Cara Delevingne has struggled with depression and mental illness much of her life, but now the actress and model has found a way to combat it: hard work.
While other rich and famous check in to therapy, the 26 year-old supermodel has a more physical way to ease her dark or racing thoughts.
She says: “Whatever I have makes me think a lot, too much, too fast so I really like manual labour because it gets me out of those thoughts.
“I prefer heavy duty things: carrying stuff, chopping wood, things that take more physical strength. I like brute action to get me out of my head.
“I recently built some cupboards in my house and put up a shelf.”
Cara is refreshingly open about the mental struggles that have plagued her family.
She admits she was only 15 years old when she first she battled depression which she believes was triggered when she discovered her mother Pandora’s drug addiction.
It meant leaving school for six months and going on medication which, she adds, might have saved her life.
“I’ve grown up with my mother who has a lot of mental illness and addiction and that is something that’s in my family too,” she says. “She has suffered very, very heavily in her life and I feel for her.
“She’s still suffering and she’s still struggling. She has bi-polar, stage three. She’s mentally ill.
“Of course it’s affected all of us and we all have dealt with it but nothing in comparison to what she’s gone through.
"I’ve suffered with my own mental illness before but it was always to do with trauma from things that happened to me as a kid, so it’s not the same.”
Cara is just as open about her bisexuality, which she first discussed five years ago when she revealed she first fell in love with a woman aged 20.
She was engaged to musician St Vincent and has also previously been linked with model Paris Jackson, singer Rita Ora, actress Michelle Rodriguez as well as singers Jake Bugg and Harry Styles.
But one person she doesn’t want to talk about is her girlfriend Ashley Benson and whether or not they are officially engaged or even married, after rumours they tied the knot in Las Vegas earlier this month.
“I don’t like to talk about my private life in terms of things like that,” she says, although she recently posted an Instagram of her and Ashley together.
“I like to keep my relationship as private as possible.
"It’s hard to do that when you are in a relationship, but that’s what I try to do.”
Cara’s sexuality has caused her problems in the past but she is determined to fight for what she believes in.
“I’ve seen how much people disagree with certain aspects of my life, my sexuality and the way I speak about things,” she says.
“I now realise I’ve been quite ignorant to the fact that there are so many people who don’t agree with my life choices, which is horrible. If there’s freedom to hate, why is there no freedom to love? It’s so sad. I think over the last couple of years it’s really ignited a fire within me to just fight more, but with love.
“When I was talking at the UN the other day I was about to cry and I don’t want to cry anymore, I’m so tired of crying.
"Also, I don’t want people to think I’m weak because I’m not, I’m strong.
"And I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. Because the thing about homosexuality is that it’s been going on for a long time and it’s not going anywhere.”
Cara is one of three daughters of a well-connected, wealthy family.
Her grandmother was a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret, her grandfather was publishing executive Sir Jocelyn Stevens, and Dame Joan Collins is her godmother.
She grew up in London’s upmarket Belgravia and, aged ten, appeared in as a model in Vogue which set her career path.
Despite modelling for top designers including Burberry, Chanel and Oscar de la Renta, Cara says she’s not particularly interested in fashion and does not know who made the white sleeveless blouse and black leather trousers she is wearing as we talk in a Beverly Hills hotel, in Los Angeles.
“I have no idea,” she says with a laugh. “Would I wear this if I wasn’t coming here today? Probably not.
“I’m not the best at fashion even though I’ve been in it for so long. I really felt like a bit more of an actor in the fashion industry because I don’t know a lot about style.
"I know what I like but I’m not the most fashionable person and would still be wearing tracksuit bottoms and t-shirts every day.”
Turning away from fashion, Cara set her heart on acting but her second career got off to a nightmarish start.
She was not the first actress to claim she was sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein who, she says, attempted to kiss her without her consent and propositioned her for a threesome.
He also told her she would never work as an actress in Hollywood because of her sexuality.
Cara credits her godmother Joan Collins for advising her not to abandon her dream.
“She said she believed in me which was really nice coming from her, who I’d always looked up to as an actress.”
But it took Cara a while to overcome her many fears.
“Self-doubt will eat you alive and will be the one thing that stands in your way with everything. I think I spent my life conquering my fears. I used to hate performing, I used to hate attention.
"Still, I think conquering those made me really begin to love and respect myself which I didn’t a lot when I was a kid.”
Cara’s latest acting role sees her in a new Amazon television series Carnival Row, in which she plays a fairy and co-stars with Orlando Bloom.
"Her role calls for her character to fly and although some sense are created by computers, Cara spent a long time hanging on wires.
“I’ve done a lot of wirework in different shows and movies but this is definitely the most fun I’ve ever had. I was adamant I wanted to do my own stunts as much as possible. I really wanted to be like a female Tom Cruise.”
Cara’s love for acting even beats her passion for tattoos, which have to be disguised for each role. Six years ago she had a lion tattooed on the first finger of her right hand and since then she has been obsessed with adding more. She now has 20 all over her body.
“They’re all kind of small but they mean a lot to me. This is one for my grandmother who died,” she says, pointing to a tattoo on her arm.
“It’s an elephant which was her favourite animal. Different things, for different people, different memories, different times, my mother, different places.
“I always wanted them but it’s a nightmare for acting, it really is. That’s why I stopped. I would one hundred per cent have more if I wasn’t acting.”
The most recent tattoo, she says with a laugh, “is where I can’t show you. Sorry.”
Now that her acting career has taken off in a big way, Cara divides her time between London and Los Angeles and has another film role in the offing, playing a free-spirited runaway in the thriller Punk.
She hopes one day to act in a role which will help people understand mental illness.
Source: Read Full Article