Whereas Kate has retained an essential unknowability, Cara seems always to be declaring, “This is the real me!”The designer Erdem Moralioglu calls this her “characterful-ness,” a sort of elfin energy that animates her beauty.As _Paper Towns’_s director, Jake Schreier, tells me later, “What picture can the paparazzi get that Cara hasn’t already gotten?That’s what I call taking control of your image.” set in the coming weeks—New York for a Chanel fashion show, Los Angeles for a big Burberry bash—but to hear Cara talk about the bubble, you’d think she’d already left it behind.Her mother, Pandora, a London society beauty in her day, is the daughter of the late Sir Jocelyn Stevens, a publishing magnate, and Jane Sheffield, lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret and a charter member of the princess’s Mustique set in the 1960s.“I grew up in the upper class, for sure,” says Cara, whose older sister Poppy, 29, is also a model, while Chloe, 30, a scientist by training, has moved to the country to raise her children.“My family was kind of about that whole parties–and–horse racing thing. I never enjoyed it.” But it was Pandora’s relapsing heroin addiction that may have been the defining fact of Cara’s childhood.“I love figuring out a stranger, sitting down and learning about their loves and struggles and everything,” she says. But I’m playing a homicidal witch, so I need to look ripped.” I ask her if her body has become her temple, and she laughs. If teenage audiences respond to it as they did the film version of Green’s_The Fault in Our Stars,_ Cara will, she tells me in her characteristic marriage of plummy and potty-mouthed, “freak the fuck out.”The food sent down from David Chang’s restaurant upstairs is so spicy that for intervals we can do little more than smile at each other and pant happily.“People are my jam.” due next summer, and Rihanna and her other famous besties are nowhere to be found. Cara is wearing the skinniest suit imaginable, from the Kooples, and a pair of Chanel trainers.
(Her parents had started her on drum lessons at age ten to help dissipate some of her inexhaustible energy.) But at fifteen, she fell into an emotional morass.
“That I have to exercise restraint after I’ve succeeded in a business where for years I had no restraint, where the whole point was excess?
She tugs a cube of meat off a skewer with her teeth, offering the wink-and-grin-and-head-tilt that her thirteen million Instagram followers (that’s almost twice as many as Lady Gaga has) would recognize instantly—a selfie counterpoint to the iterative steely glamour of her fashion billboards.
She recalls spending an inordinate amount of time in the offices of mental health professionals whom, she admits, she tended to “screw with,” saying the same things again and again, trying to get them so frustrated they’d fire her as a patient.
At nine, she was told she had the reading ability of a sixteen-year-old.