With a leading role on what’s arguably the buzziest teen show at the moment, Euphoria‘s Barbie Ferreira is definitely one of the brightest young talents these days. So much so, in fact, that the model-turned-actress recently appeared on the digital cover of Who What Wear and spoke to the publication about many topics — most notably body image and the pressure she feels, in her words, “of being a person who ‘loves themselves.'”
Barbie Ferreira talks about body image
If you’re a fan of the HBO series, this might sound familiar. Much like her character, Kat Hernandez, Ferreira has also struggled with how to develop a positive relationship with her body and questioned whether doing so is even possible in the first place. These sentiments are especially reflected in the second episode of season two of Euphoria. There’s a scene in which Kat enters a dreamlike sequence where a group of bikini-clad models and influencers — think: the purportedly “perfect” people that fill social media feeds — parade around her, chanting “love yourself” while also lamenting the beauty ideals set by “white, cis, straight heteronormative standards.” As the whole, well, thing gets increasingly more intense, Kat eventually starts hyperventilating and shouts, “I don’t care about society! I feel like shit!”
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In the hyper-sexualised, drug-influenced world that is Euphoria, this scene might be one of the show’s most relatable moments. After all, you’d likely be hard-pressed to find a person who hasn’t spiralled, even if just slightly, after feeling overwhelmed by the body-related pressures perpetuated on social media. And if you’ve ever wanted to throw your phone into the abyss after seeing one too many messages of empowerment and wisdom from so-called “body-positivity” influencers, Ferreira feels you and hopes the scene’s sardonic sense of self-awareness can help shift the narrative from one of “love yourself” and “smash all beauty standards” to something a bit more realistic.
“I feel like I had a lot of things come up emotionally because of the pandemic, and putting some of that into this season was therapeutic for me,” Ferreira told Who What Wear. “I hope other people [watching] can also feel the same way and release the pressure of being perfect and happy all the time. Because that just doesn’t exist.”
But what about the body positivity movement? Or even the body neutrality movement? Haven’t these helped people not only develop a positive relationship with their body but also encouraged great acceptance of bigger bodies, as well? Not exactly, at least according to Ferreira.
“I think bigger bodies are not as ‘trendy’ as they used to be, which is really sad to me,” she said of present-day body positivity in the recent interview. “But it’s more of a conversation of the fact that we all struggle with self-love, and I don’t think any young person has really figured it out yet.”
As a veritable Gen Z icon with a large internet following since her teen years — see: her 4.2 million (!!) Instagram followers — Ferreira is all too aware of the underlying messages behind the “backhanded compliments” about her body. “It’s not radical for me to be wearing a crop top,” she said in the recent interview. “[Comments like those are] just backhanded compliments. I’ve been doing this since I was 16. I’m 25.” So even though Ferreira’s lived many of her years in the public eye, she’s seemingly over others sharing their feelings about her body with her. (And, FWIW, she has every right to be.)
Being a public figure in a plus-size body means that people often project their own narratives onto her, assuming she loves and is comfortable with her body. “It’s so funny that people just assume that,” she told Who What Wear. “What — did I say that? I never said that. You guys just say that. You posted that on me.”
The TL;DR here? Projecting any sort of narrative onto someone — even if they have millions of Instagram followers or are on TV — who is simply just existing in their body is your business, not their’s. Commenting on someone’s body, health, or appearance can feel hurtful even if you think you’re being well-meaning, and it’s high time to leave all that ish in the past and let people simply live and exist in their own skin.
This story first appeared on www.shape.com
(Main and Feature Image Credit: Getty Images)
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