Barbie Ferreira has been one of the biggest breakout stars from HBO’s new hit series, “Euphoria,” paving the way for an accurate representation of body positivity and diversity. She conveys important messages through her character, Kat, and she has used her social media platform and modeling career as an opportunity to create change.
The fashion industry and society in general put so much shame and pressure on women to be a one-size-fits-all image. The truth of the matter is that 67% of women in America are considered plus size, yet clothing brands and the models paraded on the cover of magazines portray a different picture altogether.
Barbie Ferreira participated in an interview with Paper Magazine, in which she spoke on her introduction to the modeling world. “When I was 16 and I started modeling, I was very insecure about myself to the point where I didn’t wear any revealing clothes,” she shared. “Everything was strategically placed on my body to hide my love handles, you know, just very specific. When my first modeling pictures came out, it was totally new to see someone who was a bigger girl in something that wasn’t necessarily a plus size brand.
I remember that moment where it was like the whole world crumbled into itself. Everyone online was being really rude to me, and I was 16 at this point, so I just had no tools to understand. I made a decision that, from now on, I’m going to have to at least try to be the bad b—h that I am and want to be, because I have no other choice.”
Barbie Ferreira is a source of inspiration to many because she radiates self-confidence and self-love in a way that feels genuine and incredibly relatable. Her social media platforms portray a woman who looks and feels like a real human.
Ferreira achieves her high sense of self-worth by not allowing herself to lose sight of who she is in a sea of expectations, pressure and hateful words. She embraces terms like “fat girl” and “plus size” as a form of reclaiming her power. The term “plus size” can be used to create limitations and boundaries for women within the fashion industry, but Ferreira reveals that it has helped her find a community she can finally relate to.
Ferreira’s Instagram account doesn’t promote outrageous diet products or photoshop. Rather, she contradicts the surplus of celebrities who further perpetuate the idea that women must always be in search of beauty. Society teaches women that beauty is something they must seek out and attain, not something that is naturally gifted to them.
On remaining true to herself while being in the spotlight, Barbie Ferreira says, “People can’t pick me apart for things that I am open about. For me, for my Instagram, I keep it very casual, very transparent. I don’t try to put this image out that I’m perfect, because I’m not. I think the only thing that could classify me as a role model is, oh, ‘That girl is living her life — she doesn’t have to be put at this standard of perfection.’”
Barbie Ferreira has devoted her life and blossoming career to being her most authentic self. She perseveres despite what society expects her to be, not just as a woman, but as a model and an actress too. Her professions come with so much pressure to conform, leaving her more vulnerable to scrutiny.
She relives her not-so-pleasant high school experience through Kat on “Euphoria.” Kat is a high school student who starts out the season feeling invisible and powerless amongst her squad of popular, cheerleader friends. She sees them hooking up with guys and having boyfriends — normal parts of life that every young girl is taught they must have. When Kat realizes she is the only one who is not getting the same attention and appreciation, she confronts her insecurities head on. The journey Kat goes through is groundbreaking for TV.
This is not your typical storyline of the bigger girl in school getting bullied by the popular girls until one of the hot football players reveals he has a crush on her, playing the role of Prince Charming and helping her find her confidence and self-love through his admiration.
This narrative seems to be the only one afforded to plus size actresses. They are told their storyline and character arc must only have to do with their body image. This further advances stereotypes and doesn’t let diverse people exist outside their identity. “Euphoria” gives the perfect amount of representation in relation to Kat’s identity, without it becoming the only thing she has to offer.
Kat seeks an online platform as a dominatrix and explores her sexuality in a way that she has complete control. She uses her alias and the online community as a safe space to feel sexy and redefine beauty standards. Viewers see Kat transform on screen after she gains this newfound sense of power.
In the famous scene where Kat flaunts her newfound confidence, red fishnets hug her thighs and tight black belts straddle her waist, accentuating her curves. She struts through the mall, and her catwalk earns her many approving glances. In that moment, Kat has an epiphany — a realization of how much she was previously holding herself back from the world.
“My whole life, all I’ve tried to do is to take up less space,” Kat remembers. “My whole life, I was afraid people were going to find out I was fat, but honestly who gives a s—t. There’s nothing more powerful than a fat girl who doesn’t give a f—k.”
Barbie Ferreira and her character both find power in embracing what makes them different. They don’t hide their flaws because they know this only perpetuates an idea of perfectionism and unattainable images. They are not riddled with insecurity, even though society wants them to be.
Ferreira is bringing sexy back and making it the ultimate hot girl summer by loving herself. It’s time to redefine what is deemed Instagram-worthy and attractive. Self-love is beautiful. Stretch marks and cellulite are natural and gorgeous.
All body types should be celebrated, and Barbie Ferreira is leading the way towards a revolution of young women who are learning to love themselves, despite conditioning in the media. So, follow Ferreira’s lead (and her Instagram account, too).