In 2023, the list of bona fide movie stars is surprisingly short. But, there’s no doubt Margot Robbie’s name is right at the top. She’s the funny, feisty and wildly talented leading lady in mega-blockbusters. The Brooklyn accent master. The film producer. The down-to-earth Aussie.
You probably know her from her breakout role in The Wolf of Wall St, where she eclipsed the star power of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill; her take on the chaotic, eccentric Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey; her empathetic embodiment of infamous skating legend Tonya Harding; or her plastic-precision portrayal in the just-released Barbie movie.
She’s dominated the big screen for years. But it’s Robbie’s work behind-the-scenes as a producer where she’s become a powerful advocate for women in Hollywood.
Robbie’s production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, has been dedicated to telling dynamic female stories and bringing together ensembles of female creators since it was created in 2014. Movies like I, Tonya that took on the story of a complicated female protagonist and Promising Young Woman, which features kick-ass female leads and was written and directed by Emerald Fennell.
Through LuckyChap Entertainment, Robbie and her team are making a concerted effort to open more doors for women in Hollywood. But she’s also using her own personal platform to advocate for women’s rights in the industry. She’s been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movements, and through her films, she’s worked to create a safer environment on set.
Speaking to Grazia UK for the premiere of her Golden Globe nominated film, Bombshell, in 2022, Robbie reflected on her own self-education about the prevalence of misogyny in the workplace. “It horrified me just how that particular crime plays in the grey area,” she said. “That’s where it really flourishes when a situation isn’t black and white, and that’s when insidious people like Roger Ailes or Harvey Weinstein take advantage of that grey area.”
And then there’s her influence through fashion, which is now being honoured alongside other female icons in Australia’s national museum of screen culture (ACMI) latest exhibition, ‘Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion’.
Included in the curation is perhaps one of Robbie’s most memorable looks: a Marilyn Monroe-inspired pink jumpsuit seen in Birds of Prey. In the film, Robbie’s character hallucinates a very Harley Quinn-version of the original musical sequence. Where men in tuxedos are replaced by henchmen in leather masks and the feminine pink ensemble is matched with her signature makeup and tattoos.
Designed for the film by Erin Benach, the jumpsuit is a contemporary reimagining of the form-fitting pink dress Marilyn wore in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blonds. When worn by Marilyn, the costume marked a departure from modest styles of the era and introduced the idea that women could be both glamorous and assert control over their image.
On Margot Robbie, the jumpsuit, which features a figure-hugging silhouette, a matching satin bow, and diamond-dripping necklaces, represents a departure from traditional supervillain costumes and conveys the idea that women can be strong and sexy without sacrificing their individuality. That, hell yeah, we can be strong, powerful, complex – and fashionable – all at once.
Want to see this homage to cinematic history for yourself? Now you can thanks to ACMI’s exhibition ‘Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion’, which has the timeless piece on loan from Warner Bros. Corporate Archive.
Alongside Robbie’s iconic outfit, you’ll see costumes worn by the likes of Marlene Dietrich and Tilda Swinton, as well as over 150 unique highlights. Each piece in the exhibition was carefully selected for its significance and contribution to shifting women’s representation on screen. Wander the rooms filled with stories, characters and moments, and be inspired by these women who – like Margot Robbie – have taken the industry in their hands and helped shape a better future for women in Hollywood.
Goddess is open until October 1st at ACMI in Melbourne, before touring internationally. Book your tickets via the link here.