Barbie Ferreira Gets Candid About the Illusion of Confidence and "Toxic" Body Positivity Culture

"I don't want everyone to just focus on the fact that I'm confident, because I'm not."

Barbie Ferreira x YSL Interview
Photo: Courtesy/YSL Beauty/Amy Troost

When I jumped on a Zoom call with Barbie Ferreira, she was hanging out in her New York City hotel room dressed in a graphic T-shirt, glasses, and a bare face. It was cozy and appropriate attire for a rainy Friday afternoon.

Once we started talking, I was comforted by her warm and casual demeanor, which set the stage for a candid conversation about beauty, confidence, her exciting new partnership with YSL Beauty, and of course, Euphoria.

For those whose Sunday night rituals don't include watching the show, Ferreira plays the role of Kat Hernandez, a self-conscious teenager who, in season one, secretly becomes an online dominatrix after being involved in a sex tape scandal. The character who once walked around with her head tucked into her books, feeling crappy about her self-image, suddenly undergoes a complete identity change and starts wearing sexy clothing, bold makeup, and most importantly, has a confident new attitude.

"I think that her defensive mechanism was portraying this rigid, nihilistic, kind of femme goddess, which is obviously not what she was feeling inside," Ferreira tells InStyle. "I think now in season two, it's more of the reasoning behind her sadness and depression and what's happening internally with her."

In season two of the hit series, which recently debuted on Jan. 9, there's one scene in the second episode where viewers really get a glimpse into Kat's inner psyche. Here, Kat is lying in her bed, self-loathing, and watching YouTube videos when suddenly she's bombarded by a group of influencers aggressively yelling at her to just "love yourself!" Kat panics and becomes visibly overwhelmed by the influencers' shallow attempts to make her feel better.

While this may have been a figment of Kat's imagination, the feelings and pressures depicted in this clip from the body positivity conversation on social media were very real and relatable for many, including Ferreira.

"I think for me that scene was incredibly personal because I've been in that toxic positivity space, and it was really detrimental to my mental health a lot of the time," she says. "I don't want everyone to just focus on the fact that I'm confident, because I'm not. If you're not the norm, in Hollywood or fashion, you're automatically seen as a brave person, which I think is very offensive, and I think it's hard to always be put in that box and have this pressure to be happy with yourself at a young age."

She further explains that the pressures are difficult to cope with, considering confidence isn't a stagnant state of being, it's more so ebbs and flows. "I just keep going, and hopefully, one day people will stop focusing on that," says Ferreira.

VIDEO: Euphoria's Barbie Ferreira Is Keeping the Ginger Hair Trend Alive

On the days she does feel the most confident, however, the actress admits she probably isn't wearing much makeup. "I used to be a big full face of makeup girl that I would do myself, but I think, especially in the past few years with traveling and working, I like to wear things that let my skin breathe," she says. "I'm pretty much a lash girl and a tinted moisturizer if my skin isn't cooperating."

One of her go-to mascaras? YSL Beauty's Lash Clash — and the actress is the brand's newest muse for its latest launch. "I have deep-set eyes, so mascara gives it that bouncy look, and Lash Clash is really good at volume, which is usually what I look for," she says.

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Some other go-to beauty practices Ferreira says keep her feeling her best are using ice globes, electromagnetic devices, and plain ol' steaming. "Steaming is my thing," she explains. "I love a good moisturizing steam because I have really dry skin, and my face and body respond well to steam."

Overall, though, Ferreira doesn't stick to any rigid beauty regimens. She's all about making her own rules and doing whatever feels good for her in the moment, especially when it comes to her style. "I love playing around with different decades and vintage stuff," says Ferreira, who shares she likes to merge '90s and '70s trends with a hint of the Y2K aesthetic. "I like to mix and match because I know everything comes and goes into fashion, so you kind of have to make your [own] trends and aesthetics."

We love a trailblazing (and relatable) queen.

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