Cara Delevingne has long been known not just for her modeling, acting and activism, but for her give-no-fucks attitude. In the August 2017 issue of Glamour, she pulls no punches; her conversation with fellow model/activist Adwoa Aboah is irreverant and refreshing. She’s happy to talk about her recent acting – “I always say, modeling is something I do, whereas acting feels more like what I [am],” particularly regarding her imminent release, the sci-fi thriller Valerian. She tells Adwoa that she chose the role because she appreciated how her character Laureline isn’t a typical action film damsel in distress; she and her partner Valerian are equals. “Laureline did the job as [well] as Valerian,” she explains. “He’s not saving her. They save each other, which is beautiful.”
Delevingne has run into a lot of the problems many models who cross over into acting face, particularly an inability to be taken seriously. During a press tour for her film Paper Towns, she was notoriously asked by a couple of condescending interviewers on Good Morning Sacramento if she’d bothered to read the book the film was based on. Since then, she’s actually written a novel. Delevingne seems to thrive on being underestimated, yet never finds herself quite able to accept compliments on her work. “I think each of us has to look at the root of the issue as to why we cannot feel good about ourselves often enough to celebrate ourselves. It’s larger than what’s happening in the moment of receiving a compliment. Everyone has to figure out why they don’t agree with what’s being said. It’s a self-confidence thing,” she tells Adwoa.
The conversation turns to Delevingne’s openness about her fluid sexuality; she has openly dated problematic actress Michelle Rodriguez and musical angel St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark). Adwoa offers that during Fashion Week, she noticed that many young women were dating other women, and expressed frustration that although these women were hesitant to label their sexuality, others would do it for them – “Oh, she’s a lesbian now.” This attitude is irritatingly all too familiar for many bisexual, pansexual and otherwise affiliated human beings on this planet.
While Cara says she’s glad to see sexuality becoming a topic younger people are more comfortable considering and discussing openly, she also struggles to have her personal orientation accurately represented or understood – even by her friends.
“Once I spoke about my sexual fluidity, people were like, ‘So you’re gay,'” she explains. “And I’m like, ‘No, I’m not gay…’ A lot of the friends I have who are straight have such an old way of thinking. It’s, ‘so you’re just gay, right?’ [They] don’t understand it. [If] I’m like, ‘Oh, I really like this guy,’ [they’re like], ‘But you’re gay.’ I’m like, ‘No, you’re so annoying!’ …Someone is in a relationship with a girl one minute, or a boy is in a relationship with a boy, I don’t want them to be pigeonholed. Imagine if I got married to a man. Would people be like — ‘she lied to us!’ It’s like, no.”
We here at Autostraddle’s Vapid Fluff HQ would suggest that Cara make some new friends.
Later, Adwoa asks Delevingne if her newly shaved head is related to her upcoming film project, tearjerker Life In A Year. “Yes,” she replies. “No, I did it because I’m gay. [Laughs] I didn’t. I’m not gay. I am. I’m not. I’m fluid! I like fluid.”
In conclusion, rumor has it that fluids are healthy.
I admit I am annoyed by celebrities who “dislike labels”- I can’t shake that it sounds like unexamined privilege speaking and possibly internalized biphobia? I like the idea of sexual fluidity but when invoked as an alternative to a “label” it can sound like a person is distancing themself from the queer community. I’m struggling here- would love to hear another perspective on this.
I mean I don’t necessarily label myself either – I use terms like fluid and will occasionally use bisexual as a catch-all, but never really felt like that was a word that described me. As long as she’s really open and upfront about her relationships (which she has been), I think she’s still doing young queer kids a valuable service by being visible. I have a lot of issues with stuff Cara’s said and done, but this isn’t one of them.
I agree! I want everyone to be free to identify exactly how they please, but as a bisexual woman I get so so so tired of other women dancing around the label. It’s just like…there’s a word for what you’re describing Cara! But I do understand that words can feel foreign when they’re directed at you and labels can feel strange and confining. “Queer” is probably the most apt descriptor I have for myself. But I’ll never deny that I’m bi. And sometimes “gay” feels right. Heck sometimes “lesbian” is just easier if not technically accurate.
THIS! ^^ I shift between labels as well. I guess I identify most with Queer, but I’m also Bi/Pan, sometimes also super lesbian. Nothing seems to “fit”. They all feel like itchy sweaters except for Queer
“itchy sweater” is a great way of putting it.
I tend to stay away from labels myself, just because they never felt “right”. I find them useful for others to kind of understand where I’m coming from, but never fully identified in any one box. Even the word “transgender” is problematic, and that’s why I’ve just gone with “non-binary trans woman”. And then people are like what?! How can you be non-binary AND transgender?! And I just roll with it.
With sexuality, it’s so damn complicated. I feel pan/bi sometimes, but mine fluctuates literally by the week. One week it’s guys – the next week it’s women. Then very rarely it can be both. I just don’t even know what to call it anymore… If others are confused, then I’m REALLY confused >_____<
I have a hard time with labels myself. I mean, I’m definitely somewhere in Queer Land, but “mostly ace” is the only thing that feels even close to accurate, and even that’s not exactly right 100% of the time. *shrugs* So while I agree that “I don’t like labels” is kind of a tired cliche, it’s also the only truth some of us can find.
This is absolutely how I used to feel about this too. And still is sometimes.
For me though, I also don’t really feel comfortable using the word bisexual to describe myself. I’ve been trying to figure out why and I think part of it is actually just etymological – it feels so formal and almost like a clinical or diagnostic category or something. I don’t think many people go around saying “I’m a heterosexual” or “I’m a homosexual” in casual conversation; there are short-hands for both of these, which feel much easier to use.
If forced, I’d probably say queer. Although that’s not understood by everyone, and has its own connotations. Generally, I avoid using any term, but I do recognise that’s mainly possible because I’m very privileged to live in pretty liberal and progressive societies/communities where people are familiar with/accepting of these concepts.
I’m going to chime in as someone else who tends to experience all labels as itchy sweaters a fair bit of the time, (but also sometimes likes bi.) I’ve been thinking that to those of us whose attractions aren’t limited by gender, the whole concept of labeling ourselves based on what gender(s) we are attracted to doesn’t necessarily resonate strongly on a personal level. (Obviously this isn’t everyone’s experience!) Also, labels can be made less comfortable by pressures to somehow “prove” that they are accurate. None of this is meant to in any way diminish or invalidate any one else’s choice to label themselves as much as they want to. (If you want to scream your label(s) from the rooftops then AWESOME!!) I’m just adding my perspective.
Regarding people distancing themselves from the queer community, I think that while internalized biphobia can certainly be a factor, I also think there can be other factors as well. Basically, not identifying with a group doesn’t necessarily come from any kind of negative feeling about the group.
Can I suggest to Cara she make friends with Stef and all the regulars over here at Autostraddle? Cause that would be super cool first of all, and second of all we’d all be just one big happy queer family!
Sooo are you going to completely ignore she was in a musice video that featured Black Face? (See Ugly Boy by Die Antwoord)
And it just appeared out of nowhere and for no good reason that I could see. Amid the montage of various unattractive white dudes it seemed like a statement about Black men’s physical appearance, but then there’s that whole “Hello, My Name is God” sweatshirt thing and him waving like he’s on a parade float. Weird and offensive all at once. And she wasn’t the only celebrity involved–Flea and Marilyn Manson and maybe someone else made appearances.
Cara needs to go to A-Camp to make some better friends