Barbie Ferreira Wears Wigs When She’s “Spiraling” and Knows the Power of Beauty

The Euphoria star tells us about her cats, upcoming movie, and shares her favorite beauty products.

Barbie Ferreira, known for her role as Kat in HBO’s Euphoria, has been stepping out in dramatic makeup looks since she was a pre-teen. The 23-year-old actress and model began experimenting with makeup around the age of 10, tuning in alongside millions of others to watch Michelle Phan’s makeup tutorials on YouTube. She would recreate the beauty YouTuber’s looks and then turn them up a notch or two. “I was like 12, wearing blue smokey eyes to school,” Ferreira, spokesperson for BECCA cosmetics, tells HelloGiggles over the phone.

“It was very jarring for a lot of the kids,” she adds, lightheartedly. But for Ferreira, makeup has always been something she’s done for herself. “It was something that I got a lot of creative pleasure from,” she says. “So it was something that was really fun and artistic for me, rather than [being about] looking better.”

Before getting her start in acting, Ferreira spent five years in the beauty and fashion space, getting her foot in the door with an American Apparel modeling gig. She recently posted a throwback ad from the fashion brand, which features a photo of her teen self and a brief description of her, which includes her “hopes to pursue a career in acting.”

When offered the opportunity to become the very first face of BECCA recently, Ferreira says it was a no brainer and adds that she’s been using the brand’s products for years: “I pretty much was just like, yep, I love this brand. I love what it stands for and how it makes its products, so it just felt like destiny.” Ferreira says she likes to work with brands she “morally aligns with” and BECCA—which is cruelty-free, committed to promoting inclusivity, and dedicated to supporting mental health foundations—checks all the boxes.

Right now, Ferreira is really loving the brand’s new Zero line, which includes a No Pigment Foundation (yes, a transparent foundation) and No Pigment Glass Highlighter for Face + Lip. The foundation is a clear, blurring formula that she says is great for that smooth, no-makeup look. But, Ferreira admits, “Of course, when I have a pimple, I’ll use some concealer.” The highlighter, however, is her favorite. “I love a clear gloss highlighter,” she explains. “I mean, I can put it on my lips and cheeks—it gives me that glass-skin look.”

Now, having done acting and campaigns, Ferreira says that they’re two “wildly different things,” and that her comfort still lies in the beauty and fashion space. “Doing campaigns is something I’m more familiar with than acting on screen,” she explains.

Familiar or not, the latter is exactly what Ferreira just did and her first movie, Unpregnant, is set to be released on September 10th via HBO Max. The film is a road-trip narrative following Ferreira’s character and her former best friend, played by Haley Lu Richardson, who’s seeking out an abortion.

When it comes to her experience on Euphoria, Ferreira says the role was a marriage of her passions: makeup and acting. Ferreira’s character, Kat, undergoes a dramatic transformation of appearance after a video of her first time having sex was leaked at her school.

“With Kat, her transformation was so internal and external. You could see her experimenting with different personalities as she’s spiraling and going through all these really traumatic realizations. So, for me, the makeup was so important because it showed an arc.”

Barbie Ferreira

Playing the role, Ferreira says she felt like she was going through all the emotions and the insecurities with Kat. “It was honestly really hard to do the first three episodes where basically, the makeup was made to make me look very teen,” she says, “and like the eyeliner was melting, the pimples were accentuated and it was kind of like, I had to grapple with my own self-image too, and be like, this is part of the character.”

And it wasn’t all acting. When portraying the way Kat changed her external image to reflect her own emotional journey, Ferreira was simply referencing what she knows. “I wear things and present myself in a certain way as a mechanism to deflect my own problems,” she says, “And I really brought that to Kat because I think there’s something about wearing a costume that makes you feel different—there’s something about feeling empowered with the way that you look by drastically changing it.”

While Ferreira loves to experiment with makeup just for the fun of it, she says that the makeup looks she wears are often a telltale sign of how she’s doing emotionally.

“If I’m spiraling, I’m wearing a wig and a really crazy makeup look because that’s just how I disconnect from my daily pressures.”

Barbie Ferreira

One of Ferreira’s biggest stressors at the moment is getting her cats to stop fighting—even over the phone she has to pause twice to separate her fur babies. “I’m sorry, I’m just having some cat problems right now, but I will lock them in a room so I don’t have to deal with their asses,” she explains. In quarantine, however, they’re keeping her company and preventing her from spiraling as much as possible.

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