Cara Delevingne explains why she really shaved her head

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Kayleigh Dray
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Cara Delevingne is no stranger to experimenting with her hair, but the model and actor made headlines when she shaved her head earlier this year.

Some wondered if it was a feminist statement, given her Instagram post shortly afterwards rebuffing criticism of her new look by asking, “How are we defining beauty?”

It has since been revealed that Delevingne lopped off her long locks in preparation for her role as a cancer patient in the upcoming romantic drama Life In A Year, in which she stars alongside Jade Smith. However, in a new interview with the US edition of Elle, the 24-year-old explained that nobody actually asked her to do so for the part – in fact, the buzzcut was entirely her own idea.

“Before I even got the project, I said to the director, ‘I want to shave my head for it,’” she said, adding that those representing her were aghast when she informed them of her plans.

“My agents and managers were like, ‘Please don't! Why would you do that?’”

Delevingne, however, was unperturbed by the reaction to her idea: for her, shaving her head was crucial, particularly as hair loss is such an emotional part of most people’s chemotherapy journeys.

“When it's a part like that, especially when it's about cancer, I needed to feel what it would be like to have no hair.”

She says the experience, which Delevingne dubbed “one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done”, has taught her a great deal about the concept of beauty, self-love, and inner confidence.

“It's so important to feel beautiful,” she said. “No matter if you have hair. It doesn't matter at all.”

When photos first appeared of Delevingne’s shaved head, she found herself the subject of criticism from online trolls and decided to take a stand on Instagram. 

“It’s exhausting to be told what beauty should look like,” she wrote. “I am tired of society defining beauty for us.

“Strip away the clothes, wipe off the make-up, cut off the hair, [and] remove all the material possessions. Who are we? How are we defining beauty? What do we see as beautiful?”

Speaking in Cannes, Delevingne told the magazine that she doesn’t know how long she intends to keep her shaved head, but added that she is a big fan of her new look.

“I really like it,” she said.

And Delevingne made sure to impart some words of wisdom for anyone else considering making a dramatic change to their look or life: take the plunge.

“I think that's my way of living,” she said. “The things I fear most, those are the things that I go for. The challenges that come up ahead of me, whether it's the pressure I put on myself or that I have around me – it's all about being ferocious and fierce and going for what you want, and not listening to what other people think.

“Let your beast out, let your animal out. We're all animals.”

Images: Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.