The 23-year-old beauty struggled to break into the industry because of her relatively short 5’8″ stature, and after finally establishing her career, realised she was in constant need of validation and “lost sight” of herself prompting her to reassess her life choices.
She said: “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.
“Over time, I came to realise 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.
“I was nearly 20 and had been modelling for several years. My vantage point had changed…and I had changed. I knew I had to reevaluate my life and my goals for my future. 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.”
And now, after forging a successful acting career and taking the time to appreciate the world outside of her work, Cara – who is dating singer St. Vincent – is more comfortable with herself.
She wrote in an essay for Time Motto: “It’s taken time, but now I realise 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…
“I still have so much to learn, but I have realised 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.”