Cara Delevingne was one of the world's most successful models, fronting campaigns for YSL, Chanel and Burberry. So it came as a shock to the fashion world when she announced that she had quit modelling.
It was widely assumed that the 23-year-old was leaving to focus on her acting career, but she has now opened up about the real reasons for her departure in an emotional open letter that was published on Motto.
Cara enjoyed huge success as a model
"I was nearly 20 and had been modelling for several years," she wrote. "My vantage point had changed... and I had changed. I knew I had to reevaluate my life and my goals for my future."
She revealed that she 'lost sight' of herself after trying to fit in with the fashion world.
"I worked hard to be accepted by the fashion community in ways beyond my physical appearance. In no time, though, I found myself surrendering to the industry’s approval process. I felt like I needed validation from everyone. As a result, I lost sight of myself and what it meant to be happy, what it meant to be successful. I think it all stemmed from a deep-down feeling of wanting people to like me and love me."
Walking for Burberry in 2015
Eager to take a step back and start focusing on herself, Cara decided she needed a change. "Over time, I came to realize that work and getting others’ approval isn’t the most important thing. Yes, your career is very important — but it’s not the most important. Of course I was proud of my accomplishments, but I wasn’t genuinely happy."
She added: "I didn’t want to resent fashion or my success. The process didn’t happen overnight, but it was imperative for me to preserve my integrity. It’s taken time, but now I realize that work isn’t everything and success comes in many forms. I’ve opened my mind, and now I embrace new things with a childlike curiosity. I’m spending more time doing the stuff I love. And I’ve been able to do better work because of it."
Posing with BFF Kendall Jenner at the Topshop show in 2014
She condluded: "I still have so much to learn, but I have realized that beating myself up, feeling guilty and regretting past mistakes will only hold me back.
"After all, no matter how many people like you and your work, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like yourself."