Actress and model Cara Delevingne is stepping into the sex-tech industry as the new co-owner and creative adviser of Lora DiCarlo.
Founded in 2017 by its eponymous creator, Lora DiCarlo’s mission is to destigmatize sexual pleasure (particularly for women) and elevate the sex toy industry with products that lean more into robotics than conventional toys.
“This is something I’ve been thinking about for a very long time, and it’s taken a while to find the right people to do it with,” Delevingne says. “I grew up pretty repressed and English in terms of sexuality. That relationship that you have with yourself is the most important one in the world. And this is not just to do with pleasuring yourself, but it’s about exploration and loving yourself.”
Adds founder and CEO Lora Haddock DiCarlo: “When you partner with somebody, it’s like a marriage—you’ve got to get along, you’ve got to understand each other’s purpose. [Cara and I] represent so much of what each other stands for in terms of redefining how people explore and experience and take ownership of their pleasure.”
Delevingne’s duties include raising brand recognition through content development and marketing strategies, as well as working with the in-house engineering team on product development.
“She actually really mirrors a lot of what I do,” DiCarlo says. “Just on an incredible scale.”
Lora DiCarlo first blipped on Delevingne’s radar after its flagship product Osé, a hands-free personal massager, was awarded the Innovation Award in Robotics from CES in 2019, but the recognition was then rescinded due to its “obscene” nature. The news caught fire with major publications after DiCarlo penned an open letter stating how gender bias is stifling innovation in tech. The mounting public pressure eventually led CES to reinstate the Osé’s award—and, even better, Lora DiCarlo was bolstered as the buzzy startup dismantling the patriarchy’s outmoded views on sexuality.
But where there’s hype, there’s skepticism.
Alongside pleasure parity, Lora DiCarlo’s foundation is its focus on innovative engineering around biomimicry and microrobotics. However, in a recent feature for Wired, writer Lux Alptraum’s reporting called into question just how innovative the Osé actually is, with one source stating the company’s microrobotics are more of a “loose definition” of the term. Alptraum also tested the award-winning Osé and declared it “awkward to use” and that it “felt a little cheap,” ultimately comparing it to Juicero, another buzzy startup that ultimately crashed when people figured out they didn’t need a $700 machine to squeeze juice packets.
But DiCarlo backs her company’s claims, stating that her products take “some serious innovation and creativity” to produce, while at the same time acknowledging that she’s always looking to iterate based on customer input. “I never said that we’re always going to nail it on the head,” DiCarlo says. “Every body is different and we’re going to constantly learn. And we are always going to constantly try to provide a better experience based on what people are asking for. And that’s what we did with Osé 2,” which, among other features, now fits a wider variety of bodies after DiCarlo’s team took feedback from customers ranging from their twenties to seventies.
To fuel that spirit of continued innovation, DiCarlo relies on customer feedback, which Delevingne will also have an integral role with. “She’s very much in alignment with me as far as how we approach product,” DiCarlo says. “We were like, ‘what kind of products do you want to design?’ And I could not have loved her response more, because she said, ‘what kind of products do people need?'”
“When I get passionate about something, I really dive deep into it,” says Delevingne, who is encouraging people to text her product feedback through her Community number 310-421-0894. “I’m learning every day, especially through Lora and the team, how different everyone’s bodies are and how different people find this space of pleasure,” she says. “I have the reach to really put this in the hands of my audience and ask what they want and what they need, because this isn’t about what I like or about what Lora likes. This is about what people like, and that’s different from generation to generation and culture to culture. That’s something that I don’t think we’re ever going to stop learning.”
“I wouldn’t want to do something and do it half-ass,” Delevingne continues, “especially when it has to do with sexual health and wellness and understanding oneself. This is a journey that I want to go through, and this is a lifelong partnership.”