When you type the name “Cobie Smulders” into Google, the autocomplete feature gives you some excellent suggestions. For instance, “Cobie Smulders hot.” Hard to argue with that. And after that, “Cobie Smulders feet.” Her feet?
“My sister-in-law told me about that,” says Cobie when asked about this phenomenon (proving it’s not just my search history, thank God). “It’s so odd to me, because I hate my feet. I think they’re ugly. I make it a point to hide them when I go out publicly.” Maybe that’s the cause: Her feet are seen as forbidden fruit? “Yes, it’s a mystery. America wants to see them.”
As a thorough journalist, I looked at Cobie Smulders’s feet on Google image search and didn’t find them ugly at all. Nice toes, solid arch. I tell her this.
“That’s very kind of you,” she says. “I don’t understand the foot-fetish thing. I don’t know what you’re supposed to do with feet. They’re just to get you from one place to another.”
Cobie is Skyping with me during a week off from filming How I Met Your Mother , which ends its nine-year run this month. Her fabled feet are out of my line of vision, but what I can see of her is highly un-ugly: She’s in a gray tank top and minimal make- up, and is sporting slightly mussed, just-out-of-the-shower hair.
She points out it’s her first Skype interview, and it’s kind of strange. “We’re doing an interview now, and both of us could be wearing no pants,” she says. “I’m wearing sweatpants. Or no pants. I’ll leave that as a mystery.” In case you’re wondering, I am wearing pants. Also boxer briefs.
Feet aside, here’s what we know about Smulders: She was a teen model, but hated it. She is thirty-one years old and lives in a bungalow in Venice Beach, California, with her husband, Taran Killam, from Saturday Night Live (he does the Eminem and Pee-wee Herman impressions) and their four-year-old daughter. She has an admittedly bizarre fondness for the colour grey. (“It’s because I grew up in Vancouver, and it just rained all the time.”) She’s a fan of scuba diving, prefers salty to sweet, and is half-Dutch. (When she was eight, she went on a family trip to Holland, where she toured the Red Light District, which she realises sounds strange now that she says it.) And she had a small role on The L Word in which she flirted with Jennifer Beals’s character, but there was “no smooching.”
In April, Cobie appears in Captain America: The Winter Soldier , reprising her role in The Avengers as the tight-suited, efficient agent Maria Hill. But her best-known character thus far is Robin Scherbatsky, a TV news reporter and the fiancée of Barney, the bastard with a heart of gold played by Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother .
Thanks to Google, I found a list called “Fifty Facts About Robin.” I choose a handful and ask how the real Cobie compares. Fact number 2: Robin has an affinity for Scotch and cigars. “I like Scotch,” says Cobie. “And I like the smell of cigars.” But not to smoke? “I got really turned off from smoking them, because whenever I smoked them for the show, it would always be the first scene of the day, like 8:30 in the morning.” Did she get sick? “I’ve definitely thrown up once. The other times I was able to keep my turkey bacon down.”
Fact number 33: Robin is from Canada but isn’t aware of her accent until someone points out she says “sore-y.” “I have an accent if you give me a couple of beers,” says Cobie. “Then it’s full-blown. Like I’m from Saskatchewan, which is the country, the deep North.”
Fact number 24: Robin never said “I love you” to a man until she was twenty-six years old. “No. As my mother says, I was melodramatic at a very young age. I fell in love dozens of times before I even understood what the concept of love was. I was boy crazy.” There is one fact about Robin that only Cobie and a few other people know: the fate of Robin’s love life. With several weeks left to film the show, she overcame her Canadian politeness and asked, straight out, what happens. And “over some really bad kitchen pizza,” co-creator Craig Thomas told her how the show ends. “He said none of the other cast knows.” So . . . what happens? She gives nary a spoiler, except to say it was emotional for her. “I lost it. I had to leave.” As in weeping? “I totally lost it.” We trust it was a happy, emotional-release-type crying, and not mourning that Robin dies of a poisoned Tim Hortons doughnut. But whatever happens to Robin, thankfully we still have Cobie. And her possibly glorious, enigmatic feet.