Told to have the most beautiful eyes in all of Hollywood, this Aussie has worked really hard to make her way in the difficult and superficial world of show-business. As she is not afraid to do what her instinct tells her is right, even if it means hitting Leonardo DiCaprio amidst improvisation, with her career on the rise, she will soon prove to be a quality actress many will look up to.
Margot Elise Robbie was born in Dalby, Queensland, Australia. Her father is Doug, a former farm-owner and her mother is Sarie, a physiotherapist. She is the third of four children, having a younger brother Cameron, who is also an actor, an older brother who is a stuntman, and an older sister. Their mother was the one to raise them, and Robbie has very little contact with her father.
‘I was always very dramatic – my family would probably use the word dramatic – as a child, always putting on performances, making everyone come watch, and pay to watch. I was very business-savvy as a child.’, she says about her childhood self. She even attended a circus school when she was eight and earned a trapeze certificate, which came in handy in her future film roles.
Growing up, Robbie didn’t have much, and worked three jobs simultaneously to make ends meet – she was a secretary, sold surfboards and made sandwiches at Subway. She studied drama at Somerset College in Queensland and when she graduated, at age 17, she moved to Melbourne to pursue acting as a profession.
In 2007, she got her first film roles – in I.C.U. and Vigilante. She also did some commercials and appeared in television shows The Elephant Princess and City Homicide.
In 2008, she got a small role in Neighbours, a soap opera that’s been on air since 1985. Soon, she became its regular cast member, playing Donna Freedman, one of the first bisexual characters ever to be portrayed on Australian television. She even kissed her female co-star on the show, which was greatly criticized by the Australian Family Association.
The role got her a wider visibility as an actress and can be marked as her first breakthrough, although real fame was yet to come. She became a Youth Ambassador for missing persons as a part of National Youth Week, and was nominated for Most Popular New Female Talent at the Australian Loggie Awards. In 2010, Robbie decided to leave the show after almost three years of working on it. ‘I didn’t want to play the same role for too long of a time’, she said about her reasons. ‘Because I could already tell within myself that I was starting to play myself a little bit, and I didn’t think I was going to grow as an actor if I just started reacting the way I would in real life. So, I wanted to go to America because there was just more opportunity.’ And so she did. She packed her bags and boarded a plane. ‘I kind of left everyone behind in Australia – all my friends and my family and I had to break up with my boyfriend.’ Although she wanted to have her character on the show killed in some kind of a dramatic way, the writers decided to send her off to college, in case Robbie’s trip to America didn’t turn out quite the way she wanted, and she decided to come back home.
When Robbie arrived in Los Angeles, she threw herself right into auditioning. Soon, she got a role in an ABC drama series Pan Am, alongside Christina Ricci, with whom Robbie lived as a roommate for a while. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after only a season.
In 2012, Robbie was cast in a romantic comedy About Time, a film directed by Richard Curtis, which got positive reviews, but it wasn’t until The Wolf of Wall Street, shot in 2013, that the doors of Hollywood opened wide for Robbie. The film, with Leonardo DiCaprio as its main character and Martin Scorsese as it director, proved to be a great hit, both due to its commercial success and critical acclaim. Robbie perfected the Brooklyn accent of her character, and excelled at improvisation with Leonardo DiCaprio. ‘I thought I was going to get arrested’, she said about the scene in which she hits him. ‘I was like – that was the dumbest thing you’ve ever done! You’re going to jail now, or getting sued. And what are you going to do? We were doing a scene. We were improvising and I got a bit caught up in the moment, and it wasn’t scripted, but I was screaming at him and I hit him in the face. Instead of just saying a line, which I’m sure would have been good enough, I took a step too far. And then, of course, as soon as I’d done it I was swiftly taken out of the scene and I thought – oh my gosh, what have you just done?’
After the success of the film, Robbie was a bit worried about her future career. ‘I was worried that people would be expecting too much of me now, like – if Scorsese cast her in a film, she must be brilliant! Instead of having the chance to surprise people, I was worried that I’d disappoint them.’ Luckily, she soon got cast in Focus, a romantic comedy with Will Smith. That same year, she got a nomination for the BAFTA Rising Star Award. She also shot Z for Zachariah and appeared in a documentary special celebrating Neighbours’ 30th anniversary.
