Australian darling and Hollywood star Margot Robbie has appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, following the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, as well as her compatriots Cate Blanchett and Naomi Watts.
Since the launch of the issue yesterday social media has gone crazy over Robbie’s profile written by Rich Cohen, and not in a good way.
“Welcome to the Summer of Margot Robbie” is as strange as it is hilariously wrong about so many things.
For a start people are horrified at some of the sexist lines used to describe the actress, who stars in the new Tarzan movie.
She is 26 and beautiful, not in that otherworldly, catwalk way but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance. She is blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes. She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character.
The writer then goes on to talk about Robbie’s life pre-Hollywood, using a questionable segue to do so.
As I said, she is from Australia. To understand her, you should think about what that means.
But to top it off he writes all this weird stuff about Australia, most which will make you laugh.
Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people. They still live and die with the plot turns of soap operas in Melbourne and Perth, still dwell in a single mass market in Adelaide and Sydney. In the morning, they watch Australia’s Today show. In other words, it’s just like America, only different. When everyone here is awake, everyone there is asleep, which makes it a perfect perch from which to study our customs, habits, accents.
Then there’s this odd reference to the Gold Coast.
Robbie grew up in Gold Coast, a city on Australia’s Pacific shore, 500 miles north of Sydney. In an old movie, you might have seen a crossroad sign demonstrating just how isolated it was, just how far from the known capitals. Four thousand miles to Tokyo. Ten thousand miles to London. Seven thousand miles to Los Angeles.
This bit, however, is true.
Neighbours, Home and Away—the biggest Australian soaps serve as a kind of farm system for the American movie industry. At one time or another, just about every actor who starred in an Aussie soap has gone to Hollywood. Some succeeded. Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts, Guy Pearce, Heath Ledger, Chris Hemsworth. Most failed.
The one redeeming feature is when Robbie answers a question about whether she thought people back home were proud of her success.
She thought a moment, then said, “There’s a thing in Australia called tall-poppy syndrome. Have you heard of it? It’s a pretty prevalent thing—they even teach it in school. Poppies are tall flowers, but they don’t grow taller than the rest of the flowers, so there’s a mentality in Australia where people are really happy for you to do well; you just can’t do better than everyone else or they will cut you down to size.”
If you haven’t seen the VF story in full yet, read it here. It really is as bad as it seems.
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