Cara Delevingne is taking her love of lions to nail-biting new levels with her latest campaign for Tag Heuer. After giving her Instagram followers a sneak peek of the daunting shoot back in 2017, the actress and supermodel, 25, unveiled the finished product at an event in the Tag Heuer boutique in New York City, Thursday night.
Dressed in an edgy black motorcycle vest, mesh top, and lace up boots, she posed in front of a photo of herself with a snarling lion at her back, embodying the watch brand’s campaign tagline #DontCrackUnderPressure.
Yet, despite her tough expression in the image, Delevingne acknowledged that working with the lion was somewhat terrifying. “Anything can happen at any point. My back was towards that lion, that lion was coming towards me like a piece of food was on my head,” she told PEOPLE of the shoot which took place at the Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve in South Africa. “They don’t need you. They can hate you if they want, and then a second later eat you if they want to.”
But Delevingne, who’s a passionate animal rights advocate, was up for the challenge. “There’s no way you can be dominant over a lion, so as long as you have that respect and appreciation, that’s the most important thing,” she said.
In fact, it was her idea to pose with a lion. “Tag Heuer was very open and wonderful for asking what I like and what I enjoy in life.” Her love of lions has been the central theme of her partnership with the brand, even posing with a lion cub in 2015 when she was announced as the new ambassador for the luxury watchmaker. She didn’t only carry the cub, but also also bravely put her finger in it’s mouth! And for her latest shoot, she worked with her makeup artist, Molly Stern, to create her feline-inspired look. “We kind of did the thing where we were like how can we make me most look like a lion?” she said. “It was very simple clothes, because we wanted it to be all about the lion and me, and not really about anything else.”
Delevingne loved how the shoot came out, even saying it was “one of her favorite photos” that she’s ever taken. “I did in no way think it was possible. We did that first shoot with just the lion, which was always the dream, to bring that to life.”
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Although Delevingne loves to get out of her comfort zone in situations like this, her personal style is more relaxed. “I love to be comfortable, but I also love to dress up and you know it’s not always about being in comfortable clothes, but being comfortable in what you wear,” she explained. “If you don’t feel good or you don’t feel like your best self, and you don’t want to go out, then don’t.”
And speaking of going out, the model recently attended the Met Gala in a head-turning look, which featured a dramatic headpiece that was anything but comfortable. “I couldn’t eat and it was difficult to take pictures,” she said.
Whether she’s rocking an eye-catching headpiece on the red carpet or posing with the fiercest animal in the jungle, Delevingne proves that she’s able to do whatever it takes to achieve the fiercest look.