On Euphoria, Barbie Ferreira’s Kat Hernandez is done with being told to “love yourself” by an increasingly hollow and commodified body positivity movement, and it turns out Ferreira has thoughts on toxically positive comments about her body, too.
In a new interview with WhoWhatWear, Ferreira praised Euphoria’s commentary on struggles with self-love in the era of social media, and told the magazine she’s tired of the act of simply existing in a larger body being conflated with confidence and empowerment. “It’s not radical for me to be wearing a crop top,” Ferreira said. “[Comments like those are] just backhanded compliments. I’ve been doing this since I was 16. I’m 25.”
Ferreira says she relates to Kat’s struggles with self-acceptance, explaining, “I think bigger bodies are not as ‘trendy’ as they used to be, which is really sad to me. 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.” Despite this reality, the actor says she often faces pressure to be “this person who ‘loves themselves.’”
“It’s so funny that people just assume that,” she said. “What—did I say that? I never said that. … You posted that on me.”
Her comments come as more and more stars are asking their fans to stop making even seemingly positive comments about their bodies, at a time when social media commenters are quick to make plus-size celebrities—or really anyone who isn’t rail-thin—into body positivity icons, often without their consent. This is, as Ferreira suggests, not only extremely weird, but also harmful by reinforcing the idea there’s a right or wrong type of body.
Earlier this week, Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan made a similar request of her fans and followers, writing in an Instagram post that while she recognizes “most people are being nice and not trying to be offensive,” she’s “just one real life human being and it’s really hard to take the weight of thousands of opinions on how you look being sent directly to you every day.”
Like Coughlan, last year, Jonah Hill also explained to fans who “mean well” that “it’s not helpful and doesn’t feel good” to receive comments of any kind on his body. Before Hill, Rebel Wilson questioned why her weight loss received more coverage and media attention than new movies she produced.
On Euphoria, Kat tells the swarm of imagined, influencer-type young women telling her to love herself, “I fucking hate myself!” and “I don’t care about society! I feel like shit!” as she devours a box of Goldfish crackers. Zendaya’s Rue narrates, “At some point recently, the whole world joined a self-help cult and won’t shut the fuck up about it.”
Ferreira told WhoWhatWear that she hopes Euphoria offers some comfort to viewers who might have complicated relationships with their bodies. “I hope other people [watching] can also feel the same way and release the pressure of being perfect and happy all the time,” she said, “because that just doesn’t exist.”