Cara Delevingne Lead
Credit: Rindoff/Le Segretain/Getty Images

Cara Delevingne has had a successful career as a model and actress, but that doesn’t mean she conforms to the industry’s pressure. At 5-foot-8, she’s shorter than most runway models and speaks openly about her bisexuality, but it took her a while to be comfortable in her own skin.

In a moving essay for Motto, a site from the editors of Time, the actress talked about the eye-opening moment when she decided to put her happiness ahead of her career. “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,” she wrote.

“Over time, I came to realize that work and getting others’ approval isn’t the most important thing,” she said. “Of course I was proud of my accomplishments, but I wasn’t genuinely happy.”

The star was open about her decision to quit modeling and pursue an acting career, starring in the film adaptation of John Green’s novel, Paper Towns. “It’s taken time, but now I realize that work isn’t everything and success comes in many forms,” she wrote. “When you have balance in your life, work becomes an entirely different experience. There is a passion that moves you to a whole new level of fulfillment and gratitude and that’s when you can do your best.”

So could this former model be returning to the catwalk? According to her Twitter account, there could be a future in sight. The actress responded to a fan who asked if she missed modeling, saying, “Actually I do, but most of all I miss my friends! But don’t worry, it’s not the end.”

It looks like with Delevingne’s new mindset, anything is possible.