Margot Robbie W Magazine December 2014 Water DrowningWe know that December magazine covers almost always feature sparkly dresses and jewelry and ways to reference the holidays and new year without getting into tacky red velour and furry white trim territory. W magazine ditched the festive glamour and went in a completely different direction. The December 2014 cover star, Margot Robbie, is posing completely underwater, like a gorgeous fish, with air bubbles and all.

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The cover certainly brings new meaning to the phrase “emerging talent.” (I’m sorry, I had to, and W did do it first.) And no, this isn’t just some very clever use of Photoshop. The cover was shot by artist Bill Viola, who has completed a series of underwater works. Margot’s shoot involved a water tank and her practicing in a bath tub to channel her best Ophelia.

The resulting cover is creepy, but actually quite cool. When I first saw the cover, I couldn’t believe that was really Margot Robbie since she looks so very different than her usual glamorous self. Then I couldn’t believe that it was an underwater shot. Not only is it completely different from the zillion cheery holiday covers on newsstands, but it’s different from any regular magazine cover. Yes, I know that she looks like she’s drowning, and her gorgeous Donna Karan New York dress is probably ruined, but it’s captivating. It doesn’t make me want to start my holiday shopping, but it does make me want to cut out the picture and frame it, therefore, it is a success to me.

Check out W Magazine to see more of Margot Robbie’s story.

(Photo: Bill Viola/W Magazine)