fendi, Ports 1961, DSquared2, Etro, Versace, Iceberg and Pucci.
In Paris, Delevingne walked in eleven shows for Katie Grand’s collaboration with Tod’s Hogan brand, H&M, Lanvin, Vanessa Bruno, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Hakaan and Louis Vuitton. Delevingne’s association with Katie Grand’s collection went further than a catwalk show appearance as Delevingne sung ‘I Want Candy’ in the mini film called ‘Gang’, which is the title of the Katie Grand Loves Hogan 2013 collection and the name of the large-format magazine created to celebrate the collaboration. In between the two international catwalk seasons, Delevingne was featured in Chanel’s Cruise show which took place in Singapore. It was the first time Chanel had held this event in Asia and was held at the Loewen Cluster at Dempsey Hill, a British army barracks turned Singapore Armed Forces manpower base. The international fashion weeks began again in September 2013 to showcase spring/summer collections for 2014. In the first week, New York, she walked in only one show for Marc Jacobs in a show to which Style.com commented that, “…took us on a trip to the 1890s. The set looked like a bombed-out beach, with cigarette butts, Big Gulp cups, a tumbled-over Frozen Treats case, and destroyed fashion magazines strewn in the black sand.” In London, she featured in five shows. She opened proceedings for Mulberry and closed them for Burberry and Topshop as well as featuring for Peter Pilotto and Giles. In Milan, Delevingne only walked for Fendi and also walked in just three shows in Paris for Stella McCartney, Chanel and Valentino. She rounded off the year by again appearing in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
In January 2014, Delevingne opened and closed the Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2014 Show in the presence of a front row which included London-born singer Lily Allen. In the Autumn/Winter 2014 Collection Showcases she went on to close Burberry’s show in the London Fashion Week and appear in fellow British designer Giles’ collection. In Milan, she opened Fendi’s F/W 2014 collection for Karl Lagerfeld, before modelling for Stella McCartney in Paris. Her absence in New York was almost expected due to Delevingne going from walking in ‘just about every single show out there’ to only walking in the Marc Jacob’s show in 2013. News outlets cottoned on to this and wrote headlines such as, “Will Cara Delevingne Walk in New York Fashion Week?” in the run up to the Fashion Week.
In the gap between the fashion months, Delevingne was present alongside other British models such as, Suki Waterhouse for Burberry’s ‘London in Shanghai’ event to celebrate the launch of its Shanghai flagship store. For the finale of the night, Delevingne flew down the catwalk above the crowd in the venue, accompanied by falling confetti and the signature Burberry umbrella. In the second International Fashion Month, she opened and closed Topshop’s ‘Unique S/S 15’ collection in London, before moving to Milan where she also opened the Fendi S/S 15 show. In Paris, she walked in four shows for Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Stella McCartney. She finished 2014 with the Metiers d’Art Pre-Fall 2015/2016 collection showcase. The event was held at the Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria. On 10 March, Delevingne closed the showcase of Chanel’s Paris-Salzberg collection and closed a reshow of the collection in New York on 31 March.
In 2011, Delevingne was part of Burberry’s spring/summer campaign alongside other young British models including Jourdan Dunn. This was shot on the beach at Brighton by Mario Testino, which turned out to be the first of many shoots with the 60-year-old photographer. Delevingne has featured in advertising campaigns for other brands including Chanel, Fendi, La Perla, Saint Laurent, DKNY, Blumarine, Zara, Mulberry, Balmain, Marc Jacobs, John Hardy, Tom Ford, Alexander Wang, Tag Heuer, Mango, H&M, Penshoppe, Topshop, Daisy London and Dominic Jones Jewelry. Delevingne has graced the covers of Vogue UK thrice including a supplement cover in 2011, Vogue (Korea, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Portugal), LOVE, i-D, Russh, Jalouse, and Style.com’s Spring 2013 issue. In addition, she was the cover girl of W’s September 2013 issue. She was a model in the 2012 and 2013 Victoria’s Secret fashion shows. She is also the face of Chanel’s Resort 2013 campaign along with Dutch model Saskia de Brauw. She also landed the face of DKNY in late 2012.
