Die-Hard Rangers Fan Margot Robbie Is Learning How to Figure Skate to Play Tonya Harding

The actress really likes ice hockey, but she’s terrible at it.

Photo by Matthias Vriens-McGrath

Actress Margot Robbie always chooses a signature fragrance for each character she plays. Right now, though, she’s wearing the peppery rose and jasmine scent Calvin Klein Deep Euphoria, and that suits her fine in real life. In her next role, as the legendary figure skater Tonya Harding, who is best known for her involvement in attacking fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan at the Olympics, she may have to find something more suitable. For now, she’s concentrating on mastering her triple salchow, and attending Rangers games for inspiration.

I saw you on the Madison Square Garden Jumbotron last night. Were you at the Rangers game?

No, my husband was watching. He said, “Honey, there’s Margot Robbie.” And I thought, Good opener Every time we go to a game, at the start, my agent always reminds me, “You know they photograph you at the game, so just remember that.” So, I’m like, “Keep it cool, it’s all good.” That lasts for the first two periods, but by the third period, I’m just like “ARGH!” I just get so into it. And then I saw the pictures today, and I’m like, “I look like a psychopath. Great.”

But you’re a big hockey fan and you play right wing? Yeah. I don’t want to be misleading and make you think I’m really good at ice hockey. I’m terrible, but I really like it.

How’d you get into it? I’d always wanted to play when I was a kid, but I grew up in the Gold Coast, which is a super tropical place in Australia, and there was no ice hockey so I played field hockey instead. Then when I moved to America, I joined a league but I didn’t know how to ice skate. I just basically ran around on the ice, but I had so much padding on that it didn’t really matter. You couldn’t hurt yourself if you tried, at least not when you’re playing in an amateur league. But I love it; it’s wicked fun. But as soon as I’m contracted to a job, I can’t play anymore because for insurance purposes, you can’t skate. When I was contracted to “Pan Am,” I couldn’t play, but when that was over I could. Then I got “Wolf of Wall Street,” so I was under contract again. If you’re fortunate enough to be working, you really only have little pockets when you’re not insured for anything. So you can’t sky dive, or do anything that would potentially harm you.

So are you playing now, or are you under contract? Well, funnily enough, I am training at the moment to be Tonya Harding, so I’m learning how to figure skate. And they’re like, “So, you’re going to be good right? Because you play ice hockey.” And I had to tell them I wasn’t very good, plus hockey skates and figure skates are totally different. And now I realize as I’m trying to learn is, wow, I never really skated. I just ran around on the ice and just smashed into the barriers. I didn’t really know how to stop; I’d just sprint. And now that I don’t have all that padding on, it’s terrifying so I have to be a lot more careful learning. You try to be more technically accurate. I’m producing it as well, so we’ve been a part of it longer than if I’d just been acting in it. We start shooting in January.

Were you obsessed with the Harding-Kerrigan story like most Americans were? I didn’t really know the story. I was four in 1994 when the incident happened, and we didn’t really watch TV, so I was really removed from it. But everyone tells me they were obsessed with the story. When I read the script, I didn’t even know it was true. Then I started researching it.

Did you meet her? I haven’t yet, but I think I’m going to. She gave her life rights, so she’s aware of the project. I don’t know if she’s read this version of the script, but it’s based off an interview she gave, so she’s pretty aware of everything she said and how the story’s going to go. So from finishing my last job, which was the A.A.Milne project in London, which I finished on Halloween, all I have is November and December to train so I’ve just started and it’s really hard. Really, really, really, really hard. Hopefully, I’ll be good enough in time.

Who’s training you? A woman named Sarah Kawahara. She’s done choreography for other movies, like “Blades of Glory,” and choreographed Nancy Kerrigan back in the day.

Isn’t that ironic. She was in that whole world when that was happening. She’s pretty ingrained in the figure skating industry. She’s really, really good, but I am clearly a challenging project for her. She’s used to working with brilliant skaters, and I’m like, “How do I go backwards again?” But I just managed to do backwards crossovers, so I’m excited about that. I wish I’d learned as a kid. Learning at 26 is entirely different.

I think that’s true of every sport, because you have no fear, your center of gravity is lower. Nothing hurts as much. You just bounce back. But it’s the fear. It’s the hardest thing. I’m trying to get on my outside edges and I’m like, “I understand everything you’re telling me to do, but my body is telling me NOT to lean into the ice because I’ll hurt myself.”

But do you have an affinity for speed? I do, like when I played hockey, I’d just go as fast as possible. But that’s when I had all the padding. Now that I don’t, my knees start to shake and I get really nervous. And I’m flying and thinking, when I hit the ground, it’s going to hurt that much more. It’s the shock of the impact that’s more confronting than the actual impact.

