Cara Delevingne Shares The Dark Side Of Modeling

October 15th 2015

Laura Donovan

"Paper Towns" actress Cara Delevingne has previously discussed the difficulties of working in fashion, and she opened up even more on the topic during the recent Women in the World Summit. Delevingne explained that she would not recommend modeling to young girls because of its exploitative nature.

“The thing with models is you get used,” Delevingne said, according to the New York Times. “I saw a lot of misuse from photographers, perverse photographers, to young girls … Poor girls who don’t stand up for themselves because they feel like you should be used, because that’s what models do."

Delevingne was a well-known model for big brands such as Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana; she signed with Storm Models in 2009, but said at the time that acting was her real passion.

Delevingne, who has been candid about her struggles with depression and anxiety, added that she developed the skin condition psoriasis while overworked and unhappy as a model.

“At that time, I really wanted someone to stop me,” she said. “And no one did.”

Delevingne said she burst into tears when she finally landed an audition for an acting role and advises aspiring models not to follow in her footsteps.

“Dream bigger," she said she tells them. "Go for president.”

Two months ago, Delevingne explained to London's Sunday Times magazine that she no longer works in fashion.

“I am not doing fashion work anymore, after having, like, psoriasis and all that stuff,” she said. “Modeling just made me feel a bit hollow after a while. It didn’t make me grow at all as a human being. And I kind of forgot how young I was … I felt so old.”

She noted that her struggles with psoriasis made others treat her differently.

"People would put on gloves and not want to touch me because they thought it was, like, leprosy or something,” she said. “I was, like, fight and flight for months. Just constantly on edge. It’s a a mental thing as well because if you hate yourself and your body and the way you look, it just gets worse and worse.”

The overly sexual poses she had to do as a model also made her stomach turn.

“I am a bit of a feminist and it makes me feel sick,” she said. “It’s horrible and it’s disgusting. [We’re talking about] young girls. You start when you are really young and you do, you get subjected to… not great stuff.”

Earlier this year, Vogue interviewed Delevingne for a cover story that was widely criticized for questioning Delevingne's bisexuality. During that same interview, she talked about her battle with depression, which she's had since adolescence.

"This is something I haven’t been open about, but it’s a huge part of who I am," Delevingne said. "All of a sudden I was hit with a massive wave of depression and anxiety and self-hatred, where the feelings were so painful that I would slam my head against a tree to try to knock myself out. I never cut, but I’d scratch myself to the point of bleeding. I just wanted to dematerialize and have someone sweep me away."