The rise of model personalities who are as thoughtful, eloquent, and impassioned as they are beautiful and photogenic has transformed the face of fashion over the past few years. We're referring, of course, to the new reign of supers — people like Adwoa Aboah, Leomie Anderson, and Edie Campbell, who are recognized for talking about feminism, diversity in fashion (or the lack thereof), and the mistreatment of models while also appearing on the covers of the world's biggest magazines and fronting global campaigns. Leading the charge of this new generation of models is 25-year-old Cara Delevingne, who has garnered a huge following (almost 41 million on Instagram, to be exact) thanks to her accessibility, sense of humor, and work ethic.
Despite having a demanding career that straddles both the fashion and film industries (as well as publishing her first novel this year), Delevingne still knows how to have a good time. On Saturday night, she hosted an over-the-top Burberry Christmas bash in London to celebrate the holidays. Before the party kicked off, Refinery29 joined Delevingne in her hotel room to discuss her work with Burberry (she currently stars in the label's new holiday campaign), the pressure of being in the public eye, and what she plans to achieve in 2018.
You're a big part of the Burberry family and have been working with the brand for years. What does Burberry mean to you and what do you love about the brand?
"To me, Burberry represents British fashion in such a wonderful way. I think the way they can bring together so many different styles through the ages and still manage to bring youthfulness to this very, very dapper and sophisticated, but very cool and fun brand. And Christopher [Bailey] is incredible at bringing actors and musicians together. He really gave me my first leg up into the fashion industry and also from there, he's always supported whatever I've done, and everyone at Burberry is a friend of mine, I have their numbers, and it's a wonderful brand to be a part of."
You've just hosted a Christmas party for Burberry, and your job as an actress and model obviously requires you to go to endless events. What sets an unforgettable party apart from a mediocre party?
"I think music is always very important, the people who are there, like friends, although you can go to a party and not know anybody but still have a great time. Also, just being in a very good mood. But definitely music, especially around Christmas. I like going to parties where you can just sing really cheesy songs and all join together arm-in-arm, wishing the year well."
When you're getting ready, what songs get you in the mood?
"At the moment, I feel like I should be listening to more Christmas songs, but I've been listening a lot to Pharrell and Rihanna "Lemon" getting ready, I listen to that over and over again."
I have a particular dress, which I have really fond memories of good times I've worn it and every time I put it on, I feel like a superwoman. Is there any outfit that instantly makes you feel empowered and super confident in?
"I think when something is really well fitted to your body and you feel comfortable in it. Also, I think pockets are really important because I don't like wearing a handbag. I like to be able to have my stuff on me; if it's a jacket, I can just carry my wallet and phone. So something that's fitted, something you can stand tall in, whether [you're wearing] heels or flats, something that's comfortable, and something you can feel sexy in, but not too exposed."
Do you think your style has evolved since you first started modeling?
"It's definitely changed, but it's also stayed quite the same. Comfort is very important to me, not only because I travel and work so much, but also because my skin is so sensitive. I just like to be comfortable and cozy, but also I'm a full believer in androgyny: wearing gorgeous dresses but also rocking a suit or wearing tracksuits."
Obviously this year has been very busy for you, you released your first book as well as a couple of films. What is in store for 2018?
"I'm filming at the moment, I'm doing a TV show called Carnival Row, I'm shooting in Prague, but that won't come out until 2019, but I'm filming that until next year. Life In A Year will come out, the film I did with Jaden Smith, I play a teenage cancer patient, he's amazing, I think it's a really brilliant film, it's deeply, deeply sad but also so uplifting. It's just a very, very important film to show and to understand how hard it is for people who not only have cancer of course, but the people around them and how it affects them."
Is there anything else you'd like to tick off in the coming year?
"Just to continue writing and to continue with my music and acting and still trying to develop stories for women, about women, made by women, and to get women's voices heard as much as possible. And I'm setting up a charity foundation that I can link all my brands to, which can give back. And hopefully I can go back to Uganda as well at some point. What else? I want to direct someday, too. There's so many things!"
When I was speaking to Adwoa Aboah recently, we were discussing the pressures of being a public figure and being a spokesperson for various issues, from feminism to depression. Do you feel that pressure as someone who speaks openly too?
"[Adwoa] is one of the most inspirational women in the world to me. I think the fact that she speaks so freely about everything is so wonderful, and yeah, I feel the same. I do think it's an important thing to talk about, very honestly, the ups and downs of growing up and being in the world that we live in; not just our own problems but other people's problems. It's very important to give other people a voice and a platform and not only that, but just talk about the issues in the world that aren't being talked about. Especially for women at the moment, women are going through so much. There's wonderful change happening, even though it's painful and raw talking about those things. And even though it makes you feel uncomfortable, it's important to talk about those things, because the amount of strength it's given so many people is incredible."