t 21, Cara Delevingne may be the biggest thing in modeling—a baby Kate Moss with trademark eyebrows and an expressive face that can go from glam to goofy to smoldering to innocent—but her body is in total rebellion against the profession that has made her a star. Delevingne has psoriasis. And when she’s stressed or nervous, angry red patches flare up on her skin. “It only happened during Fashion Week!” Delevingne told me, calling from her agent’s office in London. “Which is, of course, the worst time of the year for me to be covered in scabs. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, and I’m sensitive. Kate [Moss] saw me before the Louis Vuitton show at 3 a.m., when I was being painted by people to cover the scabs,” Delevingne recalled. “She said, ‘This is horrible! Why is this happening? I need to help you.’ She got me a doctor that afternoon; Kate gives really good advice.” Like Moss, Delevingne, who is five feet nine, is not the skyscraper physical prototype for a model. In fact, in the past few years, models have been getting taller, skinnier, and, quite frankly, less interesting to anyone outside the fashion world. But when critics lament the passing of the supermodels of the ’80s and ’90s, what they really miss are the personalities, the faces. Women like Naomi, Cindy—and yes, Kate—had fantastic faces rather than clothes-hanger bodies and an interchangeable blankness that is the current vogue. There are notable exceptions: the lively Karlie Kloss or the stunning Joan Smalls. But when Delevingne arrived in the fashion world four years ago, she was an instant sensation—a face that captivated. “In the beginning, I was thinking, How do I set myself apart from the other girls?” Delevingne said. “So many girls were taller, skinnier, and prettier. And I’m not a girly girl at all—I didn’t get boobs until I was around 18! As a teenager, I kept thinking, I’m so short, and I have no boobs—what do I do?” Delevingne said, laughing. She began to look at modeling as playing different roles. “Maybe that’s why I’ve been noticed,” she said. “I treat the camera like a person—I gaze into it. Photos are a flat thing, and you need to put life into them.” Actually, Delevingne modeled for the first time when she was 10, in a story shot by Bruce Weber for Italian Vogue. She was “discovered” by Sarah Doukas, the owner of a London modeling agency whose daughter went to school with Delevingne and her sisters, Chloe and Poppy. The Delevingne girls are British aristocracy: Their mother, Pandora, was an It girl in the ’80s before she married Charles Delevingne, whose grandfather was a viscount. Pandora, who until recently was the head of personal shopping at Selfridges and counts the Duchess of York among her closest friends, once had a nasty heroin addiction. (It has been rumored that Poppy was named for the drug.) Pandora was in and out of rehab for much of the girls’ childhoods. Being the youngest, Cara may have not seen her mother at her worst, and she had the advantage of watching and learning from her older sisters. “Poppy was a model, and I never liked to do the same things my sisters did,” Cara explained. “After the Bruce Weber shoot, I didn’t think about it. I wanted to be either a musician or an actress.” She has played the drums since childhood and was in a band, the Clementines, when she was 12. It was around that time that she asked her parents for an acting agent as a present. “I wanted to be a Disney Channel star! I wanted to be Hannah Montana. They said no!”
“This is horrible! happening?”
! Why is this
She is no role model. Just don’t tell that to her millions of followers.
YOUTH IN REVOLT Adidas
I want to make music, I want to act, I want to sing, I want to do something that doesnâ€™t make my skin erupt.
I’ve done a great job so far.
Photos: Jacques Dequeker