Vanity Fair's profile of Australian actress Margot Robbie ruffles feather down under

The journalist called Australians "throwback people," comparing them to Americans in 1966

Vanity Fair, Margot Robbie, Rich Cohen, Australia, Legend of Tarzan

Margot Robbie on the cover of August's Vanity Fair magazine [Vanity Fair]

The editor of Vanity Fair might soon be bending over the get the boot from the Australian prime minister – whenever they figure out who that is – thanks to a new profile of former Neighbours actress turned Hollywood it-girl Margot Robbie. A new cover story of the iconic American magazine describes the actress’s countrymen and women as “throwback people,” and claims the Australia is a place where “a dingo really will eat your baby.”

Rich Cohen, a non-fiction writer and co-creator of the now-cancelled HBO flop Vinyl, profiled Robbie ahead of the release of the new Tarzan movie, in which she stars as Jane. The piece has ruffled feathers down under for describing Australia as being similar to the US 50 years ago.

“[Australia is] sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you there for throwback people,” Cohen writes. “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, which makes it a perfect perch from which to study our customs, habits, accents.”

Cohen goes on to describe Robbie in a number of questionable-at-best but largely sexist ways. Claiming she has “lost a kind of purity,” and repeatedly discusses how her looks compare to Audrey Hepburn’s – a comparison made by The Legend of Tarzan producer Jerry Weintraub.

“She is 26 and beautiful, not is that otherworldly, catwalk way, but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance,” Cohen opines, adding “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. To understand her, you should think about what that means.”

The Vanity Fair piece has come under fire from Australians, all keen to explain what being from the country could possibly mean for Robbie.