Margot Robbie likes to float. Not in a driftery kind of way. Her career choices, from blockbuster films like Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood to her latest role as the face of Chanel’s new Gabrielle Chanel Essence fragrance, are the definition of solid. But when Robbie needs a moment to herself, she plunges into the nearest body of water and turns it into a personal sensory-deprivation chamber.
“I’ll jump in, float underwater, and I’m so happy,” she says. “That’s where I’m most comfortable and content, whenever I’m in the water. Pool, ocean, river, hot tub, I don’t care.”
And can anyone blame her for dipping out for a minute or two? Promoting the Tarantino film required her to pinball around the world in a grand array of looks. “It can all feel overwhelming,” she says of the sometimes rowdy red-carpet experience. “There’s a lot of yelling and screaming and things happening in the moment, and sometimes you can’t really brace yourself for it. But if you adjust your mind-set to receive that attention as people being excited, then you can embrace the enthusiasm. What a luxury it is to have people paying attention to your film. If no one cared, that would be crushing.”
This gracious attitude toward fame is likely one of the reasons makeup artist Pati Dubroff calls Robbie “a walking ray of sunshine.” Robbie collaborated with a holy trinity of image-makers — Dubroff, stylist Kate Young, and hairstylist Bryce Scarlett — to dream up her recent looks with tactical precision, taking into account the role, vibe, and specific color palettes. But, according to Dubroff, it’s Robbie’s willingness to play along that makes her look timeless rather than costumey. “She’s like a supermodel in her ability to transform with beauty,” Dubroff says. “One of my favorite looks is from the New York première of Suicide Squad, when she wore the Alexander McQueen dress with the unicorn on it. She had on black lipstick and just looked so cool. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with an actress who can take such a broad range of references and make them all work.”
No doubt that metamorphic quality caught the eye of Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who photographed Robbie for the brand’s Coco Neige campaign in 2018. “We drank wine and had a three-course meal and I think did more hanging out and chatting than taking photos,” Robbie recalls. “The idea that the companionship came before the photos is just not what I was expecting at all. It’s one of my lasting memories of Karl: this chilled-out, lovely guy on set who just enjoyed the people he worked with.” When the opportunity arose for Robbie to be the face of Gabrielle Chanel Essence, she happily joined the icons who posed before her: Catherine Deneuve, Vanessa Paradis, and Nicole Kidman, to name a few. “Growing up, I definitely never thought that could be me,” she says, laughing. “I always saw it as the ultimate level of elegance.”
So while the Aussie continues to dive into one role after another — next up is Bombshell, about the fall of Fox News executive Roger Ailes, in December — Robbie can rely on a few of her pal Dubroff’s beauty tricks to keep her face looking dewy-fresh.
“My husband [Tom Ackerley] thinks I’m a lunatic every time I’m like, ‘Oh, Pati told me about this new gadget,’ ” she says. “I’ll put a sheet mask on and look terrifying, like Michael Myers from those Halloween movies. Or I’ll roll these little refrigerated glass orbs filled with liquid under my eyes, which feel so nice. My husband scoffs, but if he has a hangover, I’ll be like, ‘You want a sheet mask, don’t you?’ and he’ll be like, ‘Yes!’ ”
For more stories like this, pick up the October issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Sept. 20.