Margot Robbie briefly felt old, decrepit & ugly: ‘It was very alienating’

Harper's BAZAAR DecJan '19 Cover_NS

Margot Robbie covers the December issue of Harper’s Bazaar to promote her role in Mary Queen of Scots. Margot plays Queen Elizabeth I, and Saoirse Ronan plays Mary. Many of you have already complained about many of the fictions/lies being peddled in this historical drama. I’ll admit, I don’t know much about this particular history, the Elizabethan Era and what really happened between the two women. But can we sort of agree – maybe? – that Margot “uglied it up” appropriately to play QEI? She apparently spent three hours in hair and makeup to look time-ravaged and old, which makes me wonder… why didn’t they just hire someone older and less of a bombshell? I don’t know. I don’t mean to criticize Margot specifically – I actually like Margot a lot – but there are so many examples of stupid casting choices lately, right? Anyway, you can read the Bazaar cover story here. Some highlights:

No one would talk to her when she was in QEI drag: “They wouldn’t even get close to me. It was very alienating. And I felt very lonely. It was an interesting social experiment.” Her transformation into Queen Elizabeth I, who was scarred by smallpox as a young woman, took three and a half hours of intensive hair and makeup every day. “They’d start with a head wrap. Gelling and pinning my hair down. Then we’d do a bald cap.” There were different wigs for different stages of the story and her illness, one that was very thinning, and prosthetic scarring applied to her face. “Surprisingly, the quick part was the white makeup. And the heavily drawn-on blush, eyebrows, lips.”

What Mary & QEI were going through: “I feel like Mary and Elizabeth could have just sat down and worked it out over coffee. But all those men kept getting in their way.”

On her metamorphosis into Queen Elizabeth I: “Normally there’s someone who steps in and says, ‘No, keep all the girls looking pretty!’ But Josie Rourke, the director, was keen to explore how Queen Elizabeth’s looks affected her relationships, and everyone had the guts to do it.”

On the inspiration to form her own production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, in 2014: “When we set out to create our company, it was sort of a new idea, but then in response to the #MeToo conversation it was all that anyone was talking about. People were like, ‘Why don’t we make movies for women?’ Uh, what a revelation, right?”

On refusing to be typecast by her beauty early on: “When I was trying to make my name as an actress, creative roles for women were limited. I didn’t want to pick up another script where I was the wife or the girlfriend—just a catalyst for the male story line. It was uninspiring.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar]

Much of the interview did focus on Margot’s transformation to beautiful bombshell to decrepit old hag, which… will get exhausting after about two interviews. There should be a minor movement in celebrity journalism/Hollywood, to call out this ugly-stunt-queen nonsense. Attractive young actors shouldn’t get a f–king cookie for “uglying up” for awards or to prove their range. It’s not just a woman thing either – this kind of dumb stunt-makeup work is done by men all the time. Actors like Gary Oldman shouldn’t wear a mountain of prosthetics just to play a caricature of Winston Churchill and win a f–king Oscar for it (I’m still salty af about that). So, while I like Margot a lot and I’m sure she’s good/okay in this film, I’ve got to wonder why they didn’t just hire an older, average-looking actress, you know? Why did it take “guts” to cast an in-demand young actress like Margot, but it wouldn’t have taken “guts” to cast Melissa Leo and just take the time (less time, I’m assuming, sorry!) to make her look decrepit?


Photos courtesy of Camilla Akrans for Harper’s Bazaar, sent from promotional Bazaar email.

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49 Responses to “Margot Robbie briefly felt old, decrepit & ugly: ‘It was very alienating’”

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  1. Cindy says:

    Yeah that casting choice was really stupid, why spend so much time and money on making Margot Robbie look old when you can just get an older actress? Heck, it’d at least make sense if they rewrote history to make Queen Elizabeth look hot and bangable, mysoginist as it’d be. What logic is there behind casting a hot young woman just to make her look ugly and old?

    • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

      Errr….from the trailer, it looks like they go from QEI being a young and beautiful queen to recovering from smallpox, etc. So she kind of needed to be young. Same as Mary–Mary was only 42 when she died, and she wore a red wig (her real hair was grey) to her execution.

