There are a few rules of thumb to abide by when interviewing a celebrity. One is to be on time and be polite.
Another is not to describe them like a tasty, tasty meal.
The insane Margot Robbie profile in Vanity Fair that is now plastered all over the internet broke every rule, then invented some more just so that it could break them too.
To give you some idea, it opens like this:
America is so far gone, we have to go to Australia to find a girl next door. In case you’ve missed it, her name is Margot Robbie. She is 26 and beautiful, not in that otherworldly, catwalk way but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance. She is blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes. She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character. As I said, she is from Australia.
Someone actually got paid to write that. Someone who thinks you'll forget the first sentence they wrote before you even finish reading the first paragraph.
"She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character." This makes no sense. It means nothing. It turns in on itself, creating an impending sense of doom, which can be scary when you're sad but only in twenty-four hour time.
And what the fuck is "a minor knock-about key, a blue mood, a slow dance"? Personally, I like to think of myself as an augmented third, an Indie feel, a high school disco.
She is tall but only with shoes that make her tall? Holy shit. That was the most inane thing I'd ever read, until I finished the rest of this utterly catastrophic article.
Please keep in mind, someone got paid to write this, then someone edited it. For VANITY FUCKING FAIR.
And not just anyone wrote it. It was Rich Cohen, who has written New York Times bestsellers, had an HBO show that he co-created with Martin Scorcese and Mick freaking Jagger, and apparently believes he can get away with bashing out this kind of sexist and ignorant bullshit for money.
Because that first paragraph is only the tip of a horribly misshapen iceberg.
It's almost impossible to break the piece down into segments that are bad, because reading it is like being in the garbage compactor in Star Wars: it just gets worse and worse, but you can't get away.
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. When everyone here is awake, everyone there is asleep.
Yes, that's how time zones fucking work.
And as an Australian, I can't help but take offence at the idea that I am a throwback person, even though I'm not entirely sure what the shit that actually is.
Also. Also, despite understanding the basics of time differences and the fact that countries are like other countries but different, he seems to have an image of Australia that he produced entirely inside his own deranged mind.
There are no Perth-based soap operas, therefore there are no plot turns to live and die with. That is, unless Australia exists in some kind of horrific purgatory where no one is alive or dead. Which maybe it does for our old mate Rich. Who the fuck knows.
He says Australians watch Australia's Today show like it's some kind of Bizarro version of America, where everyone does things backwards. But dude, Today only overtook Sunrise in the ratings very recently, so don't pretend like you know what's happening. You know nothing about our complex morning viewing habits. Nothing.
Then things take another weirdly offensive turn.
Now and then, she stayed with cousins who lived in the hinterland of the hinterland, where there really were kangaroos and a dingo really will eat your baby. When she talks about it, you see the arid country, the horizon on every side, blue sky, yellow fields. “But I don’t like to talk about it,” she says, because it only “encourages stereotypes."
Yeah, I wonder why she was worried about that.
Mercifully, Margot Robbie then gets some actual words of her own into the article, so we are spared more of Rich's ramblings. Oh, except one detour where he imagines an old friend of his lying in bed wearing a red silk robe.
It's probably better not to ask.
And of course, being ridiculously creepy for no apparent reason, he ends the interview by asking Robbie about her sex scene in The Wolf of Wall Street. You know, the one we all need to know about.
Fortunately, Robbie seizes the opportunity to stand up and leave during an awkward pause.
“Is there any way to prepare?”
“No. Tons of people are watching you.”
“Were you worried you were not going to be able to do it?”
“There isn’t an option. It’s just like, This is what you need to do—get on with it. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can stop doing it.”
“It just seems very awkward.”
“It’s so awkward.”
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.
Yes, she just dropped the mic and wandered off while Rich watched her go.
So two final thoughts:
1) Don't be a goddamn creep when you interview a celebrity. Or if you are, at least don't write about it. Or if you do that, at least mop your saliva off the page when you're done.
2) Australia is a real country that you can learn about from a variety of sources.
Vanity Fair, FFS.
RELATED: Comedians Before They Were Famous