I watch her write. Except for being a little grimy, she looks like she has always looked. I don’t know why, but I always thought she would look different. Older. That I would barely recognize her when I finally saw her again. But there she is, and I am watching her through the Plexiglass, and she looks like Margo Roth Spiegelman, this girl I have known since I was two– this girl who was an idea that I loved. And it is only now, when she closes her notebook and places it inside a backpack next to her and then stands up and walks toward us, that I realize that the idea is not only wrong but dangerous. What a treacherous thing it is to believe a person is more than a person.
– John Green, Paper Towns
Cara Delevingne, star on the rise, wants the world to know that she is more than just a pretty face. Perhaps that is why she dropped her modeling career for acting. This being said, Delevigne has never been ashamed of her goofy or tomboyish personality, and she has always been candid with interviewers. Perhaps her glowing personality paired with her good looks make her someone that could be seen as enigmatic, or “different from other girls.” Because she’s not afraid to be improper, unlady-like, or unglamorous. Also, her dark eyebrows and high cheek-bones give the sense that she is truly as sexy and mysterious as Margo Roth Spiegelman, the restless teenage runaway.
John Green said in an Instagram post how delighted he was to have Delevigne casted as Margo. In a caption of the goofy photo of the two, he wrote, “Rocking out with [Cara Delevigne], a wonderful actress who is so smart, so genuinely interesting, and so Margo.” Delevingne, on the other hand, does not think of herself at all like her character. She told DMA in an interview:
Bullshit! People have definitely put that on me and being like, you’re the supermodel, and I’m not that person at all. I’m a tomboy goofball.
In the film Paper Towns, a film portrayal of John Green’s young-adult novel, the protagonist Quentin (Nat Wolff), falls in love with Margo, his across the street neighbor with whom he has had a fleeting childhood friendship. The two characters keep their distance from one another until one night, when Margo climbs through Quentin’s window, and enlists him to help her take revenge on her cheating boyfriend and disloyal friends with some late night hijinks.
Margo herself, however, has a mysterious, free-spirit vibe about her. She does not find that her dreams match up with conventional dreams of suburbia (go to college, get a job, get married, have kids). Her carefree and fearless attitude along with her encapsulating beauty lure males, such as Quentin, to be her devoted suitors.
What the novel and the movie stress about Quentin’s relationship with Margo is that the Margo with which he is in love is a constructed and fantastic version of her. He equates her to a prophet, a goddess, when really, she is just a teenage girl. This is often the pattern of indie movies featuring manic pixie dream girls, such as (500) Days of Summer and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Though these films feature this female archetype, they also fight against it. To love someone as a constructed image is not only unstable, but it is also selfish.
As Delevingne’s thoughts on being likened to Margo show, our image of Delevingne as this carefree, mysterious, and fearless spirit is also wrong. Much like her character, the world has this idea of Cara Delevingne, the posh supermodel. Just like Margo isn’t Quentin’s Margo, maybe Cara isn’t the world’s Cara. Furthermore, it is fitting that this is her first major acting role since reportedly dropping modeling. Delevingne is working to shatter our image of her as we know her, or at least, as we think we know her.