      But umm…in response to her saying Mary and Elizabeth just needed to work it out over a cup of coffee…nope. Mary was raised to be a consort, not a queen regent, and she was absolutely stupid in who she chose to marry after her first husband died. Plus there was the issue of the regency in Scotland and her half brother–I think Scottish nobles were not too fond of her because she was raised in France and had a French accent. They were also used to “ruling” themselves–her mother, Mary of Guise did not have very much influence in the Scottish court. Her half brother was Protestant and actively worked against her–he was the Earl of *something*……

      • Algernon says:

        Earl of Moray

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        Mary was a fickle, empty headed woman who had no inclination to rule never mind the smarts to. Yeah she was raised to be nothing more than a trophy wife who wanted a man to ‘look after her’ (sound familiar?). She was very emotional and once reportedly cried after getting a telling off from John Knox (a fire and brimstone kinda guy). Am not sure how much of an education Mary got.

        She was her own worst enemy, who not only trusted the wrong people but allowed herself to be led by them and paid the ultimate price for it. History did not leave a good impression of her and am sure she’s got a white wash in this movie.

        Elizabeth on the other hand, was a very intelligent and educated woman who learned harsh lessons when still a child. She learned how to rule by watching her father and she learned from his and her half sisters mistakes. Sure she made a few on her own but she never allowed herself to be put in a position where a man had control over her life and crown. What happened to her mother stayed with her.

        As for the appearances – those were harsh times with a short life expectancy. Personal hygiene was not much of a thing – the reason they all worse wigs as many were bald due to lice, ringworm etc.. Its well known she wore that heavy white make up to hide the small pox scars.

      • Nicole83 says:

        Agree but to be fair I doubt she chose any of her husbands.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        She didn’t choose her first one, but she chose her next two. Well, it is alleged that her third husband kidnapped her, but I don’t know if that is because he was rumored to have murdered her second husband….

      • Nikki says:

        Haven’t seen your comments in a long time, VirgiliaC, and am so glad to see you again! Thanks for the insights.

      • Mumbles says:

        I almost choked on my own coffee when I got to the “Mary and Elizabeth could have worked it out over a cup of coffee” line. Listen, I get that late sixteenth century English history is not everyone’s thing but if you’re going to play a real life prominent person from the era, perhaps maybe read up on the topic a bit?

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        I think that is the tone the film is setting…which is wildly inaccurate. But I think as the actress, Margot has to go with it.

      • Justme says:

        Yeah – a cup of coffee – sure (no coffee available in either England or Scotland then, but never mind). Um what about RELIGION? Some modern people act as though nobody in the past really believed in their religion. People were being martyred over these differences. Elizabeth was a Protestant queen, who would be considered illegitimate by Catholics – whose legitimate choice for queen would be none other than Mary. These two were made to be enemies.

  2. burdzeyeview says:

    What if you actually are old ugly and decrepit – how does she think THAT feels?

    • Pandy says:

      Yes in late 50s now and thinking “F u Margot , let’s talk in 20 years when the mirror shows a stranger”.

    • soanna says:

      I always think so much less of these actresses when they do a “oh it was so hard to be fake ugly for a few weeks of shooting”. What a nasty thing to say to all the readers that aren’t naturally or surgically conventionally gorgeous.

    • Hikaru says:

      Old and unattractive women are used as either a joke in a comedy movie, or as some kind of a costume for a hot actress to prove how “brave” she is to uglify herself for a role.

  3. Rhys says:

    I’d like to see a man complaining about being “old and ugly” 😀

    • Nikki says:

      Old guys on the beach, lolling unselfconsciously despite their pot bellies and cascading sags, still feel powerful enough to rate women beachgoers from a 1-10!! Frankly, women themselves need to buck all the media hate, and start loving and valuing themselves with wrinkles and flab. The amount of self hatred some women have as they age is as staggering as it is depressing. My own joy and respect for myself are undimmed by dimwits.

  4. Lee says:

    I lke her a lot. I hope she scores another major award nom. She’s been playing so many different characters and has always done very well imho.

  5. perplexed says:

    I thought her production company acquired the film and that’s how she got the part. She cast herself (which I don’t see anything wrong with if she’s the one in control), or am I misinterpreting? If this is not the case, then never mind.

    • Algernon says:

      I thought that too but I just looked it up and she is not a credited producer. This is from the same production company that does a lot of British historical dramas, including Darkest Hour, which explains a lot. The second coming of Merchant Ivory they are not.

  6. xdanix says:

    I love Margot, and I think she is sincerely a very nice, well- meaning person. I don’t think she means any harm at all by her interviews, and she obviously DID undergo quite the transformation to play the role. But ugh, maybe I’m just feeling sad and overly sensitive today, something about her talking about how lonely it was, and an interesting social experiment, just makes me feel… kind of sick. Because I didn’t win the genetic lottery. And I do know what it means to be lonely and have nobody to eat lunch with, that was my experience a lot in school. Except I couldn’t take out a makeup wipe and take all of that away by returning to my golden-girl beautiful looks. That was just… me. And this me will never know what it feels like to be someone who looks like Margot Robbie. To have her call it an interesting experiment…

    Gahh. Sorry, I’m not managing to put words to my feeling at all properly. I’m probably not even making much sense! Feel free to ignore me. But does anyone who feel similarly know what I mean, that they might put words to it any better?!