Maybe your coach just needs to say, You’re fine! So tell me about the shooting of the ad for Deep Euphoria with Francis Lawrence. It was great working with him because he’s a film director who works with actors all the time. It was better than if I do a fashion shoot, which is rare, I always feel weird and out of place because I never modeled. It’s a skill set. When we were doing a photo shoot promoting “Suicide Squad,” I’d just watch how Cara [Delevingne] worked. She’s on immediately, she knows her angles, she can get all the looks done in no time at all. And then you watch an actor do it and they’re like…it’s not the same thing. It’s just being out of the element. When I walk into a film set, I feel at home, so I feel confident doing what I’m doing. I know everyone’s jobs and where all the equipment is and everything that’s happening. I feel like I belong there.

Photo by Matthias Vriens-McGrath.

Let’s talk about the fragrance. What do you love most about it? I love that I genuinely like to wear it, so I don’t have to lie when I do press for it! That was always my biggest concern whenever any endorsement opportunity came up. I wouldn’t want to feel like a fraud, sitting there, telling people, “This is what I wear” when I actually don’t. And then this came up. I love Calvin Klein, I always have. The women in my family wear Calvin Klein perfumes. It’s something that I genuinely can like and talk about. So it’s perfect. It’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. And then I smelled the perfume!

And…? They never said, “You need to wear it” or anything like that, but they gave me the sample bottle to take home, and I just kept wearing it and it became my perfume. And then I used it for one of the characters I played earlier in the year. I pick a perfume for all of my characters.

You do? Yeah, I find it really helpful. I’ve started asking other actors if they do that, too. And some do.

What did you wear for “Suicide Squad?” I bought one of the tackiest ones I could find in a strip mall. It was sickly sweet, really overbearing and it came in, like, a skull bottle. I said, “That’s Holly. That’s perfect.”

What did you wear for “Wolf of Wall Street”? For “Wolf,” I wore this perfume that I had. Guys always commented on it; not girls. Guys. For some reason, it just clicked for guys, so that’s what I wore.

“Big Short?” I was in the bathtub, so I actually didn’t wear a perfume.

You were also just being yourself. Yeah, so I didn’t really have a character to scent.

What Calvin fragrances did your family wear? Four of the women in my family wore Calvin. My mom wore CK1. There have been a couple Obsession lovers. Mes wears Obsession.

Who’s “Mes”? My Auntie Mary Ann. It’s funny; all the women in my family have a Calvin perfume.

And now you have one, too! Do you remember the first fragrance you wore and how you got it? My first proper boyfriend bought me my first perfume and I had never owned a proper perfume before.

And you were about how old? I was 17, so I felt very grown up having my own perfume. I saved it and I only wore it on super, super, super special occasions. So three years later, I started making some money so I could buy my own perfume and I was like, “I’ve never used this perfume. It’s completely full and now it’s probably wasted.”

What did it smell like? I can’t even remember! I barely wore it!

Who colors your hair? Someone different every time, and often it’s on set, so it ends up being whoever the person working on hair will do it.

Color and cut? Yeah. I used to cut my own hair. As a matter of fact, I went through a real goth phase where I’d only cut my hair with a razor blade. It was so stupid. And now I can barely keep my hair on my head because someone’s coloring it all the time, heaping it with products. And, to think, I used to razor my hair! What an idiot! I’d do anything to have healthy hair again.

Your hair looks pretty great. It’s got fake hair in it. They put extensions in. I’d die without extensions.

Please tell me that’s not off the record… Oh, you can include it. I don’t care.

What beauty products are always in your purse? Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm. I’m obsessed. I use it to give my lips a hint of color.

What shade? Rose. And then I use, this is going to sound weird, but what I’ve used as lip balm my whole life is Bepanthen. It’s nipple cream. It’s an antiseptic. I’ve always used it as lip balm and my friends always know I have it. They’re like, “Nipple cream?” “Yeah, nipple cream.” It’s obviously confusing for other people, who are like, “You’re putting nipple cream on your lips??” Long story…

What are you currently obsessed with? “Fleabag!” Have you heard of it? Oh my god, you have to watch it. It’s on BBC1 and I think Amazon just bought it. It’s this comedic actress who’s created the show and she’s fucking hilarious. She just breaks the fourth wall all the time. It’s a very non-sugar coated version of how women talk. It’s hilarious. It’s pretty fucking dark but it’s very funny.

Watch Margot Robbie do her best Marlon Brando impression: