How Cara Delevingne went from millennials’ it model to gen Z’s biggest pick me girl

By Alma Fabiani

Published May 22, 2022 at 09:00 AM

Reading time: 5 minutes

Cara Delevingne has modelled for the world’s biggest and most luxurious brands, acted in Hollywood blockbusters and even written her own songs. During her ‘prime time’, she won ‘Model of the Year’ at the British Fashion Awards both in 2012 and 2014. Some even say she single-handedly brought back the bushy eyebrows trend—which, though not as voluminous, first peaked during wartime in the 1940s, then reappeared in the 1980s only to make a monumental comeback around 2015 after Delevingne (whose brows are very much on the bushier side) became theit girl’ of the time.

And fair enough, given the young age at which she achieved all of this—she’s only 29 now—her influence is something to be reckoned with, no matter how you look at it. But what was first praised as typical Delevingne quirky girl attitude in the midst of her glory days has since turned into the perceived cringe-worthy and often problematic behaviour of an affluent, privileged white woman from old money roots who somehow was never taught manners.

While it may be disappointing for some of the many Delevingne haters out there, this article won’t focus on the model’s acting career (or lack of acting skills I should say). Instead, we’ll be looking at some of the countless moments that most definitely impacted her popularity as well as how gen Zers overtaking millennials online has also played a part in her downfall. Move over Cara, sticking your tongue out while wearing a neon beanie is cheugy now…


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A post shared by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne)

She is the poster nepotism baby

Most of you probably already know this, but Delevingne, just like her eyebrow twin Brooke Shields “has some pretty high society ties throughout her family heritage—one that is made up of publishing executives, models, socialites and even some politicians,” as Monica Athnasious previously wrote in SCREENSHOT.

Although we recommend reading the full article linked above, just to give you a taste of the privilege Delevingne was born into, you should know that the model and actress’ grandfather ran both The Evening Standard and the Daily Express—a fact that many netizens have since linked to her initial rise in fame after her pictures kept appearing in newspapers and tabloids even before she became popular. Not to mention her godfather being “Condé Nast’s chairman for thirty years before stepping down in 2017…”

Both her parents come from wealthy, well-connected families—making the Delevingnes adjacent to royalty in the UK, literally. In other words, and without taking away from the fact that she was fit for the modelling industry, it’s not through pure luck that Delevingne found a way to make a name for herself. She’s had one since birth.

She was papped dropping a bag of “mysterious white powder”

In May 2013, while at the top of her modelling career, Delevingne was photographed outside of her London flat dropping what was, at the time, described as a bag of “mysterious white powder.” For those of you who aren’t well-versed on illicit drugs and aren’t sure what this unidentified substance could have been, it was speculated to most likely be cocaine.

Now, hear me out on this—I actually don’t really care whether Delevingne is a massive cokehead or not. Kate Moss and many, many other celebrities have been there, done that. What’s irritating in this case however is that, where Moss was vilified and her career put in jeopardy—H&M formerly fired spokeswoman Moss for being busted with cocaine in 2005—Delevingne saw little to no repercussions.

To avoid said consequences, the young model used social media and the incredible following she already had on those platforms at the time to distract the media. Her little snafu occurred the day before the Met Gala, which meant that both the press and public were already ‘distracted’ with bigger fish to fry.

But Delevingne took things a step further to ensure that no one was paying attention to that little bag of white powder. She posted an Instagram photo of herself locking lips with British actress (and friend) Sienna Miller.

As you can imagine, the ‘shockingly sexy’ image went viral and dominated headlines from the event. By the next day, absolutely no one cared about the white powder incident.


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A post shared by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne)

She fetishises black women

The model has openly identified as genderfluid since May 2018. She uses she/her pronouns. In June 2019, she confirmed that she was in a relationship with actress and model Ashley Benson. In April 2020, the couple split after two years of dating. “I always will remain, I think, pansexual,” she told Variety in a 2020 interview, meaning that she’s attracted to all people regardless of biological sex, gender, or gender identity.

“However one defines themselves, whether it’s ‘they’ or ‘he’ or ‘she’, I fall in love with the person—and that’s that. I’m attracted to the person,” Delevingne continued. Obviously—and it goes without saying—there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of that. The real problem lies in the weaponisation of her identity as a white queer person to infringe upon the bodies of black and brown fems as a way to assert and perform her own sexual agency.

In 2021, while at Leah McSweeney’s Halloween party, Azealia Banks performed her iconic song ‘212’. During that performance, Delevingne got on stage and grabbed the mic from the singer, speaking incoherently to the crowd before the visibly confused musician was able to take the microphone back.

Caught on camera, the model-turned-actress then kneeled on the floor and began to grab and lick Banks’ legs, with someone sharing the video and writing: “Can we ban Cara Delevingne from Hollywood?”

This behaviour has since resurfaced publicly again this year, most notably during the Billboard Music Awards 2022, which Delevingne attended despite the fact that she isn’t best known for being a musician, let alone a nominee. And yet, she managed to completely steal the show from nominees Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion—and not in a good way.

Her antics began on the red carpet before the show, when she was spotted peering around a corner to watch Megan as she posed for the waiting photographers. “With her eyes transfixed on Megan, Cara was shouting inaudibly and sticking her tongue out before she eventually ran onto the carpet and grabbed the train of Megan’s custom Mugler dress to give the photos some added movement,” wrote BuzzFeed News.

Delevingne repeatedly tossed the train in the air for the cameras, and although Megan laughed politely at first, people have argued that some signs of irritation appeared to cross her face as the model crashed her red carpet moment.

Things only got worse during the actual show. Delevingne was seated next to Megan and just behind Doja. At one point, the two artists were having a conversation when Delevingne interrupted by popping up between them and telling Doja, “Babe, I fucking love you so much.”

Then, when Megan Thee Stallion won the award for Rap Female Artist, Delevingne could not hide her excitement as she leaned into the rapper and stuck her tongue out while pulling a face. Weird. As Megan made her way onto the stage, Delevingne once again grabbed at the train of her dress, but instead of throwing it like she did on the red carpet, she simply ran her hand down the fabric. Again, weird. She then leapt out of her seat and dramatically applauded the win.

Last but not least, she was seen writhing on the floor as she took a photo of Doja Cat posing with DJ Khaled and Fat Joe.

All this ridiculous, performative effort for this…


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A post shared by FAT JOE (@fatjoe)

She seems to befriend anyone who’s ‘in’ at the moment

Ever since she first appeared on everyone’s radar, Delevingne has adeptly jumped from one famous bestie to another. The model started on the ‘lower end of celebrity’ with Rita Ora. Then, one Riri replaced another when Delevingne started hanging out with the queen herself, Rihanna. Then came Taylor Swift, America’s sweetheart.

Countless celebrities can be added to this long list but Selena Gomez seems to be Delevingne’s latest victim. The model, who’s playing Gomez’s love interest in the second season of Hulu’s Only Murders In the Building, even has a matching tattoo with the singer. 

While on ABC’s Live With Kelly and Ryan in January 2022, Gomez explained the meaning behind their identical rose tattoos: “She calls me ‘Rosebud’. So, it’s a nickname. I’ve always wanted a rose and now I got one and I love it.”


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A post shared by Bang Bang Tattoo (@bangbangnyc)

All this to say:

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