“Carla Delevingne… joins us live from New York City to talk about Paper Towns.”
Anyone would be annoyed if they had to be up early in the morning to be interviewed by a reporter who can’t even get their name right. It’s a sign of carelessness, and a sign that said reporter is not exactly concerned with you or what you have to say.
But Cara Delevingne brushed it off. She looked annoyed, perhaps behaved a bit cooly towards the reporters. But she was polite and civil nonetheless.
And then they gave her a real reason to be annoyed.
“Did you get a chance to read [the book] or do you even have time to sit and read these days, you’re so busy?” was the female reporter’s lead-in question.
In fairness to the reporter, I don’t think she was trying to be patronizing. But regardless of her intentions, the question was condescending. It implied too many things: You’re a model, you don’t have time for silly things like reading. Did you take on this project on a whim? Because surely you didn’t go so far as to actually open the book? It’s understandable that you would pass over anything that takes work, because you’re probably too busy to put any thought into the things that you do.
But Cara didn’t play along, or provide the talk show with the light, predictable conversation piece that they were looking for. Instead, she gave them this to work with:
She wasn’t willing to legitimately answer a lazy, unfair, sexist question. As Paper Towns author John Green put it in a Medium article, “The question is annoying – not least because her male costar, Nat Wolff, was almost always asked when he’d read the book, while Cara was almost always asked if she’d read it.”
With one simple word choice – choosing if over when – too many reporters are implying that male performers put a lot of thought and research into their work, whereas female performers simply take whatever is handed to them, whatever they are lucky enough to be given.
And then the interview only gets worse.
The male co-anchor brings up Cara’s various projects, which, at least for a split-second, lead me to thinking that an interesting question could possibly come out of it. Perhaps “What’s your advice for young women out there who want to establish a successful career at a young age?” or “What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far about balancing multiple projects at once?”
Instead, he said, “Do you find that it’s easier for you to focus because you’re so busy? If you had downtime, maybe it wouldn’t be so easy for you?”
In other words, “Is it hard for you to concentrate on lots of things at the same time, little girl?”
Cara could have responded with a formulaic, satisfactory answer about how difficult it is to be busy but how grateful she feels for the opportunities. Instead, she made a face that clearly showed how ridiculous she thought the question was, and answered with, “No, I don’t know where that comes from.”
And then, the icing on the cake: another male reporter jumps in out of nowhere and talks about how Cara seemed so much more excited a couple weeks earlier. He tries to come to her rescue, asking “Are you just exhausted?”
He thinks he’s giving her an out, a reason to explain why she’s being so “difficult.” Because being exhausted is the only thing these people can come up with as to why Cara is not playing along with their mindless, unoriginal fluff piece. She plays the Manic Pixie Dream Girl in this movie, after all. Why isn’t she behaving the same way in real life? Why is she providing them with sarcasm and disagreement and judgment, when she should simply be smiling, oozing gratitude, and throwing out a cute joke here and there?
This is the reason why many female celebrities do feel the need to play along. To answer the dumb questions, to provide the acceptable, practiced answers. Because, as these reporters showed, when a female refuses to play along, she’s made out to be rude, unlikeable, and difficult to work with. Maybe Cara was exhausted. But it probably wasn’t from the physical, mental, and emotional demands of her career. It was from experiencing the same repetitive, pointless interview over and over again.
Thankfully, the interview ended shortly after that.
“She was in a MOOD,” one of the coanchors proclaimed. If ‘mood’ is a synonym for being fed up with lazy questions, patronizing conversations, ridiculous typecasting, and passive aggressiveness, then yes; Cara Delevingne was very much in a mood.
You can watch the full interview here: