“Boop, boop. This is my friend.”
That is the sound of Cara Delevingne—yes, that Cara Delevingne, the model and actress whose brows have launched a thousand jobs in the eyebrow pencil industry—doing a finger puppet show for me via Zoom, only the “puppet” she’s moving across the screen is a sex toy from Lora DiCarlo—a sex tech company that, it was announced today, she now officially co-owns along with its eponymous founder.
The evening of our Zoom, Cara and Lora, the company’s founder and co-owner, had just wrapped a long day on set in LA. (Lora was in a “Big Pussy Energy” sweatshirt, if you needed more color re: the vibe.) Zoom calls are truly the worst for awkward people like me because so much of the beginning is obligatory mic tweaking and lighting and “Can you hear me?”s, but Cara and Lora were so hyped up that it actually made me wish the pre-interview tech support session would never end, just so I could keep soaking in their fun, goofy energy.
The last time I saw Lora was in the Before Times, when their team came by the Cosmo office for a get-to-know-you meeting. Lora DiCarlo products only hit shelves, er, the interwebs, this year, but the brand has been making waves in the sex-toy category for the while. Their first big moment came pre-launch, in January of 2019, when the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) gave their breakout toy, Osé, an award in robotics, only to rescind the win and ban the company on grounds of “obscenity.” Lora (who, by the way, is a Navy veteran) did not take the treatment lightly and spoke out against the hypocrisy and sexism of the show. Osé had been developed in part with Oregon Robotics Lab, the fourth ranked robotics lab in the country, so their tech was legit. Besides, the whole debacle dripped of hypocrisy. VR porn aimed for heterosexual men had been allowed at CES that year, as it had been in previous years. Eventually, CES gave Lora DiCarlo their award for the Osé back…and in 2020, they received awards at CES for two new toys, the Baci and Onda.
This month has actually been brimming with news of celebrities joining sex toy companies. Lily Allen joined Womanizer as Chief Liberation Officer and Dakota Johnson invested in Maude and is taking on a role as Co-Creative Director. This is a trend that we at Cosmo can very much get behind; after all, celebs endorsing sex toys helps further normalize the growing industry of sex toy tech.
But back to our Zoom convo and those “finger puppets.” (By the way, the toy that Cara couldn’t stop playing with is the navy blue Filare rotating clitoral stimulator, which I can confirm, is a very fun thing to fiddle with absentmindedly at one’s desk.) Read on for an exclusive conversation about Cara and Lora’s partnership, BIPOC representation in the sex-toy industry, that sex bench photo, and more.
Cosmo: So, how did this partnership come to be?
Lora DiCarlo: Her agent actually came to me and said, “Hey, I have somebody that’s really interested in possibly doing a partnership,” and we were like, “Yeah, alright. Sure. Uh-huh.” And then we realized it was serious.
Cara Delevingne: As serious as I’ve ever been. It’s taken quite a long time for me to get into this space. There was a big gap in the market for female-led brands and strong female role models in this kind of place, and I feel like Lora came out of my wildest dreams. This means more to me than any job I’ve ever done. It is integral, something that young girls need, something that young boys need, something that humans need, because this isn’t just about pleasure and sex toys and sex. This is about health.
Cosmo: Why is sexual confidence so important to you both?
LDC: We’re both activists, and really passionate believers that sexual health influences your identity and the importance of feeling comfortable in who you are in that. Cara is a really good representation of that.
CD: I’m not just doing this to do it, I want to help to solve problems. Even the most confident people, we all are forever on a journey to discover who we are. It was extremely hard and difficult time, even for me. Giving yourself the freedom to give yourself pleasure became quite a hard thing. Especially around times with so much uncertainty and fear, like right now, that compounds, and the world doesn’t allow the space for much sexual liberation or to own that space to feel good. It’s so important, to start a dialogue not only about the good sides of it, but also about the fears and about the insecurities. Because everyone has them.
Cosmo: Lora, you’ve published a lot about the Black Lives Matter movement and about amplifying BIPOC voices and gender nonconforming voices, as well as sexual fluidity in general. What are your plans to amplify underrepresented voices within Lora DiCarlo?
LDC: As a founder, I’m personally reaching out to Instagram influencers with a smaller reach, who wouldn’t otherwise meet the threshold for working together on affiliate revenue partnerships, and elevating those voices. We want to find these people and be like, “Hey, come in, because guess what, lots of people like you use products like this, so let’s get your voice heard and get you on a program where you can also get paid to do your work.” On a larger scale, we’re making sure all of our models, representation, and hiring processes involve thoughtful inclusion of all different communities.
CD: That’s one of the most important things right now: people need to see themselves in the representation of the company, especially when you’re talking about diversity and inclusivity. To really be sexy, especially right now, is to feel seen and confident.
Cosmo: Cara, there’s a very famous photo of you with a sex bench—
CD: It’s not technically a sex bench? It’s also a massage table, you know, there’s a lot of things you can use it for. I’ve gotten massages on it before, it’s alright, it’s good. It’s one of the funniest, funniest photos of all time. [Editor’s note: At this point Cara is laughing. Nay, cackling.]
Cosmo: Any plans to incorporate sex furniture or sexcessories into Lora DiCarlo?
LDC: I’m not going to say yes to that. I’m also not going to say no to that.
Cosmo: Cara, what’s your favorite Lora DiCarlo product?
CD: Baci was the first one I tried and tested, and definitely the easiest to start the journey. But it depends on how I’m feeling. Sex toys I had used before dictated too much of what you did with the toy specifically, and not the variety and the fun that you can have with it, like these do.
Cosmo: Cara, do you have any plans to gift Lora DiCarlo toys to any of your friends this holiday season?
CD: Of course. My little quarantine crew already got a lot of product already—friends that are in relationships, single, whatever, it doesn’t matter. I’m just so excited to be able to give the people I love the gift of pleasure and putting that in their hands.
Cosmo: Are you going to gift anything to say…Meg and Harry?
CD: A royal box? That would be amazing. You’ll have to wait and see. I mean, the goal again, is to get people to talk about this, so let’s see who comes out of the woodwork.
Shop Cara Delevingne’s Handpicked Choices for Everyone on Your Holiday List
P.S. Cara wants to hear from you—yes, you—with feedback of Lora DiCarlo products. As new co-owner, she’s asking fans and Lora DiCarlo customers to reach out privately about their thoughts on the toys. You can text her at (310) 421-0894.
Interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
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