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Deep Thoughts About the Construct of Time and Gender With Cara Delevingne
Raise your hand if you have a massive, can’t-stop-won’t-stop crush on Cara Delevingne.
Now put your hand down, because you’ll need it to scroll through this story. We met up with the actress / musician / model / style obsession this week in Manhattan, just after she debuted her mega billboard for the Tag Heuer campaign in Times Square. It stars a lion, a watch, and a wardrobe of Saint Laurent + Dior, and yes, there’s some magic involved.
Get ready to do a Delevingne deep dive, ahead.
Your first tattoo was a lion. You’re posing with one in this Tag Heuer campaign. You’re a Leo. Do you believe in your star sign?
I mean, I believe in sacred geometry and science and space. There’s something to be said about when and where you’re born. But I don’t rely on it. I’m an open person; I’m very interested in it. But I don’t look at my horoscope every day and make decisions based on it. It is funny, the similarities though! It’s funny how the Leo is “King of the Jungle,” and how a lot of my friends are Leos. We seem to run in packs.
But you don’t feel more of a kinship with lions?
I feel a kinship with all living creatures. Humans are animals, too! But there’s something to me about felines, all cats big and small, that are very mysterious and incredible. They move to the beat of their own drum. They don’t rely on anyone for anything and they’re very unpredictable. Humans and dogs, they’re wonderful and loyal and lovingly need so much attention from you. And they always let you know. They’re quite predictable. Cats aren’t.
What are the rules for hanging with a lion?
I’ve worked with wild animals before, and they all have rules. I’ve worked with bears, and when you’re with them, you can’t be on your period.
With the lion, I couldn’t wear perfume or deodorant at all. They put me in a cage and let the animal kind of hang out near me and check me out. It was like being on the opposite side of a cage in a zoo! It was amazing. I wanted to just look at the lion and touch him—I was so enamored! And then on the day we shot the campaign, I was in a cage again for a while. It was me, Kevin [Richardson], who is the wonderful trainer who works with the lions on their reserve. Then I had to turn my back to the lion and basically just trust my life in someone else’s hands—and in the lion’s hands, too.
Were you scared? I bet you weren’t scared.
[Laughing] I wasn’t, no! Just excited. I was actually so happy, and I felt like I was in my element. I feel like fear is the fucking root of all evil. Sorry, can I say that?
Great. So I would say, fuck fear. It’s the thing that stands in the way of us being our best selves. Fear is important because it means being scared of death, but it’s a protection mechanism. In theory it’s a good idea, but more often than not, it just gets in the way of us living our lives as fully as possible… and being around [the lion] didn’t make me afraid, it made me grateful that I wasn’t afraid, and that a company like Tag Heuer also wasn’t afraid to let me live the dream I always had of being with one.
That brings us to our next question. Why wear a watch when you’ve already got an iPhone?
But why wear a watch ever? Why ever look at the time? Time is a thing of human perception. You can have a week, and to you, it’s the slowest week ever. But a year can pass by so quickly! You have to wonder about how people discovered time, you know? And when you think of pocket watches, and the fact that for the first time ever, people could like carry time [with them]. And the aesthetics of watches—they’re very beautiful accessories to have. One of the first things I ever bought with my own money was a watch… and as well, I play the drums. I’m all about rhythm. To put something next to your ear that’s always ticking and literally keeping time. If you’re panicking and your heart’s going so fast, and you have something on you that keeps a certain pace, it keeps you grounded in some way.
Speaking of time, you’re the face of Dior Capture Youth, an anti-aging product for women in their 30’s—
Is it though?
I thought so!
Because when I talk to my Mum’s generation or my sisters’ generation, they all say, “I wish I started taking care of my skin earlier.” Most women get to a certain age where they start telling every younger woman, “Oh, make sure put cream on your neck!” And I really hope I’m not a person who gets older and feels like I have to have surgery. I want to be able to look after myself and my skin. It’s about prevention. We live in a society where of course we want to look good, because it helps us feel good. So I use it, my friends use it—it’s not just for one generation.
What I was going to ask is, you’re 25 now. Do you have an idea of where you’d like to be by 30?
I don’t really like to put an age limit or a time limit on goals. I think that can be really destructive. I certainly have life goals. I mean, I want to have kids one day. There are certain things in my career, people I want to work with, places I want to go… but those can happen anytime. I have a lot of friends who smoke and say, “I have to quit by the time I’m, whatever.” And if they don’t quit or can’t quit, they hate themselves for it! And it’s so limiting to say, “In this amount of time, I’m going to…” Why do that to yourself?
Your first big audition was for Tim Burton’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I’m still sad you weren’t cast as Alice. Are you?
I mean, look. I don’t think it was a sad moment in my life anymore. I think it was actually a brilliant moment in my life because I learned about what rejection really is, and how you’ve got to pull yourself back up when you fall off the horse. It’s important to learn those kinds of things. It’s never going to stop how much I love those books and that character. But if I’d done that movie, my life would be so different right now! And I don’t regret anything I’ve done—the jobs I’ve done, the jobs I’ve missed out on, the mistakes I’ve made—because without those, I wouldn’t be who I am now.
You’ve spoken recently about how empowered you’ve felt by all the public discourse surrounding gender identity and fluidity. Are your pronouns still ‘she’ and ‘her’?
Nobody’s ever asked me that! Yes?
I don’t mean to be sensational, I honestly just want to make sure we represent you accurately.
No, not at all! I haven’t really, to be honest, given it—not given it much thought, it’s just part of a bigger thing. Because I believe every single one of us have masculine and feminine in us. I am a woman. I am proud of that. I’m not saying anyone should feel one certain way about their gender, or any part of who they are. But for me, with the times we’re in right now, it would feel weird to say I’m anything else when I am a woman, even though I understand I have masculine and feminine energy. But I am a woman who is nurturing, and emotional, and sensitive, and I embrace that. I just think the conversations women are having now—to me, it goes beyond equal rights because men and women aren’t equal! Women have a far larger capacity than men. They do. Equal rights are very important, but women are the creators of life. Men can be incredible; we need men. We need each other. But we’re not equal. We’re different. And that needs to be appreciated.