Adwoa Aboah and Cara Delevingne are at The Bowery Hotel in New York City reminiscing about old times. Though Aboah, 25, can’t remember the first time she met Delevingne, 24, she does know one moment long ago when her friend made a lasting impression. “You were walking around on the street in London in a cardboard box,” Adwoa remembers. The two, then teen models, had just finished a day of castings when Delevingne found the box lying around, poked eyeholes in it, and put it on over her head. The prank totally killed.
Delevingne, of course, grew up in London. She’s from a prominent family: Her grandmother Jane was a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. Though Delevingne studied drama in high school, she wound up following her older sister Poppy’s example and began modeling at 16. In 2011 an 18-year-old Delevingne landed her first major gig—walking Burberry’s fall runway—and by 2012 she’d been named Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards. Over the next few years, she started trends (bushy brows), landed magazine covers (Vogue), and consistently ranked as one of the world’s top-paid models (in 2014, 2015, and 2016). But Delevingne, in time, found her way back to her passion: acting. After making her debut in the 2012 film Anna Karenina, she landed a lead in Paper Towns in 2015 and joined a star-studded cast in 2016’s Suicide Squad. This summer she’s front and center in Luc Besson’s sci-fi film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
But back to the box incident: What has endeared Delevingne to friends like Aboah, more than 40 million Instagram fans, and big brands like Rimmel London is her idiosyncratic personality. Her motto is “Embrace your weirdness.” She’ll stick out her tongue or cross her eyes in photos—and share them. Delevingne also isn’t afraid to get real: At 22 she talked about her attraction to both men and women. She dated musician Annie Clark (stage name St. Vincent) for a year and a half, a relationship that taught her “what love was—real love.” In a rap battle with James Corden and Dave Franco, she joked, “I’ve hooked up with hotter girls than both of you combined.” And many women identify: “I love Cara Delevingne,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “Her openness about her sexuality…helped me accept myself.” Last year she took on another stigmatized issue, depression, talking about her own diagnosis in a series of interviews. “Mental illness goes unseen,” she said, “but I don’t want it to be unheard.”
Delevingne’s feminism goes deeper than words: She knows that many of her fans are teen girls, and she wants to break down barriers for them. She chose Valerian in part because of how her character, Laureline, a special operative tasked with saving the universe from a dark force, is represented. She goes headfirst into battle and saves her partner, Valerian, as much as he saves her. Delevingne is also hosting a girl-power docuseries with global sports brand Puma this summer, releasing a coming-of-age novel about teenhood this fall, and working with the U.N. Foundation’s Girl Up campaign, recently visiting Uganda to advocate for girls’ education. Shattering barriers? Embracing authenticity? Saying what she thinks? That’s the Delevingne Doctrine. She tells Aboah all about it, starting with some in-the-vault memories.
ADWOA ABOAH: What’s the most fun we’ve ever had together?
CARA DELEVINGNE: When we went to see Kelis at Glastonbury. We lost everyone—
ADWOA: And we found ourselves in the dance field at Kelis.
CARA: Or driving to Burning Man, our first time. We had no idea where we were going. The girl who drove was pregnant and blind.
ADWOA: She wasn’t wearing her glasses, was she? What I’ve realized is a lot of our first times have been together.
CARA: The first time we had sex—I’m joking. Kidding!
ADWOA: That’s not real. [Laughs.] We haven’t had sex. What do people get wrong about you and me?
CARA: Everything? Nothing. I don’t know. I tend not to dwell on the things people say. I’ve learned how bad that is for your well-being.
ADWOA: [People call us] “model best friends,” but we were friends before. What I’ve always been grateful for in our friendship is that we expect absolutely nothing from each other, just friendship.
CARA: You get paranoid that people are going to make friends with you for a reason, that they want something from you. But never have I ever thought anything other than that we love each other.
ADWOA: Yeah, exactly. [My question list says] you made the transformation from modeling to acting a few years ago. How did it feel?
CARA: I hate this question. The word transformation is odd.
ADWOA: I bet you do. I always have people go, “So you’re acting now?” But actually I went to university for it. It feels like, “You once again think I’m some dumb model that now wants to be an actress.”
CARA: Exactly, right. I always say, modeling is something I do, whereas acting feels more like what I [am]. I have felt better than I felt in years, and that’s purely from doing what I love. Especially because, while I’ve been doing this film [the upcoming Life in a Year], I’ve been sober. Being completely clean and clearheaded has been so helpful with getting into character.
Full interview: glamour.com
|« Older Entries||Newer Entries »|