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Cara Delevingne Opens Up About Sobriety and Self-Care at 30
Conceived as a playhouse for adults, Cara Delevingne’s 1940s white-brick home in Los Angeles is the stuff of design-world lore. It brims with madcap furnishings, each corner appointed with her signature wit and imagination. There’s a tented poker room draped in red velvet, a David Bowie–themed bathroom, a ball pit with circus-stripe walls, trampolines laid into the lawn.
When I arrive at the big blue front doors on a cloudless day in late January, Delevingne greets me with a warm hug. She has the gawky charm of a teenage music nerd—barefoot and dressed in an oversized vintage Prince T-shirt matched with gray marl gym shorts—and ushers me quickly past the crystal clear baby grand piano and the glowing James Turrell art installation up to the den on the first floor. If each room reflects a side of her personality, then this space suggests Delevingne at her most introspective. Decorated with little more than a few graphic Bowie concert posters, it’s the one room where the famously kinetic British model and actor might occasionally sit still. “Did you feel the earthquake last night?” she asks, referring to the 4.2 magnitude shock waves that struck off the coast of Malibu in the early hours of the morning. I confess I slept through it, and I’m surprised that she didn’t as well. Could anything rock the foundations of this fantastical bachelorette pad? “They don’t really scare me much,” she says dryly, of earthquakes, sinking her gangly limbs into the sofa and curling up with her dogs—one a Pomeranian husky named Leo, the other a Chihuahua terrier called Alfie. “I guess I’m just always ready for the ground to fall beneath my feet.”
After an emotionally turbulent year, Delevingne is slowly beginning to find her center: She’s proud to tell me that her commitment to sobriety is some four months and counting. “The games, the crazy performances, the escape rooms—I loved giving that to people,” she says. “They could come here and leave their stress and responsibilities behind, and maybe that sounds like Willy Wonka, but it was the idea that they could come and just be like kids,” she says. “But in giving that to people, I was kind of stuck in myself.”
On the outside, Delevingne has always played the beguiling mischief-maker. She shook up the modeling world as a wide-eyed 18-year-old schoolgirl from London, shooting to fame as the face of Burberry in 2011. Along with those magnificent caterpillar brows, her high-spirited nature and wry sense of humor helped propel her to stardom over a decade when personality was all but shunned on the runway. Here was a young woman who was self-possessed, even in the blinding glare of the spotlight—and her ascent to Hollywood with roles in films like Paper Towns (2015) and Suicide Squad (2016) only furthered that perception. On the inside, however, she was struggling to make sense of who she was. “If you have problems going into this industry, they will only get magnified and exacerbated,” says Delevingne. “There is nothing about it that makes it better.”
Still, few could have anticipated Delevingne’s all-too-public unraveling last September, shortly after her 30th birthday, when she was photographed looking disheveled and distressed at the Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles. The tabloids were quick to draw comparisons to Delevingne’s 63-year-old mother, Pandora, who has talked about her struggles with bipolar disorder and heroin addiction. Then, just weeks later, defying all expectations, Delevingne appeared at a Paris Fashion Week event for a collaboration honoring her friend the late Karl Lagerfeld, looking coiffed and radiant. Fans were left wondering: Had the headlines about Delevingne’s so-called downward spiral been blown out of proportion? Was Cara okay or was she not?
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