Cara Delevingne: The new generation’s queer, feminist It Girl

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Cara Delevingne is unavoidable. A model-turned-actress, Cara appears in ad campaigns for affordable retailers like H&M and high-fashion houses alike. She’s in Taylor Swift‘s “Bad Blood” music video (along with some of her fellow famous girl friends), the tabloid’s new favorite person to catch on camera, and the star of this summer’s, Paper Towns. She has 14.1 million Instagram followers and her bio reads “Don’t worry, be happy. Embrace your weirdness. STOP LABELING, START LIVING.” And the fact that she’s in a relationship with a woman and proud of it has been the least focused-on part of her career thus far.

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In the July issue of Vogue, the 22-year-old speaks candidly about her sexuality, which is refreshing with today’s ever-present climate of the glass closet for some of Cara’s peers.

“It took me a long time to accept the idea, until I first fell in love with a girl at 20 and recognized that I had to accept it,” Cara tells Vogue. The magazine notes that her parents “seem to think girls are just a phase for Cara, and they may be correct.” (Really, Vogue? How dismissive, but we’ll let Cara tell her own story.)

“Women are what completely inspire me, and they have also been my downfall. I have only been hurt by women, my mother first of all,”  Cara said. “The thing is, if I ever found a guy I could fall in love with, I’d want to marry him and have his children. And that scares me to death because I think I’m a whole bunch of crazy, and I always worry that a guy will walk away once he really, truly knows me.”

Here’s where I had do double check that this piece was written by a guy, which it was:

When I suggest to Cara that to trust a man, she might have to revise an old and stubborn idea of hers—that women are perennially troubled and therefore only women will accept her—her smile says she concedes the point.

Thanks for the mansplaining, Rob Haskell! But Cara is self-assured, and she spoke giddily about her partner, musician St. Vincent (nee Annie Clark).

“I think that being in love with my girlfriend is a big part of why I’m feeling so happy with who I am these days,” Cara said. “And for those words to come out of my mouth is actually a miracle.”

A miracle not only for Cara personally, but for queer female visibility. The only other out women who have, in recent years, covered Vogue, the world’s largest and most well-recognized women’s fashion magazine, are Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie. And now that she’s an actress, Cara’s star is only going to rise. Her openness about her relationships with women and not-so-straight sexual identity signals how far we’ve come. The woman whose face and name is sought after by some of the biggest companies and industries in the world is out and proud, and that’s an incredible change from the last few decades. Stars like Portia de Rossi have spoken about contracts they’ve had to sign in the past when working with beauty brands, agreeing they wouldn’t do anything to “tarnish” their reputation, which included coming out. Now, Ellen DeGeneres is a CoverGirl and Cara has her own line with DKNY and has been a part of campaigns for Burberry, TopShop and Chanel, all the while being in very public relationships with women.

Cara deserves better from a magazine like Vogue, though, who actually considered her attraction to women could be a fleeting part of her youth caused in part by mommy issues and a lack of trust in men. Although Cara does not use the word bisexual, she’s frank about her attraction to both men and women and when she does speak about it, it comes off just as normal as it should. It’s not sensational for a successful young model and actress to be dating women, but it’s still treated as such. Cara’s willingness to simply say she’s happy in a relationship and it happens to be with someone of the same sex is helping to show the kinds of progress we’re making as a respected community. Let’s hope the mainstream media will soon catch up.

 

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