From beautiful and privileged to beautiful, privileged and famous.
This is part of a new VICE series called A Moron's Guide to... that will celebrate and denigrate the lives of people who have helped define everything you care about in the world.
Short of tattooing her face inside your eyelids, Cara Delevingne couldn't feel more ubiquitous. Everywhere you turn your head (assuming you only turn your head between clubs in Soho, Vogue covers, The Sun's Bizarre column and Twitter), there she is, being tastefully kooky, being rich and being striking-looking – a classy fashion industry avatar made out of all the things Karl Lagerfeld dreams about while wearing his sunglasses at night.
But for all her omnipresence, there remains a lot we still don't know about the Next Kate Moss. Who exactly is this barely-legal, mainly-regal who haunts our pop culture? Where does she come from (besides Belgravia), and where is she going to (apart from an overpriced nightclub with Jake Bugg and Rita Ora)? Here's a one-stop guide to Cara Delevingne so that you can talk to her without feeling weird the next time you bump into her at Roberto Cavalli's mansion or on a yacht in the south of France.
Name: Cara Delevingne
Born: August 12, 1992
Roles: Spokesman for a generation of thin rich girls. Model. Actress. Musician. Retweeter. Gurning face of young London.
Notable achievements: Model Of The Year – British Fashion Awards 2012. Face of Burberry.
SHE'S THE NEW KATE MOSS AFTER THE LAST NEW KATE MOSS
But she doesn't have such a good surname. Moss – it's clean, it's crisp, it sits evenly on billboards, it describes a physical object that is velveteen. Delevingne – there is patently at least one too many "n's" in there. It's a squalid, faux-Frenchie mess that makes even seasoned sub-editors feel a little dyslexic. Regardless, the shadowy global syndicate who proclaim people new versions of other things has spoken unanimously: she is the modelling world's Next Big Thing until at least S/S14 (despite the fact she's already won Model of the Year, which kind of makes her more a Big Thing than the NBT, but whatever). Update your Google Alerts. Practice crossing your eyes. Tear down your saliva smeared shrine to Lily Cole.
SHE WAS DISCOVERED BY THE SAME WOMAN WHO FOUND KATE MOSS BEHIND THE EXCESS BAGGAGE AISLE
Famously, Moss was at JFK with her parents when Storm Models founder Sarah Loukas jumped out from whatever they had at American airports before Starbucks and presented her with a contract inked in blood. Twenty years later, Loukhas signed up her daughter's school friend and Cara's older sister, Poppy, to do a couple of shoots. Loukas was then well-placed to notice the younger Cara's ascent towards womanhood, weighing in her head whether her body parts were shifting towards marketable proportions and, if so, precisely what amount she could expect to charge for them – the classic fashion fairytale realised.
SHE LOOKS WEIRD, AND THAT'S KINDA LIKE MOSS, TOO
But that's a thing, right? In fact, that's the thing. Like the gap-mouthed 90s superwaifs, she has swum out of the usual litter of beautiful faces by virtue of her imperfections. In Cara's case, it's the thick eyebrows that suggest Gallagher paternity and the slightly snubby nose that suggests Shih-Tzu maternity. Having a thing is important because it allows you to cross over between the two hemispheres of fashion: the cool and the corporate. Each bolsters the other: you need to have enough of an edge that the highstreet will pay you thousands to donate some of your cool to their latest campaign. Essentially, you need stunning looks and a condiment of oddness, and Cara Delevingne looks amayonaissing.
THE VERB FOR WHAT MODELS DO IS "WALK", AND SHE'S GREAT AT IT
As in: "She walked at 25 shows this season," or, "She's walking at New York, Paris and Milan this year." Anyway, Delevingne is apparently an expert walker. She walked in 39 shows last season, with 13 of those walks all in New York the other week. That's a lot of walking to do in the space of five days, but Cara is a professional and clearly won't let the threat of bunions stop her from doing her job the way it's supposed to be done.
SHE RUNS WITH THE NEW BRAT PACK
If, by "The New Brat Pack", you mean Nick Grimshaw, singing personality vacuum Rita Ora, loin-spawn Georgia May Jagger, other loin-spawn Coco Sumner, aristo loin-spawn Jazzy de Lister and model whose parents couldn't spell "Jordan", Jourdan Dunn. She was also recently rumoured to be dating cheeky mum-fucker Harry Styles and is now reported to be having a thing with the one man who's seen it all: Jake Bugg.
SHE IS A SOCIAL MEDIA GENIUS: HALF A MILLION FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER CAN'T BE WRONG
Ask any social media consultant what's wrong with most people's intimate photos on Instagram or Tumblr or whatever, and he'll reply that they contain too many indifferent dinners and don't contain nearly enough hot models larking about with their mates. This is where Delevingne comes into her own. She = hot model. Mates = other hot models. And she's always larking, either in a onesie (vulnerable, childlike) or new rave's knuckle-duster leftovers (assertive, modern), striking a natural balance between canny intimacy and the glamour that is her job when she's not posting photos online. She even posts pictures of herself munching late-night McDonald's, which is a very evil sort of genius indeed.