In 2012, and 2014, Delevingne won the “Model of the Year” award at the British Fashion Awards.In January 2015, after her 2013 and 2014 appearances in campaigns she was announced as the new face of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté. On 23 January 2015, Delevingne, was named as the new brand ambassador of Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer. On 8 June 2015, Delevingne’s profile was removed from Storm Model Management’s website. It was later confirmed that she had cut ties with her management to focus on her acting career. In July, Delevingne appeared on the cover of American Vogue. In August 2015, she disclosed that a major reason for quitting modelling and focusing on acting was that the stress had, at least to some degree, contributed to her developing the skin condition psoriasis.
Delevingne played her first film role in the 2012 film adaptation of Anna Karenina, as Princess Sorokina, the marriage interest of Count Vronsky, alongside Keira Knightley. In August 2013, Delevingne voiced a DJ of a pop radio station in the video game Grand Theft Auto V, which once released became the fastest-selling entertainment product in history. In June 2014, Delevingne made her TV debut in the final episode of Playhouse Presents. This was a series of self-contained TV plays, made by British broadcaster Sky Arts. Delevingne featured as Chloe, opposite veteran British actress Sylvia Syms.
Delevingne went on to play the part of Melanie in the British psychological thriller film The Face of an Angel, accompanied by Daniel Brühl and Kate Beckinsale. The film received mixed reviews, but many critics commended Delevingne’s performance. One such example is The Metro which commented that, “In her [Delevingne’s] first major film role, she proves she can act with a sweet and playful on-screen presence. She brings a sense of vitality that is desperately missing from the rest of the film.” On 24 October 2014, she starred in a sketch for an annual 90-minute comedy TV event called The Feeling Nuts Comedy Night, which aired on Channel 4 and was designed to raise awareness of testicular cancer. A month later, she featured in South African group Die Antwoord’s music video for their song Ugly Boy. Then in December 2014, Delevingne starred in Reincarnation, a short film by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel alongside Pharrell Williams and Geraldine Chaplin. In February 2015, Delevingne appeared in ASAP Ferg’s music video for his song Dope Walk. Later in May 2015, she was also in Taylor Swift’s star studded Bad Blood music video which went on to break Vevo’s 24-hour viewing record, with 20.1 million views in its day of release.
Delevingne co-starred in the adaptation of John Green’s novel, Paper Towns (2015), as Margo Roth Spiegelman. The film brought in $12,650,140 on the opening weekend in the US, which placed it 6th at the box office. Rotten Tomatoes’ critical consensus reads, “Paper Towns isn’t as deep or moving as it wants to be, yet it’s still earnest, well-acted, and thoughtful enough to earn a place in the hearts of teen filmgoers of all ages.” Of Delevingne’s performance, Justin Chang of Variety called her “the real find of the film”, suggesting that “on the evidence of her work here, this striking actress is here to stay”. She played a mermaid in the 2015 fantasy film Pan. In 2016, Delevingne co-starred as Enchantress, a villainess with magical abilities, in Suicide Squad, an action film based on the DC comic book series of the same name. The film was released to generally negative reviews, although it was a box office success. Delevingne’s performance received mixed reviews from critics. The film Kids in Love, a British coming of age drama, was released in 2016. The cast includes many up and coming young actors, with Will Poulter and Alma Jodorowsky as lead roles alongside Sebastian de Souza and Delevingne who plays the role of Viola.
Delevingne starred with Dane DeHaan and Rihanna in the Luc Besson film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, an adaptation of the comic book series Valérian and Laureline. The film began shooting in December 2015, and was released in July 2017. Delevingne plays Annetje in the period romance film Tulip Fever. She also plays the role of Kath Talent in the film London Fields, based on the 1989 novel of the same name by Martin Amis. In October 2017, Delevingne alleged that circa 2016, producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her, attempted to kiss her without consent, and propositioned her for a threesome in a hotel room in exchange for a role. She made the film but says she regretted it as his actions terrified her. She also alleges that circa 2014, he told her she would never work as an actress in Hollywood because of her sexuality.