Margot Robbie’s underwater W cover: captivating or unflattering?

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie covers the December issue of W magazine. I’ll bet you barely recognize her, right? She’s submerged in a tub, and the feature is called “emerging star,” which is so cheesy. The concept isn’t awful, but it’s awfully hard to execute an underwater shoot. This cover looks so budget and artsy fartsy. Actually, Margot looks like she just smelled one as she holds her breath. That’s a terrible thing to say. This is a terrible way to treat a beautiful cover model. The photography is by video artist Bill Viola, and he shot Jake Gyllenhaal underwater for the same issue. Viola describes these photos as “very emotional” because they “bring out waves of feeling.” The results are not flattering at all to Margot. Let’s do some excerpts:

This crazy photoshoot: “I’ve been practicing in my bathtub. I am so excited. I’ve been holding my breath to see how long I can go without turning blue.”

Growing up with a pool in Australia: “It’s not about being rich, but everyone back home has a pool. And I was a total water baby. My mom couldn’t get me out–she’d put my dinner plate at the end of the pool, and I’d eat my meals in the water.”

On scoring Wolf: “The casting director took one look at me and said, ‘Go down the street and buy the tightest dress and highest heels you can find. That is Naomi.’ I came back dressed like that and read for Marty and Leo. Those heels were killing me, which is what I remembered most.”

She plays a con artist in Focus: “I now know how to steal a watch when someone’s wearing it. It’s an excellent talent to have.”

On soap opera Neighbours: “I was on the show for three years. And I spent the entire last year saving my money and practicing an American accent.”

On painful acting moments: “I learned a lot about pain and suffering during Pan Am. We had to wear very constricting period-correct girdles and bras. After that, I learned to read a script with an eye toward the undergarments.”

[From W magazine]

Margot was really looking forward to this shoot. The editorial isn’t quite as bad as the cover, but the whole shoot is a disaster. I guess it’s interesting in a “what were they thinking?” sort of way.

By the way, Margot officially signed on as Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad movie that no one cares about. I think the movie is supposed to be an origin story for Harley, but who knows. I’m including some new-ish photos of Margot at the Harper’s Bazaar Women awards (in yellow Rosie Assoulin) and the Australians in Film gala (in white Dion Lee). She’s busting right out of the yellow gown.

Margot Robbie

Photos courtesy of W magazine & WENN

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56 Responses to “Margot Robbie’s underwater W cover: captivating or unflattering?”

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  1. I'm With The Band says:

    *screwing face up because I have no words*

  2. Luciana says:

    The photoshoot is bad. She’s nice and pretty. They could have done far more better things not this underwater crap.

  3. Megan says:

    Ick. She looks like a drowned corpse.

    • Belle Epoch says:

      “Drowned corpse” – yep. The Drowned Ophelia cover. Possibly would have worked in sunny tropical blue water – not dead in a bathtub.

    • Amelia says:

      I thought they were taking the mickey out of The Lady in the Lake, at first.
      I like the dappled water effect in the editorial pictures, but no. This didn’t work.

    • ElleV says:

      It would have been cool if they had actually achieved “drowned” – that otherworldly, weightless Ophelia thing. This just looks like anyone holding their breath. At best, they nailed “bloated.”

      I think their mistake was shooting before she exhaled. Once the bubbles cleared, there’d have been a second or two when her face was more relaxed.

  4. don't kill me i'm french says:

    OMG i did the same pic with my now-husband during a Punta Cana holiday some years ago .I’m as talented as Bill Viola!
    In fact i want copyright! He stole my idea !

  5. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    No one looks good underwater.

  6. Maya says:

    It looks scary…

  7. SpookySpooks says:

    I like it. At least it’s differrnt.

    • susiecue says:

      That’s what I was thinking. It’s kind of cool and original, and got my attention more than any everyday hands-on-the-hips posed cover would have.

  8. Orlanda says:

    For me, the first thing I thought was ‘Ophelia’

  9. Linn says:

    Agree, Underwater-Shooting very rarely lead to nice photos.

    They do it on all those Next-Topmodel-Shows all the time and the results are nearly always horrible. What’s wrong with a good old flattering portrait?

    When even a beautiful young woman like Margot looks bad and puffy it’s a good time to rethink the concept.

