Cara Delevingne wishes she had LGBTQ role models growing up: 'I do think I would have hated myself less'

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Cara Delevingne has long been praised for being one of the most visible queer women in Hollywood, after coming out as bisexual early in her career, publicly dating women including Annie Clark of St. Vincent and Ashley Benson and later identifying as pansexual in a 2020 interview with Variety. But as she continues to make statements about her sexuality through brand collaborations for Pride and even her red carpet fashion, Delevingne reflects on the silver lining of having previously been closeted.

"The one thing I'm happy about growing up queer and fighting it and hiding it is it gives me so much fire and drive to try to make people's lives easier in some way by talking about it," she told Harper's Bazaar UK.

Cara Delevingne reflects on being an LGBTQ role model and advocate. (Photo: Getty Images)
Cara Delevingne reflects on being an LGBTQ role model and advocate. (Photo: Getty Images) (Edward Berthelot via Getty Images)

The model and actress got candid about the struggles that she faced before coming to terms with her sexuality during a chat with Gwyneth Paltrow for the Goop podcast in March 2021, where Delevingne revealed that she had been "suicidal" at one point.

"I grew up in an old-fashioned household. I didn't know anyone who was gay," she said at the time. "The idea of being [with] same-sex [partners], I was disgusted by that, in myself. I was like, 'Oh, my God, I would never. That's disgusting, ugh.'"

Now, she expressed to Harper's Bazaar how she's motivated to openly advocate for the LGBTQ community in the hopes that she can save someone else from being in that dark place.

"I do think I would have hated myself less, I would have not been so ashamed, if I'd had someone," she said, referring to the lack of queer role models she had.

Still, she explained that her experience with mental health issues didn't all stem from her struggle to identify her sexuality.

"Everyone has something they go through with their family. My life I feel was very stressful, because there was quite a lot of chaos, not being sure if people were OK or not," she said, referring to her mother who battled drug addiction and mental illness. And although Delevingne found solace in school for some time, she eventually was faced with the need to do something different.

"I dropped out, and I really just wanted to be able to prove that I wasn't the deadbeat I thought I was," she said. "When you have mental health struggles, you can't see anything, it blinds you."

Even as her modeling career began to take off, she struggled with depression and anxiety.

"I was working every single day, something like 98 days consecutively. It was all happening so fast and it was amazing, but it was a lot," she said.

Delevingne is among a host of women in her industry who has struggled with mental health and gotten caught up in unsustainable work schedules, including Bella Hadid. When it comes to building a support system for dealing with the fast-paced lifestyle and fame, Delevingne mentioned Rihanna and Taylor Swift as two of her go-to's.

"It's been so useful to have friends in the industry because I've had so many people help guide me through things I wouldn't have known how to manage," she said.

Until now, Delevingne said that the coronavirus lockdown "was the longest time I've ever spent anywhere on the ground" while she stayed at her house in Los Angeles. "It's crazy to say, but it put a lot into perspective of why we are all pushing ourselves to work all the time," she continued. "It was a really interesting experience."

But there's also comfort in taking on projects and pursuing both modeling and acting.

"I have a lot of ideas, and there's a constant list in my brain of things I need to finish," she said. "It makes me a little bit stressed, but it also keeps me going. Because if you ever finish that list, then what?"

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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