SHE'S A STRAIGHT-UP COMEDIAN
The fashion world knows – and evidently loves – Delevingne's "irreverent, impish humour". Translation: she crosses her eyes in photos. Crossing her eyes has become a signature move for Delevingne. It is her Mobot, her Usain Bolt lightning bolt, her Boris Johnson gurgling poshly. There are whole corners of the internet that exist solely to catalogue the breadth of her vast funny-face arsenal. She pouts, she sucks in her cheeks, she generally subverts her good looks with zany silliness. Isn't she a good sport? Isn't she just like you and me? So what if I'm carrying a few extra pounds? At least I know gorgeous girls like Cara aren't looking down on me through the straws of their coconut oil and celery smoothies.
HER GRANDDADDY PUT THE "QUEEN" IN HARPER'S & QUEEN
In the 60s, Sir Jocelyn Stevens took some on-its-arse mag called The Queen, and re-tooled it as the bible of the hipper end of the King's Road set. Then it merged with Harper's and, at some point, they dropped the "Queen" bit from the title and added "Bazaar" instead. He also supplied the money for famed 60s pirate radio station Radio Caroline, the Rinse FM of its day.
Anyway, the point is this Stevens bloke was a bit of a face back when people used to talk about faces. He was later chairman of English Heritage, his wife was a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret – they inevitably spent a lot of time doing gin and cigarettes with her in Mustique – and they were even mentioned by name in 80s posh-life cult classic, The Sloane Ranger Handbook: “If the Delevingnes didn't exist, it'd be necessary to invent them.”
THE WAY PEOPLE WRITE ABOUT HER FATHER WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO PUNCH YOUR GENITALS OFF TO CASH OUT OF THE HUMAN RACE
“Daddy is Charles Delevingne, a former debs’ delight. He is handsome, perma-tanned and often described as a 'man-about-town'.” Really? A debs' delight, eh? A fucking man-about-town? Where I come from, a man-about-town is a bus driver and Deb's delight is what we call 20 Lambert & Butler.
HER MOTHER HAS HAD A BIT OF A TOUGH ONE
The "delightful Pandora" was also a bit of a rascal in her day. What I'm hinting at here is that, if you search for "Pandora Delevingne", Google helpfully suggests "drug addiction" as the first correlated term. Pandora blamed the strain of living with a severely-disabled brother, Rupert, for her long, sad tale of heroin use. He died, aged 22, and dad Sir Jocelyn spent a lot of the 70s saving his daughter from her smacky life-problems.
He "dragged her out of druggy squats" and "tracked down her drug dealer, ensuring he was jailed". He was parental Judge Dredd, basically. Pandora later told Tatler, “He once hauled me out of the overdose ward in New York and put me into a loony bin in Switzerland and used to sit there, wherever I was, holding my hand and saying, 'Blood is thicker than water.'" Nowadays, Pandora is also good buddies with royal punchline, Sarah Ferguson.
APPARENTLY WIKIPEDIA IS ALLOWED TO OFFICIALLY LEND CREDENCE TO THE TERM "IT GIRL"
On sister Poppy Delevingne's page: “Poppy Delevingne (born September 15, 1986) is a British model, socialite and It Girl.” I'm sorry, but does anyone know how to edit these things? Can someone please go in there and slash this entry back towards the basic tenets of reality? Poppy is a fellow expert at looking pretty, fair enough, she's clearly good at it, she's done campaigns for Jigsaw and Burberry. Poppy runs with her own slightly older Brat Pack that includes ex-flatmate Sienna Miller, Princess Beatrice and Dasha Zhukova, Roman Abramovich's latest sex partner. Poppy believes that she is called Poppy because her mum was making a sly reference to her own drug habit. Which sounds like nothing but a gift card to lifetime in therapy.
JOAN COLLINS IS HER GODMOTHER
And the MD of Conde Nast is her godfather. Yet, as this picture clearly illustrates, her family were nothing like the crusty Sloanes they're often portrayed as.
JUST IN CASE MODELLING DOESN'T WORK OUT, SHE IS STILL KEEPING MUSIC AS A BACK-UP PLAN
According to her agent, Sarah Doukas, Delevingne has "a lovely singing voice". When she started modelling, she also had a development deal going with mogul-man Simon Fuller. He offered to change her name and turn her into a pop thing. She made two never-released albums for him, but then the modelling went into hyperdrive and it all got shelved, denying the world what could have either been another beautiful but inevitably bland V Festival main stager, or the 21st Century's answer to Sam Fox.
BUT SHE ALSO WANTS TO ACT
People who like to watch boring films may have seen her small role in Stoppard's adaptation of Anna Karenina last year. People who like unfathomably shit Tim Burton films will have failed to see her in Alice in Wonderland a few years back, though she made it down to the last few for the title role. More recently, she almost starred in critically-reviled West End musical Viva Forever, but eventually turned it down, saying, “My agent said: 'No, you can’t, it will be a career killer.' Of course, I loved the Spice Girls. I loved Geri and Baby, but who liked Posh Spice? They said I looked like her and I said: 'That’s not cool, that’s really mean.' ”
She doesn't seem to have twigged that she's working with Posh's son in the new Burberry campaign, probably her biggest advertising job yet.
MY FRIEND MET HER ONCE AND SHE ASKED FOR A PHOTO OF HER AND HER MATES
She was shy and polite and hot, apparently.
Follow Gavin on Twitter: @hurtgavinhaynes
Previously - A Moron's Guide to Trey Parker