    • Crocuta says:

      Actually, sometimes they look very good (I remember them from ANTM as well and while some girls look terrible, some are amazing, like they weren’t under water at all). Margot, who is stunningly beautiful on land, looks puffy and is obviously holding her breath. There’s no elegance to it. At least we know she’d never make a good mermaid. :D

  10. Londerland says:

    I’ve seen underwater shoots that worked – I think ANTM did one a few years back (ok, maybe 10 years back) where some of the shots were just gorgeous, weightless, ethereal. But these just suck. Badly lit, poorly composed, and she just looks uncomfortable on that cover – seriously, if that was the BEST shot, how bad were the rejects?

  11. lucy2 says:

    Those photos are terrible. Might have been an interesting idea, but the end result was not good.

  12. Nya says:

    Uh what makes you think no one cares about Suicide Squad? Harley especially is one of the most popular female characters.

  13. Adrien says:

    It’s not a new concept, we’ve seen gorgeous underwater ads before. It looks like they only took two pictures of that angle and chose the less terrible one. I understand, she’s not a professional model but I admire her for preparing for this shoot. She looks like Erika Christensen or Malin Ackerman though.

  14. Willa says:

    If she’s a “total water baby” then why did she have to practice holding her breath in the bath tub?

  15. Kali says:

    It’s more of a MIllais’ “Ophelia” vibe, isn’t it? Especially that one where she’s totally submerged. (I only know that slight comparison is because I’m reading “Your Voice In My Head” at the moment which has that as the cover).

  16. Tulip says:

    It doesn’t work because her holding her breath is too visible.
    But I love beautifully executed underwater photos. This Kate Winslet one is still my favourite:

  17. Gwen says:

    It’s a horrible pic they chose for the cover. A shame for her.

  18. Liz says:

    It’s a horrible cover.

  19. Tifygodess24 says:

    Awkward is a good word for it.

  20. maybeiamcrazy says:

    Eating and swimming? That sounds uncomfortable to me.

  21. j.eyre says:

    Agreeing with the Ophelia comment above and a general “she’ll be sleeping with the fishes” vibe here. It is not that I don’t find the photos interesting but they frighten me. In that second one, she looks like she’s been caught in a fishing net.

  22. Cici says:

    The dress looks great but her face ruins the shot. And if those excepts are the most interesting parts of the interview, it sounds pretty dull and not worth my time to check out. Sorry Margot!

  23. Tarsha (nee Sal) says:

    Terrifying! It looks like the ending scene from Fatal Attraction just before Glenn Close’s character rises back up and then is shot.

  24. kikikat says:

    Maybe I been watching too much Law & Order SVU but she looks like a murder victim to me. :(

  25. Sugar1 says:

    I had a flashback to that creepy lady in room 316(?) from The Shining who tried to seduce Jack…

  26. Josefa says:

    Underwater shoots are either brilliant or, most of the time, disasters. You need a very experienced model, who really knows her angles and the better poses to show of clothing, to pull off something like this. That aside, the shoot looks awfully cheap anyway.

  27. Eleonor says:

    The idea is good, the result ? She looks like a corpse!

  28. Someonestolemyname1 says:

    Cool Artistic, I love it.
    Looks like the eerie scene in Night of the Hunter where Shelly Winters body is under water….It’s eerie but cool looking too.

    Margot is gorgeous anyway.

  29. Sue says:

    She looks a lot like Angelina Jolie.

  30. Jessica says:

    First thing that comes to mind: (1) Come Undone by Duran Duran; and (2) Last Dance With Mary Jane by Tom Petty… that is all.

  31. Cupcake says:


    I would be mortified!!!!!

  32. Illyra says:

    When people open their eyes underwater they lose their shine, because there’s no thin layer of moisture to reflect light. Opened eyes look dull and dead underwater, which is creepy. For me that’s the main reason these types of photos usually don’t work.

  33. jane16 says:

    Hey, its a million times prettier to look at than a greased up, ridiculously misshapen, photoshopped-to-death, naked woman cackling at the camera like an idiot.

  34. Umila says:

    The new 52 Harley Quinn had an origin story in Suicide Squad. She’s had multiple origin stories. I’m a big fan of Harley Quinn. The Suicide Squad comics grew on me after Harley had her little revelation about where she was heading. I get that writers for blogs might not care about comic crap, but why be so flippant about it? There are a lot of fans who are nervous to see big screen Harley come to life. Viewers of Arrow were supportive when the squad assembled. However, I would rather have Cassidy Alexa play Harley over Margot Robbie.

  35. Dommy Dearest says:

    This is why I hate when the site covers anything comic because no one knows what they are talking about. Suicide Squad isn’t a Harley origin. I’d explain what it is but I know if be met with sarcastic comments of it still not sounding interesting.