THE EVO­LU­TION OF CARA

RUN­WAY REBEL TO MOVIE STAR

Emirates Woman - - Front page - Words: Kerry McDer­mott

When it comes to Cara Delev­ingne, the phrase “triple threat” doesn’t quite cover it. Be­cause on top of dom­i­nat­ing the cat­walks, rack­ing up star turns in no less than six ma­jor new movie re­leases, and record­ing a duet with her Chanel cam­paign co-star Phar­rell, the model/ac­tress/mu­si­cian (she has mas­tered the drums and guitar) can also lay claim to be­ing one of the most in­flu­en­tial stars of the so­cial age.

Some 14mil­lion fans fol­low the work-hard-play-harder poster girl’s ev­ery move on In­sta­gram, seiz­ing on snap­shots of a so­cial whirl­wind that flits from sur­prise ap­pear­ances on stage with Tay­lor (Cara was among the army of A-list BFFs Swift tapped up to ap­pear in her Bad Blood video), to sun­bathing in Cannes with Kendall to walk­ing the red car­pet with Karl.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? And therein lies the essence of Cara's ap­peal. Whether she's prank­ing her co-stars on set, snap­ping self­ies with Ri­hanna at the Met Gala, or just hang­ing out with her (ul­tra glam­orous) fam­ily, this per­pet­u­ally fizzing bun­dle of energy, who turns 23 this month, al­ways looks like she's hav­ing a ball.

It's partly why she set her heart on the role of Margo Roth Spiegel­man, the beau­ti­ful, im­petu­ous high school girl she plays in the new big screen adap­ta­tion of John Green's Pa­per Towns. “I iden­tify with the way she is hav­ing fun and caus­ing chaos,” Cara says of the book's “per­fect” girl next door. “I never try to cause chaos and nor does Margo. She cre­ates a strong re­ac­tion all around her with­out even mean­ing to.”

De­spite her im­me­di­ate affin­ity with the char­ac­ter, Delev­ingne in­sists she was stunned to learn the part was hers. “I can't ex­plain to you how ex­cited I was,” she says of the mo­ment she got the call. “I freaked out. It was one of the best days of my life… I was ac­tu­ally by my­self in a ho­tel room and I ran around the room throw­ing things up in the air and scream­ing into pil­lows.” It's an en­dear­ing re­ac­tion from one of the most fa­mous girls on the planet. But while Cara's fun-lov­ing per­sona (pulling faces for the paps, par­ty­ing her way around the globe) had a big part to play in mak­ing her a house­hold name, she is any­thing but flip­pant when it comes to her act­ing.

“Look, mod­el­ling wasn't some­thing that I was do­ing for my soul,” says Cara, a vi­sion in a Roland Mouret striped sweater, navy mini skirt and an­kle boots. “It didn't make my heart beat. Act­ing has been some­thing that I've wanted to do for­ever and it re­ally is a true pas­sion of mine. I put my blood, sweat and tears into my act­ing and I ded­i­cate my life to it.”

In case we were left in any doubt over how se­ri­ously Delev­ingne is tak­ing her movie ca­reer, she reels off a list of role mod­els that in­cludes some of Hol­ly­wood's most pro­lific and re­spected lead­ing ladies. “Meryl Streep, Char­l­ize Theron, Ju­lianne Moore, Pa­tri­cia Ar­quette. An­gelina Jolie is great,” she adds. “The way she started di­rect­ing and all the phi­lan­thropy she's in­volved in. I love those amaz­ing su­per-strong women.”

The move from suc­cess­ful model to se­ri­ous ac­tress is one that many at­tempt, but few man­age to nav­i­gate suc­cess­fully. (Re­mem­ber Cindy Craw­ford in The Simian Line? Ex­actly.) Per­haps de­ter­mined to avoid be­ing pi­geon­holed into play­ing the to­ken “hot girl”, Cara's ini­tial for­ays into film were rel­a­tively low-key – a non-speak­ing part in Anna Karen­ina here, a small role in a Michael Win­ter­bot­tom flick there. But now a re­lent­less run of high pro­file projects is about to make the snub-nosed su­per­model as ubiq­ui­tous on the big screen as she has be­come on bill­boards around the world.

In ad­di­tion to her “dream” role in Pa­per Towns, fans can look for­ward to see­ing Cara in Joe Wright's Pan, along­side Hugh Jack­man, Rooney Mara and Amanda Seyfried, Lon­don Fields with Johnny Depp, Kids in Love op­po­site Will Poul­ter and Tulip Fever with Judi Dench and Christoph Waltz. Not to men­tion an ap­pear­ance in the up­com­ing DC Comics block­buster Sui­cide Squad, which also stars Will Smith, Ben Af­fleck and Mar­got Rob­bie.

Jug­gling so many projects with her not in­signif­i­cant mod­el­ling com­mit­ments must add up to a breath­less work sched­ule for the Lon­don girl, but Cara seems to thrive on fun­nelling her seem­ingly in­ex­haustible energy into achiev­ing her dreams. “I haven't had a day off for ages and I prob­a­bly need a hol­i­day, but I love work­ing,” she says.

“I want to con­tinue play­ing strong fe­male char­ac­ters. I want to be a strong role model for girls,” she says. “I'd love to play a se­rial killer, like Char­l­ize Theron did in Mon­ster. I'd love to do a Quentin Tarantino movie and I would love to di­rect one day. That would be an ab­so­lute dream.” Given her fast-grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion – she and her Pa­per Towns co-star Nat Wolff were pre­sented with the Ris­ing Stars of 2015 awards at Cine­maCon, and John Green de­scribed Cara as hav­ing “more charisma than any­one I've ever met” – few would doubt her abil­ity to tick all of these goals and more off her list.

One thing looks cer­tain; Cara's string of roles in some of the year's most hotly an­tic­i­pated films will see an al­ready daz­zling ca­reer ap­proach strato­spheric pro­por­tions. Cur­rently listed among the world's most Googled celebri­ties, the in­tense in­ter­est in ev­ery as­pect of her life won't be sub­sid­ing any­time soon. But Cara, the first su­per­model to em­brace so­cial media as a means of com­mu­ni­cat­ing di­rectly with her fans, isn't one to whinge about in­va­sions of pri­vacy. “I just live my life and I don't think there's a spe­cific way of han­dling fame,” she says. “You just have to deal with it ev­ery day and ev­ery day it changes.”

“It [fame] is the weird­est thing in the world,” she says. “They [the fans] see what I want them to see, which is prob­a­bly about 20 per cent of who I am. Peo­ple make as­sump­tions about me all the time; they think they have an idea about who I am.”

Which brings us neatly back to Margo Roth Spiegel­man. “A lot of peo­ple like to pro­ject their ideas of who they think Margo is onto her, which I guess peo­ple do to me too,” Cara says. “Margo doesn't know who she is and that's the best bit about her; she is on a road of dis­cov­ery try­ing to fig­ure out who she is. She's not about to let any­one stop her from do­ing that. She's an ex­tremely free spirit. She can­not be caged in… by any­one.” Sounds a lit­tle like some­one else we know. ■

“I LOVE AMAZ­ING, SU­PER-STRONG WOMEN”

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