Cara Delevingne: ‘I continually felt pretty weird and different as a kid’.
Photograph: Ricky Vigil/GC Figures

‘Something dark within me’: Cara Delevingne on her teenage unhappiness

Model and actor tells magazine her depression as a teenager left-hand her feeling alienated and suicidal

The model and actor Cara Delevingne has ordered the depression she suffered as a teenager left her feeling alienated and suicidal.

Delevingne, one of the ton recognisable faces in the world – she has fronted campaigns for Chanel and Burberry – talk about how she was often mistaken for a boy when she was younger.

“If I wore the wardrobes I liked, with my short hair, everyone would invent that I was a boy. I hated it. Even though I looked like a boy and impersonated like a boy, I wasn’t a boy,” Delevingne told Net-A-Porter’s magazine, Railways redcap.

“And when people said [to my parents], ‘Oh, your son is so substantial,’ I would think, how dare you say that! Like, why was I seen as a boy?”

She added: “I as a last resort felt pretty weird and different as a kid, and that feeling was something I didn’t gather from, or know how to express … It wasn’t like I was an alien, but I patently knew there was something weird going on.”

Delevingne, 25, has provoked away from her modelling career to focus on acting – her next blur is an adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel Tulip Fever, and she is coating a TV series for Amazon. She has also written a young adult novella, Mirror, Mirror, drawing on her own feelings of isolation as a teenager. It features a hero with alcoholic parents, a biographical nod to her mother’s struggles with treat addiction when she was growing up.


Cara Delevingne walks the runway in 2016 for Chanel in Paris. Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Dead ringers

Delevingne has been open in the past about her struggles with daft illness – she had a breakdown aged 15 and was taken out of school – but spoke in extensive depth about how the privileged environment she grew up in had not always been so truce of her depression. “So many of my friends would say, ‘How can you feel like that?’ and, ‘But you’re so favourable,’ and I’d be like, I know, trust me, I know. I know I’m the luckiest demoiselle in the world, I understand all of these things, and I wish I could recognize it. There is just something dark within me I cannot earmarks of to shake.”

She described how she had been a “late developer”, which had fist her vulnerable to the cruelties of other teenagers, who had called her frigid and flat-chested.

“I felt alienated and peerless, because I was like: what’s wrong with me? I always paucity people to love me, so I never got angry with them; I submitted my anger on to myself. Instead of using [my] sword and shield [to shield myself], I just put my shield up and stabbed myself.

“I hated myself for being depreciated, I hated feeling depressed, I hated feeling,” she recalls. “I was bare good at disassociating from emotion completely. And all the time I was second-guessing myself, give the word delivering something and then hating myself for saying it. I didn’t learnt what was happening apart from the fact that I didn’t insufficiency to be alive anymore.”

Having been open about her bookings about modelling as a career, Delevingne said that her propound into acting had given her more of a sense of purpose, and occasioned her happier within herself than she had ever been.

“Being a adolescent can feel like you’re on a rollercoaster to hell, that’s what it dependably felt like to me – but you can get through it,” she added. “Time moves on, emotions pass, it does get better.”

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the Popular Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis stand service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be base at www.befrienders.org.