For the longest time I didn't get it. Seriously, I've been an early unbeliever of Margot Robbie's—this has been like a five-year long irrational hatred—since she landed on my radar, starring in the short-lived TV series Pan Am. I don't know why she rubbed me the wrong way, but I couldn't keep my eyes off her co-stars Karine Vanasse and Kelli Garner, and I just wanted Robbie to exit stage left. If you had asked back me then who I thought would be the biggest star of the bunch in the next few years, I would have never said Margot Robbie—or at least I wouldn't have hoped for it.
I even thought my dislike of her—a perfectly fine actress!—could be traced to some sort of internalized misogyny I wasn't ready to admit. I was especially bothered by her "age," out here truthing about her year of her actual birth. No way in hell was she my age. Margot Robbie, born in 1990? Get OUT of here. She had to be at least a decade older, I thought (something I wasn't alone in thinking and enough of an issue that she's addressed it before). But why should I care if a woman looks older than her age, or if she's even lying about it? In fact Margot is, sadly, probably getting more work as a 25-year-old (the age she claims to be) versus if she were a "30-something actress." In which case, I should've been saying: GET IT, GIRL.
Or maybe I was bothered by her sex appeal, kind of like how girls are sometimes distrustful of other girls who are WAY too hot? Was I bothered that she was so much more WOMAN than I ever will be? But I don't think I really get that kind of jealousy with celebrities I don't know in real life. They're supposed to be beacons of unattainable goals! I'm okay with that!
And then The Wolf of Wall Street happened in 2013. Even opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, the Australia-born actress was a firecracker, doing an impossibly believable Bay Ridge accent. It's then I had to begrudgingly come to terms with the fact that Margot Robbie was a thing, and I wouldn't be able to avoid it. I admit that I should have been sold on Margot with Wall Street. Her performance is superb; even with my irrational complaint I can't think of anyone who would have done a much better job. It was a performance that kept her in the "It" circle, even though her next couple years would do nothing for her filmography (Suite Française, Z for Zachariah, and Focus). But a series of "misses" didn't erase her out of relevancy—she was still being featured in Vanity Fair, and handing out an Oscar with Miles Teller last February. I guess that was mostly thanks to the long-lead hype for Suicide Squad (something that's been brewing since last spring before really taking flight in the summer), a DC Comics movie in which she would play a maniacal supervillain.
Then, lest you forgot, It Girl Margot Robbie appeared in a short cameo in the star-studded, critically acclaimed, Oscar-nominated The Big Short at the end of 2015. Her three-or-so-minute screentime was not just a wink to The Wolf of Wall Street (an inescapable comparison as The Big Short is also a comedic, biographical finance film with loud, brash characters) but it posed her as a big shot herself. Director Adam McKay used a breaking-the-fourth-wall method of getting celebrity cameos to explain some of the trickier, finance stuff (without expert jargon) to keep audiences up to speed on what's happening in the story. Selena Gomez and Anthony Bourdain both made easy-to-understand metaphors, and Margot Robbie's explainer was presented while sipped champagne in a bathtub. Whether her explanation made sense, it proved that Margot Robbie was enough of a name to be presented as "Here's Margot Robbie explaining X, Y, Z." It mostly made me roll my eyes, like, of course you get a sexy girl in a tub to talk money. Of course this will sell.
That was a month ago. Now it's January 20, 2016 and I have to admit it: I've come around on Margot Robbie. It wasn't so much a slow burn as it was an overnight sell, thanks to a late-night Suicide Squad trailer drop, something I watched early this morning after seeing excited chatter on my timeline. I'm not a huge comic book person so I didn't really care for the movie before today (plus, present-day Will Smith sounds dubious, I don't know how I feel about Cara Delevingne as an actress, Jared Leto is, like, too much, I really don't need to see Jai Courtney in anything ever again, and well... you already know my thoughts on Margot Robbie). But fuck me was I wrong about Margot Robbie! Her psychopathic I-hear-voices-in-my-head bit is mesmerizing. In however many seconds she appears in the two-and-a-half minute long trailer, she overthrew all my preconceived notions. She's so perfect as Harley—the kind of girl to twirl her hair before ending your life—that she kicks her other squad members out of the spotlight. Next to her, Will Smith's smooth-talking is almost comical, Jai Courtney's acting is too buff (and not in a good way), and Leto doesn't even seem like he was given any direction except "be as over the top as possible." Leto probably should've been watching Robbie and taking notes. And even next to the usual camera-hogging Delevingne, Margot is impossible to take my eyes off of. I'm infatuated.
I know it sounds ridiculous that I'm basing all this on a trailer but it's so good that I even retroactively enjoy her past work (maybe it's a good time to rewatch Wolf?). Even if the movie doesn't end up being that good, I just know Harley Quinn is going to slay. I guess I just needed the right Margot Robbie role to see the light.
(Not that Margot Robbie would give two shits about how I felt about her *sips tea*.)