POPPY DELEVINGNE: Model Behavior
Brit It Girl Poppy Delevingne returns to New York to launch the next phase of her life. Check out her favorite hotspots around the world and see exclusive behind-the-scenes video. Photographs by Billy Kidd. Styled by Dianna Lunt.
Few things make a New Yorker stop on the street. But on a brisk fall day in Greenwich Village, British model and actress Poppy Delevingne has the power to stop traffic.
Tall, fine-featured and with expertly mussed blonde hair, she’s all business during a photo shoot. She leans against a vintage London-style taxi in front of Anglophile tearoom and general store Tea and Sympathy. As music plays and trucks speed by, she dances in the street with a dapper gentleman as the camera clicks furiously. Deliverymen on bikes pause to gawk. A troupe of school children linger, pointing and clapping. Drivers honk.
“How painfully trendy of you!" her dance partner says teasingly as she takes a spin. Her face bursts into a laugh.
And suddenly, the real Delevingne breaks through: the goofy, totally approachable girl who just happens to be drop-dead gorgeous. After a stint back in London, the recently engaged model has returned to the States to pursue an acting career.
We sat down with her at Tea and Sympathy, where she shared her stash of favorite UK candies. During our chat and chew, she dabbed perfume on our wrists, revealed how she and her sister Cara Delevinge (of Victoria’s Secret fashion show fame) trade modeling tips, and talked about her favorite places to shop around the world and the embarrassing nickname she calls her fiancé. —Maridel Reyes(@maridelreyes)
LM: What was your reaction when you were scouted to be a model?
PD: I thought it was hilarious…are you completely bonkers? Thank you, but no thank you.
LM: How old were you at the time?
PD: I was fourteen probably. Modeling definitely wasn’t on my agenda at all. You know, I really wanted to be a writer. And I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to do all sorts of things. So I made sure I finished school. I did my exams. And then I wanted to travel the world and needed some cash, and instead of being a waitress, I thought why not give modeling a go? And that was it.
LM: Do you and your sister talk shop about modeling?
PD: We are supportive of each other’s careers. We have very different careers, we look very different, we’re different ages…different stages…and it’s brilliant because we can be really supportive and loving with each other about it, and there’s no sense of competition. It’s just pure pride. Actually, I’m extremely proud of her and what she has achieved at such a young age in a short time. It’s quite remarkable and I love watching her get better and better every time.
LM: Did you give her any specific modeling advice?
PD: I probably did, but she probably misinterpreted it. I think I always told her to never be late, but she’s always late…so there you go. Cara’s not someone who needs advice. She sort of knows that game pretty well. She’s a businesswoman. She’s very smart. She’s brilliant with people. And I think that’s what’s so special about her and why that’s part of her success.
LM: Do you get nervous for her when she’s on the runway?
PD: I do. Bad. It’s my maternal instinct coming out. I kind of get a bit hot and sweaty and shaky, like I’m nervous and sick. She always nails it, so it’s fine, but of course there are moments where I get nervous for her. It’s a big deal. You know, it’s a big show and [she’s got on] 18-inch heels. And I just think, “How are those little legs going?” They just go and they go and they go. I don’t know—she just turns it on. It’s so incredible.
LM: Why did you move back to the States? Is it to pursue your acting career?
PD: I can’t wait to go to L.A. in January because that will be fun for the acting. It’ll be really good because I can switch off the modeling and really concentrate and really throw myself into it.
LM: What kind of roles would you like to explore?
PD: I would always love to do a period piece. But the last time I was in L.A., everyone was like, No, no, no, no, no, you need to do comedy. And I was like, No, no, no, no, no, no, you don’t understand. That really scares the shit out of me. I’m funny and I’m goofy. But you can’t act that. That’s just myself. I would love to do something that is completely out of my depth. I would really like to do some indie films. Something magical, kind of cool, shot well.
LM: You recently got engaged. We hear you don’t like using the word fiancé…
PD: No, I’ve got this weird thing about fiancé…I think it sounds a bit cheesy, so I call him my biancé [pronounced “Beyoncé”] because it’s a mixture between boyfriend and fiancé. But he gets really pissed off about it because he thinks it sounds a bit silly…not very manly. I don’t care. I call him that anyway.
LM: Why did you decide to move to Brooklyn and not Manhattan?
PD: There’s something slightly more quaint about it and I love the kind of village community feel. I arrived last night, and already I had my eyes on so many incredible looking vintage shops. I can’t wait to go back there and raid them as soon as I get a second off. I’m going to have a brand spanking new vintage wardrobe by the time I leave here.
LM: What are some of your other favorite New York hangouts?
PD: Obviously, I love Tea and Sympathy, being a Brit girl. I love to come here when I’m feeling a little bit homesick and you know, eat baked beans and toast and bangers and mash. I love Balthazar in SoHo, I go crazy for that shepherd’s pie. I love going to the Dream Hotel for cocktails. I love the Boom Boom Room for late nights. I love Café Gitane, they do the best baked pasta and best avocado toast in the world. Oh and I love Miss Lily’s. That’s pretty amazing.
LM: What about shopping?
PD: I’m definitely a Barneys girl at heart. If I could have my own way, I would move into Barneys and live there for the rest of my life.
MR: Where are your favorite places to shop around the world?
PD: Morocco, where I got engaged, is somewhere I really love. Now it means the world to me. The shopping there was incredible—and the tapestry boots that I got. The furniture, I bought a chandelier and these beautiful glass lanterns and this stunning mirror made with mother of pearl. And massive chest of drawers. Oh my God, I went ballistic in that place. It’s just crazy. Because you’re literally like, Cha-ching. India, I really love. The south of France has really beautiful markets, there are beautiful French antique lace markets, and vintage clothes, linens, and really beautiful things like that.