‘I don’t act to escape fashion… acting is an escape from myself’

Model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne is killing it in her latest role opposite BFF Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building. She talks representation and life after the runway with Deirdre Reynolds
Cara Delevingne at this year’s Met Gala

Cara Delevingne at this year’s Met Gala© ??&???/???  `??_/O?

Cara and best pal Selena Gomez on the red carpet

Cara and best pal Selena Gomez on the red carpet© ??  `??_/O??

Cara in Carnival Row with Orlando Bloom

Cara in Carnival Row with Orlando Bloom

Cara with big sister Poppy Delevingne

Cara with big sister Poppy Delevingne

Sunday World

Cara Delevingne’s acting career is on the up — but ironically there wasn’t too much acting involved in her latest big role.

The British supermodel has just joined the all-star cast of Only Murders in the Building on Disney+. And she jokes that sizzling opposite real-life best friend Selena Gomez as Alice in season two of the whodunnit wasn’t too much of a reach.

“She’s English, queer and a wannabe artist. When they told me about her, I was like, ‘That sounds like me!’” laughs Cara.

“I never usually play an English role and I also never play a queer part so I was kind of like, ‘So what work do I have to do?’ So I decided to change my hair and be more involved in the clothes to feel like I had to work harder to do something.

“But I loved playing Alice. I love her relationship with Selena’s character and how their relationship is understated and not at all the focus of the story this season.”

The word-of-mouth sensation first saw Disney Channel alumna Gomez join forces with comedy icons Steve Martin and Martin Short last summer, as a trio of true-crime obsessives who get caught up in a real murder mystery in the Manhattan apartment building where they’re neighbours.

Stateside, where it airs on Hulu, celebrity fan Cara is just one of the viewers to help turn it into the most watched comedy ever on the streaming service, beating even the likes of Seinfeld and The Golden Girls.

Being pals with ‘Bloody Mabel’ Mora off camera, meanwhile, didn’t exactly hurt when it came to securing the coveted part of her artist love-interest, the 29-year-old admits. “I think my name came up and she gave me a little push.

“I had watched the first season and loved it so when I was asked if I would be a part of Season 2 I was just so excited. It was an amazing opportunity, not least because I got to work with one of my best friends.

“Actually, one of my very first jobs happened thanks to Selena — modelling for her clothing line — so I will always be grateful to her. I was only 17 or 18 years old. That’s when we first met and we have been friends ever since.

“We have known each other a long time now. It was amazing to get to act opposite someone who I love so much as a friend, and who I admire as a professional. Selena has always inspired me. She’s just amazingly talented and works so hard. I loved working with her.”

Rocking her own London accent and edgy undercut, the model-turned-actress pops up in the show as gallery owner Alice, who slides into Mabel’s DMs, just as the podcaster is vying to clear her name following building manager, Bunny’s murder.

Fans are already shipping the couple who locked lips in the second episode of the new series, and Cara — who came out as pansexual in 2020 — reckons it was “definitely” easier to lean in to the role opposite someone she already trusts.

“For this, it really helped because that chemistry was there right from the start,” she explains. “It was also just so much fun to be able to hang out, catch up with all the gossip between takes and listen to music.”

Younger sister to It-girl Poppy Delevingne, there’s no fear of Cara feeling lonely on rare days off anyway, with her jam-packed girl squad famously also featuring Taylor Swift, Kendall Jenner, Zoe Kravitz and Rihanna.

She describes establishing a solid support network as “the most important thing in the world,” while having to navigate the notoriously fickle worlds of fashion and showbusiness. “Having people you trust and people that you can confide in is the best thing. Friends are amazing.”

Despite a WhatsApp contact list bursting with A-listers, the face of Chanel — who was recently snapped kissing British singer Minke on holiday in Italy — says she looks for only one quality in a wingwoman: “a big heart”. “It’s all about trust, love, respect and loyalty. I’m not elitist. I’m a nice girl, just come and chat to me.”

Although their relationship is strictly platonic, ally Selena — who’s believed to have lobbied to have theOMITB 2 launch date brought forward so it would air during Pride month — previously joked how she “loved” romance rumours between the pair as it deflects from her actual love life.

In December, while filming the show, the two even cemented their friendship by getting matching pink rose tattoos, which they showed off on Instagram.

Working with Hollywood stalwarts Martin (who plays former TV actor Charles-Haden Savage) and Short (who plays disgraced Broadway director Oliver Putnam), left an equally indelible — but less painful — impression, recalls Cara. “I mean, they are both legends. So just to be there with them on set was a huge honour for me. They are just so funny, so talented and so supportive of everyone around them.”

“I learned so much from working with them and we all got along so well. It was hilarious just to be around them.”

Mesmeric Cara was just 10 years old when she made her modelling debut for Vogue Italia in a hat by Irish milliner, Philip Treacy, before being snapped up by the agency that discovered Kate Moss and making her runway debut for Burberry eight years later.

But the fashion icon — who was once even linked to the declining sales of tweezers — has made no secret of her love for acting since landing a small part in 2012’s Anna Karenina,alongside Keira Knightley.

“I love fashion and I love all of the experiences that I have had but it wasn’t a passion of mine,” she says of finding fame as a muse to designers like Karl Lagerfeld. “It was just something to do after I left school.

“It’s hugely different but I do find modelling is a little like acting in a way. When I’m modelling, I’m still pretending — I’m acting as a model. But for acting, you have to forget about the camera and be a role.

“Acting is something that I wanted to do from when I was very, very young. It’s a big dream of mine to be doing this.”

She’s next seen in the long-awaited second season of TV fantasy Carnival Row, opposite Orlando Bloom.

Ahead of her 30th birthday next month, however, Cara insists she’s not forsaking the world of fashion either. “It was never an escape,” continues the Suicide Squad star. “I don’t need an escape from fashion. Acting for me is an escape from myself, which is the best thing in the world.”

As for Only Murders’ Alice, should viewers be suspicious of the character’s motives in a show where pretty much everyone is a suspect?

“I had no idea until the very end when we were finally given the script,” teases Cara. “That’s the fun of the show.”


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