From country girl to Barbie Girl: How Margot Robbie became Hollywood's highest-paid actress

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Margot Robbie's massive Barbie movie salary has made her the highest paid female movie star in Hollywood. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)
Margot Robbie's massive Barbie movie salary has made her the highest paid female movie star in Hollywood. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Margot Robbie is officially the highest-paid female actor in Hollywood thanks to her jaw-dropping salary for the upcoming live-action Barbie movie. 

The 32-year-old actress was paid a whopping $12,5 million (R215m) to star alongside Ryan Gosling in the highly anticipated film, according to Variety's newest list of Hollywood's top earners.

Margot’s latest earnings exceeds her reported $10m (R171m) salary for her last blockbuster, Birds Of Prey, in 2020.

Ryan, who plays Ken to Margot's Barbie, reportedly pocketed the same salary, with the pair ranking an equal 16th on Variety’s list.

The next female actor below Robbie is Millie Bobby Brown, who was paid $10m (R171m ) for her role in Netflix’s Enola Holmes 2.

Tom Cruise, meanwhile, topped the list overall thanks to his blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick, which will earn him in excess of a whopping $100 million (R1,7 billion).

But how did a girl from Australia’s rural hinterland become Hollywood’s top-earning actress?

Margot, who grew up on a farm belonging to her grandparents in Dalby, Queensland, says she has no idea.

“I don’t know how to explain it. My mom asks me all the time, ‘What is it? Where on Earth did it come from? It didn’t come from our family!' I tell her ‘I don’t know. I don’t know!’ I wish there was a nice story.”

Country girl from Down Under

A self-confessed 'country girl' Margot was raised by her mother, Sarie Kessler, a physiotherapist, in and around the small Outback town on Australia's Gold Coast, where most of her extended family worked the land as farmers.

In 2016, the actress told Jetset Magazine that some of her happiest times are "out on the farm hunting wild pigs or riding around on motorbikes".

"People always want to know, 'Did you have kangaroos outside your bedroom window?'" she told Vanity Fair around that time. "I'm like, 'Yes, but none of my other friends did.' Or 'Did you have snakes running around?' And again, 'Yes, in our house, but this isn't an Australian thing.'"

Couch-surfing to success 

After graduating from Somerset College in Queensland, Margot moved to Melbourne, home of Australia's TV industry. Then just 16, she had one student film to her credit and was essentially homeless. 

The aspiring soap star relied on friends to put a roof over her head while she settled in, being careful not to overstay her welcome at any one place. 

"Couch-surfing, that's an art," she told Vanity Fair. Once on her feet, Robbie started cold-calling like crazy. "I called every day, and, eventually, one day, they put me through to Jan Russ, a producer for Neighbours," she said. "I went in and she was like, 'How old are you?' 'Seventeen.' And she says, 'We're casting for a 17-year-old girl right now.'" 

Within weeks, she made her debut on the soap, as Donna Freedman, and joined the ranks of fellow A-listers Russell Crowe, Kylie Minogue, Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts, who also started out on the popular Aussie soap.

Margot Robbie at the Logie Awards in Melbourne, Australia, in 2009. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)
Margot Robbie at the Logie Awards in Melbourne, Australia, in 2009. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Scorcese comes calling

After leaving the soap in 2010, Margot went to the USA and immediately landed a role on a TV show about air stewardesses working for Pan American Airlines in the 1960s. Pan Am was cancelled after one season but it was enough to give the actress her big break – an audition for Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street.

The audition reportedly didn't start too well for her, because she was caught off guard by co-star Leonardo DiCaprio’s ad-libbing. Worried that she was letting a life-changing role slip away, she did some ad-libbing of her own.

"I walk up really close to his face and then I'm like, 'Maybe I should kiss him, when else am I ever going to get a chance to kiss Leo DiCaprio, ever?' But another part of my brain clicks and I just go – Whack! I hit him in the face, and then I scream, 'F**k you!' And that's not in the script at all." 

Scorsese and DiCaprio both loved it, and the little-known Australian actress was cast in what would be her career-making role. 

Margot's breakthrough role was playing Naomi Lapaglia in 2013 hit film, Wolf of Wall Street. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)
Margot's breakthrough role was playing Naomi Lapaglia in 2013 hit film, Wolf of Wall Street. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

She’s a Barbie girl

News of Margot’s earnings in the upcoming Barbie live-action film, which is based on the Mattel doll line, comes just days after the the movie wrapped production after four months of filming.

Robbie has long been attached to playing Barbie on the big screen and promised that the movie will be very different to what people may be expecting.

"Something like Barbie where the IP [intellectual property], the name itself, people immediately have an idea of, "Oh Margot is playing Barbie, I know what that is", but our goal is to be like, 'Whatever you're thinking, we're going to give you something totally different – the thing you didn't know you wanted."

Margot and Ryan Gosling are set to appear as Barbi
Margot and Ryan Gosling are set to appear as Barbie and Ken in an upcoming romantic comedy. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

The former Neighbours star is hoping to provoke "thoughtful conversations" with the film.

"Now, can we truly honour the IP and the fan base and also surprise people. Because if we can do all that and provoke a thoughtful conversation, then we're really firing on all cylinders."

A synopsis of the film reads: "A doll living in 'Barbieland' is expelled for not being perfect enough and sets off on an adventure in the real world. A live-action feature film based on the popular line of Barbie toys."

SOURCES: VOGUE.COM, VARIETY.COM, PEOPLE.COM, HARPERSBAZAAR.COM, TAUSTRALIA.COM.AU, GRAZIADAILY.CO.UK, DAILYMAIL.CO.UK

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