In defence of Cara Delevingne, beauty icon of the century

Nov 16, 2016 at 7:25 a.m. ET
Image: Adriana M. Barraza/

Actress and model Cara Delevingne has been voted the most iconic beauty of the last century by 1,000 Brits aged between 18 and 65.

More: The 50 best fashion blogs you haven't discovered

The 24-year-old catwalk star beat old-school beauties Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, as well as reality TV sisters Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, to take the top spot.

Everyone who took part in the poll (by makeup brand NKDb) was asked to name their top three beauty icons and state what they considered to be their "most striking" features.

Perhaps not surprisingly, people consider Delevingne's most striking feature to be her eyebrows. But it's those bushy brows that have some questioning her right to the accolade. "I don't see how Cara can beat Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn — it's totally crazy, they were both complete and utter style icons, whereas Cara just has eyebrows like Liam Gallagher," said Paula Warrender of Luton, Beds.

Marilyn Monroe
Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Well, we'd like to point out that Hepburn (who ranked No. 4 in the top 10, after Delevingne, Monroe and Kardashian) had pretty standout brows herself.

Audrey Hepburn
Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

More: Even celebs want in on the #MannequinChallenge — like Beyoncé and Britney Spears

But this is about more than eyebrows. Delevingne deserves to be top of this list (without forgetting that this is simply a numbers game, because we all — luckily — have different ideas of what is beautiful) just as much as Monroe or Hepburn or Taylor. She's a modern celebrity whose beauty is deeper than what's on the surface, relatable in a way that those old-school Hollywood icons never were.

Delevingne has spoken openly about her mental health struggles. She's revealed how living with psoriasis has affected her body image. She's honest and upfront and flawed, and what could be more beautiful than that? And of course she looks incredible on the catwalk, but makeup-free and pulling goofball faces, she could be the girl next door. A little like 1960s model Twiggy, who comes in at No. 5.

Image: McKeown/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Completing the top 10 are Elizabeth Taylor, Kylie Jenner, Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani and Adele. The list is reassuring insofar as it features a huge range of female body types, but we definitely need to see some women of colour in there for it to reflect real beauty diversity.

More: 50 Kate Middleton outfits that rocked our world