    • Dara says:

      I know exactly what you mean, and can very much relate. You’ve expressed it very well. I like Margot too, but she will never truly know what it’s like to be unremarkable and unregarded.

      • xdanix says:

        Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate you saying that- I didn’t know whether it was just me and I was being stupid or what, but it really did hit me quite hard, so it means a lot to hear it’s not just silliness in my head!

      • MyDogSCute says:

        Wow I thought she was going to reveal some phase of ED or addiction, a psychological “bottom”. Here she is just complaining about a “fat suit”. Eeesh. Also is she English? American actresses ruin English historical cinema.

    • Steff says:

      @xdanix Your comment made me tear up. I know exactly how you feel. In school I was friends with a pretty blonde girl and the only reason boys would talk to me was because they wanted to get to her. I’d only be asked about her. I was bullied by some of them too. I suffered from crippling depression and social anxiety as a teen and I still do to this day because I was bullied for my looks.

      • xdanix says:

        Oh Steff, thank you, and I’m sorry if I made you teary! *hugs* I know how you feel- one VERY rare time a guy asked me out (which NEVER happened to me) and later on that night I learned he only asked me because he realised that my friend, who he had spent all night trying to talk to through me, had a boyfriend. I don’t know if that helps you in any way, but at least please know you aren’t alone with that kind of experience! And nor are you alone in what you struggle with either, I’m in a very similar situation too.

        Which I suppose is why Margot’s words sort of body-slammed me- I know she didn’t mean any harm, but all I could think was “how do you think it feels to be a young person and have that be your everyday?” It’s not an interesting experience when you don’t get to wipe away the makeup and return to being a beautiful person people want to be around- it’s something very different.

      • Steff says:

        *hugs back* Thank you.

    • Lilly (with the double-L) says:

      For me it was not being able to be thought of as pretty, because of my color. I was automatically below standards and that was spelled out to me very clearly by other non-Native kids in school. Now I think I’m gorgeous. LOL. I had to travel to really see myself and through a wider lens – while I wish it was all self-esteem and being able to say “eff you” to the racist beauty standards in the area I grew up, it just wasn’t that way. Now I see the beauty in so many, so I hope you see yours and I’d never want to look like Margot btw. I also have to say, I don’t feel gorgeous each and every day.

    • Gia says:

      Honestly, everything Margot says to me is a cover. Majority of actresses are incredibly
      insecure. They enter a field where their looks are scrutinized and majority of them have to get nose jobs, cheek implants, fillers and Botox to stay looking young and relevant. Barely any of them are born looking as beautiful as we see them. Margot herself got a nose job. If you go on Insta celebbeforeafter the 3rd recent photo shows a side by side comparison of her from 2009 and now. The public sees these celebrities with full makeup and hair done all the time. In person, without makeup, they look just as tired and normal like everyone else. Trust me.

  7. Jane says:

    They didn’t hire an older actress because Margot is not far off the right age for the bulk of the film. It about the build up to the 1569 conflict, so it’s mostly Elizabeth in her late twenties to mid thirties. She looked bad by her thirties because of the smallpox, the effects of the makeup she used to cover the scars, and a few other health issues. Not because she was an ‘old hag’.

    They could have hired someone less beautiful, but that wasn’t really Elizabeth’s issue. She was attractive until she caught smallpox at 29. A plainer actress would have still needed hours in the makeup chair to look like her after the smallpox.

  8. elo320 says:

    I feel like droppping Melissa Leo’s name specifically here was really uncalled for

  9. ValiantlyVarnished says:

    I was obsessed with British Royal history when I was in my teens and early twenties. And one of my favorite periods was The Elizabethan era. I have a huge soft spot for Mary Queen of Scots. And QE1 as well though to a lesser extent. Margot is right: they could have cleared everything up between them if they has been able to just sit down and talk it out. But the men in their lives and inner circles got in the way. Especially on QE’s side. They played on her fears and insecurities. It is said that one of QE’s biggest regrets was the killing of Mary. She respected her as a Queen and if the fears of usurption hadn’t been sowed by both QE’s confidantes and the men in Mary’s life (her husband and brother specifically) they could have co-existed.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Mary was an active participant in trying to get her claws on QE1’s throne – she like all the rest of the catholics at that time believed that Elizabeth 1 was not rightfully Queen (being a protestant and illegitimate) and as the next in the line of succession she (Mary) wanted that throne after she got kicked off her own in favour of her son (which was her own fault – marrying Dudley was her first biggest mistake, her 2nd one was not getting the Protestants on her side – she alienated John Knox from the get go, he hated her just as much as she hated him).