She then appeared in Suite Française and in The Big Short.
The next year, she appeared in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and The Legend of Tarzan. She also became the face of the newest fragrance by Calvin Klein called Deep Euphoria. But the biggest moment in her career that year was playing the role of Harley Quinn in the supervillain film Suicide Squad. She learned a lot during the shooting of the film, as she did the majority of the stunts by herself. She even learned to hold her breath for up to five minutes, started a new hobby – tattooing other people, and had a part of her right eyebrow shaved off for the purposes of the film. ‘I ended up looking into MMPI testings’, she says about her preparations for the role. ‘It’s a test that psychologists use to determine what mental illness people might have. It’s a list of 500 questions or something. Whenever we had time to rehearse or improvise, or even in the scenes, I’d just start with those questions. Some of them are basic, and some of them are not. I’d see which ones would catch him off guard, how he’d react, and I’d be like, ‘OK, I’m gonna go for this tactic now.”
As many actors do, Robbie started her own production company, together with her boyfriend and two friends, called LuckyChap.
With her career on the rise, Robbie is preparing numerous projects to be released in the near future, such as Peter Rabbit and I, Tonya.
Robbie is known to be a very hard working actress, eager to accept new challenges. For her role of Harley Quinn in the film Suicide Squad, she trained for six months prior to shooting, learning gymnastics, boxing, weapons training, aerial silk training, and learning to hold her breath underwater.
Although she is labeled to be the Hollywood’s next bombshell blonde, she works on promoting a healthy and positive body image. ‘I’m not very thrilled with being labeled that way. It minimizes your work in a film like that where you’re working with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. I don’t want to be reduced to the clichés that come with being called sexy or a blonde bombshell. I want to keep looking for roles where the main interest will be in the character itself, her importance in driving a story forward rather than her relationship with the male character.’, she said.
For her role of Jane in The Legend of Tarzan, she refused to lose weight and focused on eating healthy. She also turned down an offer to pose for Playboy, not wanting to go nude unless it was for artistic purposes. ‘I think nudity for the sake of nudity is shameful. If they’ve put it in just so that a girl gets her top off, then that’s disgusting. And you can always tell. But I also think it’s disgusting when someone would have got naked in real life, in the film they conveniently leave their bra on, or hold up the bed sheet.’
In 2015, Robbie was voted Sexiest Eyes by Victoria’s Secret annual What is Sexy List. She also appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair’s 20th Anniversary Hollywood Edition.
And although all she ever wanted was to make it in her profession, she isn’t quite used to being famous. ‘It’s a bit weird to begin with. I hadn’t ever met a famous person before. I had no idea what this business, industry, or job could be like.’
Robbie is known to be very modest. Even though she earns a lot of money, she prefers to be careful with how she spends it, remembering the times when she didn’t have a lot. And the first thing she did when she started earning, was paid off her mother’s mortgage. ‘That was something when I first started working and I was making money, I was speaking with a business manager and they said – you should invest your money. What do you want to do with it? And I said, first thing is I want to pay off my mom’s mortgage. They said it was going to be a long time before I could afford to do that, but that’s what we worked towards. Every couple of months I’d check in – do we have enough yet? And then eventually he was like, you can afford to pay your mom’s mortgage. We did all the paperwork and stud and it was a big secret to be sitting on for so long. But yeah, it was definitively one of the best moments of my life. It’s like, what any kid dreams of being able to do for your parent and I feel very lucky that I actually had the opportunity to do that.’
Robbie is in a relationship with Tom Ackerley, a British director with whom she lives in London, and whom she married in 2016. They met on the set of Suite Française in 2013, and they have been together since then. At their wedding, Robbie’s mother was the one to give her away, since she isn’t really in touch with her father.
While shooting Suicide Squad, Robbie got interested in tattooing, and so she bought a gun and began practicing. She gave her fellow cast members a tattoo reading SKWAD.
Written by: Tamara Djordjevic