HBO’s much-talked about Euphoria has been dividing the public since its June debut. The graphic teen drama has been described as provocative, triggering, nihilistic, depressing, and a nightmare ride for parents. But it’s also been called honest, awkward, and relatable.
Zendaya is the central character, Rue, but Euphoria has spawned a few breakout stars in its cast too. One of them is Barbie Ferreira, the actress who plays high school junior, Kat Hernandez. At first, Kat was an average kid, but a video scandal and secret life as a fan-fiction writer changed all that. It’s only season one, but what does Ferreira think of her character’s life and story arc so far?
There are some between parallels between Kat and Ferreira’s lives
Actors often say they draw from real-life experience to prepare for their roles. During an interview for HBO’s unfiltered series, Ferreira said that she tapped into her 16-year-old self as a starting point for Kat’s character. She believes like most people, Kat struggles with insecurity about her appearance and her place in the world. Ferreira, like Kat, said to heck with society’s beauty standards, but that’s only been a beginning for her.
When Ferreira sat down to chat with BUILD about the series, she said she felt an immediate connection to Kat, so much so she felt like she was reading her own life. She saw herself reflected in little things like the way Kat speaks and her love for One Direction, but also her journey with body positivity.
But she also admitted that it caused some uncomfortable memories to surface from her old high school days. In a way, Ferreira views Kat as a form of therapy because she realized she too puts on a tough exterior while internalizing pain. However, the fact remains that she loves the character.
Ferreira learned to understand life in front of a camera
Kat finds empowerment through her sexuality, leading to a complete shift in her personality and behavior. Although the 22-year-old Ferreira doesn’t have experience being a web cam girl with a penchant for BDSM, she’s no stranger to posing for a camera.
She got her start as a curvy model and has used her platform to campaign against body shaming. Through her work in the fashion and beauty fields, Ferreira has been addressing body image issues for women and young girls. Just check out this interview with Teen Vogue.
Additionally, Ferreira shared that she’s not judgmental about sex worker and even knows a few personally. Her work on a series for Vice introduced her to dominatrix women and variety of sexual practices, which also helped to shape her neutral views. When approaching Kat’s turn as a cam girl, Ferreira said:
“She is finding this different world where she’s a sexual being to people and in way when you’re in that kind of state and you’re in high school and no one sees you that way, it’s like the most magical, the power you can feel.”
She loves that Kat reclaimed the term “fat girl”
If you’ve watched the show, then you know that the character is breaking the stereotype about being a designated “fat friend.” Fans are loving that even though Kat has her moments of being mean or shady, she’s not some sidekick trope who’s there to provide comic relief or emotional support to her friends.
When asked about the line, “I’ve been afraid my whole life that people were going to find out I was fat. But honestly, who give a s**t? There’s nothing more powerful than a fat girl who doesn’t give a f**k,” Ferreira said she loved that there was a realization that her size doesn’t matter. It was about Kat taking the word back and her power back.
Her favorite part about Kat? That she’s not being portrayed as some tragic fat girl whose life doesn’t improve until she loses weight. To her, that’s not Kat’s story. It’s about her finding freedom and power. Ferreira believes others love that about Kat too and want to see her win.