      QE1 regretted the execution of Mary because she feared going to hell over the death of another anointed Queen – both ladies were very very religious.

      • ValiantlyVarnished says:

        It’s a lot more complicated than that. Mary was told from a young age that she was thr rightful Queen of England. And even when she was past truly even wanting the thrown the men around her manipulated and instigated the situation. And like I stated QE1 did regret Mary’s death because she was in fact a Queen herself. Of course that goes to the idea of being “anointed” and what that meant back then. A book I suggestion that gives a bit more detail about Mary and her motivations is Mary Queen of Scots by Susan Watkins. It’s a great read!

  10. Lightpurple says:

    I got the impression that the story takes place over many years so the characters would have to age. But, Margot, learn to choose your words more carefully. You ARE going to age and not everyone does it as well as Rita Moreno, Eva Marie Saint or Jane Fonda, even with help.

    • Aoife says:

      Anyone playing the role would have to be aged and doesn’t explain the casting of someone who is obviously far better looking than the character she is playing. She’s not such a compelling actress or such a major star to justify what seems like a pretty lazy casting choice. Though for all I know she may be fantastic in it.

  11. lucy2 says:

    I like Margot a lot and I think she’s a very good actress, but this does seem like odd casting. I’m interested in the movie though, especially with Saoirse in it too.

  12. isadora says:

    Everyone wants to be considered as a serious actor. Margot is no different than whoever Hollywood names the “it girl” of the week”.
    She wants to have those meaningful Oscar winning roles and the not the pretty trophy woman girlfriend to the male lead. I wish her the best but she needs to choose her projects carefully.

  13. i says:

    I always, always, *always* get her mixed up with a bunch of other actresses. I have complete face blindness with her for some reason.

    She came across pretty badly in this interview, tbh, clueless/tone deaf, and dismissive of the work of other women with women led production companies “making movies for women”, both currently and historically. She’s not the pioneer that she thinks she is/that others have been telling her that she is.

    Every film star/celebrity should seriously consider hiring one massively pessimistic realist to travel with them and rain on their parade once a day/tell them “no”/clue them up with facts/tell them they sound out of touch, or else they end up giving these really weird interviews that they think are profound but in reality are just reams of self congratulatory onanism.

  14. Ally says:

    Lol, but she broke through playing the girlfriend and wife in Wolf of Wall Street, a film that celebrates male douchebaggery under the guise of tut-tutting at it.

    Her signing up to a Tarantino movie (and one with particular potential for his misogyny and general exploitative insensitivity) in the wake of #metoo and revelations of his near (wo)manslaughter of Uma Thurman puts this jerk firmly in the ‘cool girl’ category in my view.

    Btw, that a-hole seems to have acquired a human-shield wife for the coming promotional tour.

    • Jegede says:

      Excellent points!

    • cate says:

      yea she’s not nearly as progressive as she claims. she’s coasted mostly on conventional holllywood looks and takign that role in what no doubt will be a violent, grotesque portrayal of sharon tates murder, makes me like her even less. shes just as thirsty and boring as most of her counterparts despite her attempts to seem so down to earth. she is a mediocre talent in a pretty package, but a stellar actor she is not

  15. Missy says:

    Yes sure. She probably forgot that she did many roles as a girlfriend and wife

  16. SM says:

    I like Margot. She is stuning qnd she worked her butt off for I Tonya, but I did roll my eyes abit about her experiece of what it felt not to look like bombshell.

  17. becoo says:

    LOL, oh the pain of feeling unloved for such a brief period in one’s life. However did she cope? She actually seems like a decent person. But, honestly, most actors and actresses could benefit from taking Self-awareness 101.

  18. CairinaCat says:

    Well she’s going get her payback for this crappy interview when she hits around 50-60
    Her kind of looks fade. She will have decades of not being the pretty one.
    And does this mean she will start jacking her face to look like an alien duck soon?

  19. Shannon says:

    I see where she’s coming from, but honestly. It’s not like, “Hey, guess what, being elderly and unattractive feels a lot more alienating than being young and hot – I’ve made this important discovery guys! Give me a cookie.” Girl, please. And no, I don’t get why they wouldn’t just hire an older actress instead of hiring a young woman and making her look old/ugly.