THE EVOLUTION OF CARA
RUNWAY REBEL TO MOVIE STAR
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”