Cara Delevingne's 'car crash' TV appearance says more about her interviewers than her

As a former teenage fashion model, I know a lot about how young girls are supposed to present themselves to the media - and what happens when you don't play ball

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The Independent Online

I couldn’t help but feel intensely irritated by the way Cara Delevingne was treated during her so-called ‘car crash’ interview on Good Day Sacramento this week. In my mind, in fact, it wasn’t her who came across badly, but the American anchors themselves.

But let’s rewind. What actually happened during the programme? Well, Cara appeared to do an interview about her latest foray into acting, as the female protagonist in an adaptation of John Green’s novel Paper Towns. How did she get into character? Did she, for instance, read the book? ‘I kind of winged it,’ she joked, sarcastically claiming that far from reading the book, she hadn’t even bothered to cast an eye over the script. Needless to say, the anchors didn’t appreciate her British dryness as much as they might have if they were born and raised on the other side of the pond, and responded first with bemusement, and eventually with passive aggression.

‘Are you just exhausted?’ the anchor asks Cara halfway through the interview, who is momentarily taken aback by the suggestion. The implication is that she’s failing to provide enough bouncy, hair-flicky entertainment for viewers. ‘The premiere was last night. It was a very emotional night, felt like the end of an era,’ Cara responds, ‘but I’m not any less excited that I was a couple of weeks ago.’ The anchors then proceed to tell her that she seems a ‘bit irritated’ (an accusation which Cara, again, rejects) and then, to top off their patronising barrage, they dismiss her early from the interview while laughing amongst themselves: ‘We’ll let you go then…go take a little nap, maybe get a Red Bull.’ In her own words, Cara finds that this kind of banter has gone a bit ‘too far’.

As a former teenage fashion model, I sympathise with Delevingne. I remember all too well the pressure of having to behave a certain way to fit into the clique of models, photographers and fashion designers. There were so many times during my career when I made to feel like I wasn’t energetic, amiable or chatty enough – my agency were always on my back about it, encouraging me to put on a special cutesy girl act for the sake of my career. It’s all part of the image if you’re a woman in the spotlight – but it’s superficial, it’s fake and it’s tiring. I think this is something that everyone needs to be reminded of (especially the anchors of Good Day Sacramento).

 

We’re mesmerised by the images of models strewn across the glossy pages of magazines – beautiful young women, enviably tall and thin, dressed in designer clothes. You can imagine what you like about these women, fall into the ‘Cara fever’, but don’t be disappointed if that image momentarily falters. So what if she comes across as ‘irritated’ or lacking in energy the morning after her latest film’s premiere? Keeping up appearances is tiring, and there’s only so far you can push a 22 year old who’s already smiled for more cameras than most people will have hot dinners in a lifetime.

By the end of Delevingne’s ill-fated interview, the original purpose seems to have been forgotten by all involved, and it’s descended into a personal attack on her disposition. The anchors have seen a crack in the commercialised image of Cara - the face of Burberry, Chanel, DKNY and Topshop, the current heraldess of British fashion, the girl who sticks her tongue out at cameras and acts so happy-go-lucky during professional photoshoots. They meet a young celebrity who wasn’t living up to their expectations, so they showed her up for being human. But most of us cultivate ‘office personalities’ which are tweaked versions of our genuine personalities. The big problem seems to be that Good Morning Sacramento wanted Cara Delevingne, the brand, and ended up – much to their obvious disappointment - meeting Cara Delevingne, the person.

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