A Staunch Defence Of Cara Delevingne Regarding That Disastrous Good Morning Sacramento Interview

Those US news anchors owe her a big apology

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Have you see the Cara Delevingne / Good Day Sacramento interview yet?

The social media supermodel and – as it turns out – rather talented actress was promoting her new film Paper Towns on American morning TV when the whole thing ‘went wrong’ in a way that will help fill ‘celebrity interviews that went wrong’ lists for the rest of our time as a species.

In the US, several outlets have tried to pin the blame for the incident on the 22-year-old. “Cara Delevingne Annoys News Anchors During Disastrously Awkward Interview” declared US Magazine. “Cara Delevingne Gives Painfully Awkward Interview... And Gets Called Out For It On Live TV” was the take of US Today.

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The problem with this reading is that it is utter nonsense, and quite frankly, an affront to the British people at large. Blaming Cara for what happened is to misinterpret a clash of manners that she won, and you only have to watch the clip closely to see why.

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The segment opens with anchor Marianne McClary introducing – careful, or you’ll miss it – “Carla Delevigne.” In other words, getting her guest’s name wrong, which is a bad enough faux pas at 2am in a pub, let alone first thing in the morning on live television.

Cara’s back is understandably already up, but oblivious, McClary cracks on.

"Did you get a chance to read [the book Paper Towns is based on], or do you even get time to sit and read [FAKEST LAUGH EVER HEARD IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD] these days you're so busy?"

‘Carla’ then deploys a classic British defensive move that has baffled Americans for centuries known as ‘sarcasm’. It’s what we do when we’re still bristling from an earlier slight that social protocol prevents us from addressing head on.

"No I never read the book, or the script actually, I kinda winged it" she replies, before attempting to offer a serious endorsement of the novel and author in question.

This is when things get really weird.

McClary’s co-anchor chips in with the following sequence of English words:

"I'm wondering, looking at how busy you are, looking at your IMDB and all the projects, you are doing one thing after the next after the next, do you find it's easier for you to focus because you're so busy, if you had down time maybe it wouldn't be so easy for you? What do you think?'

Reread that a couple of times. Are you any closer to understanding what it even means?

This is the question of a man who has no idea who he is talking to or what film he is talking about. This is the question of a man who is admitting he Googled his interviewee thirty seconds before he went on air. This is not even a question. It’s barely a thought. It's just an amiable ramble designed to provide background muzak for soccer Moms putting their kid’s packed lunch together, a volley of meaningless drivel that expects a volley of meaningless drivel in return just to fill some airtime.

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Cara considers it thoughtfully – remember, she is on live TV here – and tries her best to give an answer, but she’s just saying words, adrift at sea like a dog paddling in circles hoping to find something – a coherent question, perhap – to get a grip on.

At this point in the interview no one person has said a single thing that actually makes sense. McClary chips in with the first thing to resemble a real question – about whether she liked her character in the film – but Cara’s still so angry she has to reopen the sarcasm valve to let off a bit more steam, deadpanning with "No, I hated her".

This is when the anchor team of Good Day Sacramento lurch from being merely rubbish at their job to out-and-out rude, and it’s all thanks to a man called Mark S Allen.

Mark S Allen – who must not be a boring person because he has an ‘S’ in his name – pipes up out of nowhere, determined to be the anchor to sort this mess out.

"Hey I just want to jump in here!" he shouts, like a drunk in a pub interrupting two women enjoying a quiet chat over a glass of wine.

"I love the movie! I love the author! I know I am out of the demo[graphic] but I still really dig this movie. This is the teenager I always wanted to be because they're eloquent, they speak like middle aged screen writers rather than the awkward, dopey adolescent that I was, I love it – now with that said, I saw you in London talking a couple of weeks ago on TV and you seemed a lot more excited about it than you do right now. Are you just exhausted?"

Consider this staggering passage. First Allen talks about himself for ages – 8 personal pronouns, no less – then he makes a less-than-subtle dig at the movie (Cara’s eyeroll here is priceless), THEN he veers off from all of that completely to give the live television equivalent of ‘Go on love, give us a smile!’.

To Cara’s credit, she maintains some decorum and tries in vain to get back to talking about the film, but by now, McClary’s thinking: fuck it, in for a rude penny, in for a rude pound.

"You do seem a bit irritated," she says, because as any professional talker-to-people knows, nothing cures people of their bad mood like pointedly discussing the bad mood itself. "Perhaps it's just us?"

At this point Cara gamely replies "Yeah I think maybe it's just you. Thank you. You're so sweet to care.” You can see she’s ready to take this shit up a level or two and drop some sarcasm bombs proper. But no.

"We'll let you go then. Take a little nap. Maybe get a Red Bull," says McClary, as they cut her off completely.

"Wow! She was in a MOOD! Jeez louise!"

McClary is genuinely staggered. McClary can not understand how anything they have said has contributed to the bad vibes in the room. Then Mark S Allen – Suave? Sophisticated? Sententious? What does that S stand for? – delivers the killer blow.

"You make $5m dollars for six weeks' worth of work, you can pretend to talk to Good Day Sacramento with some oomph!"

Putting aside the question of how much the Good Morning Sacramento team make for sitting behind a desk talking bollocks every morning, and whether they should therefore pretend to take a genuine interest in their guests, Cara isn’t even around to defend herself at this point. That’s just rude.

In one sense, the clip illustrates why, for all the shared values and mutual fondness, Brits and Americans sometimes just don’t get each other. McClary and the boys can’t for the life of them see why their faux-friendliness and sloppy manners would upset anyone. Cara’s Britishness means she can’t address those annoyances directly and has to resort to being passive-aggressive. The basic protocols of chat around which crap TV like this is built have collapsed completely, swallowed into the incomprehensible depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

But to chalk all this up to crossed cultural wires is to let the Good Day Sacramento team off the hook. They took one our brightest young talents and treat her badly, as she was promoting her debut film no less. Cara was right to be annoyed – in fact, she showed restraint. Let the Official History of Celebrity Interviews That Went Wrong reflect that fact.