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Cara Delevingne is Taking the 12 Steps Very Seriously

cara delevingne

Cara Delevingne is Taking the 12 Steps Very Seriously

You could be living beneath one of Ancient Aliens’ infamous megaliths and still have heard about the Cara Delevingne interview with Chioma NNadi. After all, the Vogue cover story was further featured everywhere from Flipboard and Buzzfeed to Page Six and The Daily Mirror. Oh, it’s not so much that the chat had gone where few other outlets had dared to go before (though there was that), or even because it got there first (though there was that too). No, the feature was picked-up, repurposed and/or aggregated ad infinitum because Delevingne is one of the most famous faces on the planet. Too bad the aggregators didn’t read beyond the Follower counts though. Because then they’d have discovered the face-off also happened to be spot-on about subjects folks usually get way wrong.

It also happened to be a candid chat with one of the coolest people alive.

Indeed, calibrated correctly, Cara Delevingne could well be the barometer of cool. It was there behind the facade she wore for Burberry at the start of her modeling career. And it was there on the runways of New York, Milan and Paris for the likes of Rag & Bone, Blumarine and Stella McCartney. Mostly though, Cara Delevingne’s cool came through for Chanel, where she effortlessly channeled Coco’s effortless wile and whimsy.

In fact, Delevingne’s Chanel showings so epitomized Coco’s cool that she received the coveted Seal of Approval from Mr. Cool himself, Karl Lagerfeld.

“Cara is different,” Lagerfeld told Elle’s Lauren Valenti. “She’s full of life, full of pep. I like girls to be wild but at the same time beautifully brought up and very funny.”

Cara Delevingne: Cool and Popular

Delevingne’s cool was also apparently quite alluring — and bankable. The Evening Standard first called her one of London’s “1000 Most Influential People of 2011”. Two years later the paper ranked her 20th on their “Power 1000.” Then again, that was the year Delevingne was the world’s most Googled fashion figure, as well as Tumblr’s most re-blogged model.

In 2014 Delevingne was among The Sunday Times Magazine’s “100 Makers of the 21st Century” and ranked sixth on Forbes’ Highest Paid Models list. The next year, she ranked second.

It was in 2015 though that Delevingne started to let down her proverbial hair. That was the year she opened up about her depression, which had begun at 15 after discovering her mother’s drug addiction. It was a brave move, especially coming as it did at the Women in the World Summit. Some say she was crazy to come clean at such a place; others even accused her of being foolish. Smart folks however saw the reveal for what it was: unequivocal.

Once you’ve spilled your guts at such a forum, there’s really no going back.

Standing Still Yet Moving Full Speed Ahead

You can stand still though. Or at least put a pause on your self-help. Yes, even as you move full speed ahead.

Between 2015 and 2019, Delevingne seemed to move at warp speed. She hyped games (Call of Duty: Black Ops III), shoes (Jimmy Choo), handbags (Chanel) and ear buds (Beats by Dre). She appeared in videos by Taylor Swift, ASAP Ferg, Halsey and – yes! – Die Antwoord. Delevingne even managed to appear on Running Wild with Bear Grylls, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Swift’s 1989 World Tour Live. Most folks though remember Suicide Squad, where her dueling dual roles were nothing short of boffo.

After unleashing her inner everything, one might think Delevingne would be fully ready for the reveal to come in Planet Sex.

That thought would be wrong.

Cara Delevingne Hits a Wall

COVID hit Cara Delevingne hard. Real hard. In fact, writes Nnadi, “she hit a wall.”

“In the beginning, I was living with people in this COVID bubble in LA,” says Delevingne. “We thought it was going to be a week-long thing, and so it was fun.”

Included within that bubble was Ashley Benson, her then ​girlfriend of almost two years. But by April, the two had called it quits. “And then I was alone, really alone,” she tells Nnadi. “It was a low point.”

To say the least.

“I just had a complete existential crisis,” continues Delevingne. “All my sense of belonging, all my validation—my identity, everything—was so wrapped up in work. And when that was gone, I felt like I had no purpose.”

Yes, like too many people, work and life had become one. Not just synonymous, but inextricably linked.

“I just wasn’t worth anything without work,” she adds, “and that was scary. Instead of taking the time to really learn something new or do something new, I got very wrapped up in misery, wallowing, and partying.”

“It was a really sad time.”

Hard Working + Hard Partying = Hard Landing

When the world reopened, Cara Delevingne was more than ready to have at it – and then some. And she worked as hard at her work as she did at her partying. Then, after returning from Prague for Carnival Row, Delevingne said ‘yes’ to a different kind of project. It was a ‘yes’ many of us might later regret.

That ‘yes’ was to Planet Sex, a six-part docuseries from Hulu. As you might expect, the series “explores sexuality and gender.” As you might not expect (Delevingne seemingly didn’t), it gets extremely intimate.

“I didn’t really realize how personal it would be,” Delevingne told Nnabi.

Like the depression reveal, Delevingne chose to open-up on a world stage. Rather than Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit though, it was the Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs. Such a place would guarantee high stakes even if it wasn’t “billed as the world’s largest festival for queer women”.

Delevingne’s words reveal she was more taken aback by something even scarier.

“Oh, God, I’ve gotta be myself.”

Delevingne stepped up though, faced the mirror and, as they say, came clean.

Well, almost. There were still a few more parties to get to first, the largest of which happened to be Burning Man. And if the after-photos are any indication, Delevingne partied as hard as any Burner ever, if not harder.

Cara Delevingne Takes the 12 Steps

When the post-Burning Man pix hit the web, Delevingne was aghast. Her friends, however, “remained steadfast.” That includes Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was as matter of fact as she was compassionate.

“We all have moments in our lives that we’d rather weren’t photographed and shown to everyone,” Waller-Bridge told Nnadi. “[Cara] has maintained her honesty and vulnerability and is open-hearted about her life and her experiences—what more can you ask of a person who is living their life in a fishbowl?”

Indeed. In fact, it was Delevingne’s honesty and vulnerability which enabled her to truly come clean. And to admit that she could use a good walk up the 12 Steps.

“Before I was always into the quick fix of healing, going to a week-long retreat or to a course for trauma, say, and that helped for a minute, but it didn’t ever really get to the nitty-gritty, the deeper stuff. This time I realized that 12-step treatment was the best thing.”

Furthermore, says Delevingne, “it was about not being ashamed of that. The community made a huge difference.”

“The opposite of addiction is connection, and I really found that in 12-step.”

Four months in, Delevingne isn’t fooling herself; not this time. She knows sobriety is going to take some serious personal work. And she seems as committed to that work as she has been to her work work.

“People want my story to be this after-school special where I just say, ‘Oh look, I was an addict, and now I’m sober and that’s it.’ And it’s not as simple as that.”

No, Cara Delevingne it isn’t. And we wholeheartedly Thank You for having guts enough to say so. We also wish you all the luck in the world.

Healing Properties has been helping folks fight substance abuse since 2002. And like Cara Delevingne, we’re fully invested in the 12 Steps. Why? Because it works. If, of course, you do the work. So if you’re willing to step up and do the work, then please give us a ring. We’ll help get you sorted right quick.

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