adventures in celebrity profiling

Margot Robbie Is ‘Too Fresh to Be Pegged,’ Apparently

Writing a profile of a Hollywood starlet is hard, and Vanity Fair writer Rich Cohen is well aware of the pitfalls. “Because Robbie is new on the scene, reporters are trying to fix her with a narrative,” Cohen writes in his new profile of actress Margot Robbie. “The job of the celebrity journalist: peg ‘em so it’s not only as if you know ‘em but always have known ‘em or someone just like ‘em.” But not Margot Robbie! “Robbie,” he concludes “is too fresh to be pegged.”

Which doesn’t mean that he — in the grand tradition of male journalists profiling Hollywood ingénues — won’t give it the old college try. How does Rich Cohen peg thee, Margot? Let us count the ways:

A girl next door, only from farther away than next door:

“America is so far gone, we have to go to Australia to find a girl next door.”

A blue mood:

“She is 26 and beautiful, not in that otherworldly, catwalk way but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance.”

Tall, at least when wearing shoes:

“She is blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes.”

Whatever this means:

“She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character.”


“As I said, she is from Australia. To understand her, you should think about what that means.”

A “throwback”:

“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.”

A martian:

“An ambitious Australian actor views Hollywood the way the Martians view Earth at the beginning of The War of the Worlds. Which was Robbie.”

A college student:

“She wandered through the room like a second-semester freshman, finally at ease with the system.”

Someone who wears clothes, possibly:

“I don’t remember what she was wearing, but it was simple, her hair combed around those painfully blue eyes. We sat in the corner. She looked at me and smiled.”

A hustler:

“Robbie’s beauty and speed of ascent mask her ambition, the part hustle and savvy have played.”

Someone who hates fame:

“The most recent theory has her as a celebrity uncomfortable with fame. A case of buyer’s remorse.”

An ordinary gal:

“The fact is, despite her growing fame, higher-profile roles, and endorsement deals—Robbie is the face of the new Calvin Klein fragrance Deep Euphoria—she leads a fairly ordinary life. It’s the luxury of being from the bottom of the world… When the shooting is over, she drops back into her normal voice, vanishes. In sneakers and slang, she fades into the New York street. Or the London street.”

The long-awaited antidote to 21st-century hedonism:

“I looked at Robbie in a new way, tried to see her as she must have looked to Jerry [Weintraub]. An echo, a throwback. ‘A single word: Audrey Hepburn.’ From another place, another time. In her, Jerry may have seen a kind of lost purity, what we’ve given up for the excitement of a crass, freewheeling, sex-saturated culture.”

Audrey Hepburn:

“We sat for a moment in silence. She was thinking of something; I was thinking of something else. Then she stood, said good-bye, and went to see a friend across the room. Jerry was right. She looked just like Audrey Hepburn going away.”

At least he didn’t compare her to a carbonated beverage or try to make a metaphor about Aztec ritual sacrifice. Progress!

Margot Robbie Is ‘Too Fresh to Be Pegged’