• Class of 2017: Barbie Ferreira

    With eyes ahead to the new year, we brought together the fresh new faces that are challenging the status quo. Artists, activists, and musicians, our Class of 2017 is forging the path ahead with hope and optimism.

    Barbie Ferreira is changing the way the world think about models. The outspoken 20-year-old champions inclusion and representation for all— regardless of body type. We talked to Barbie about what it means to make an impact and her goals for the coming year. 

    Age: 20 
    Occupation: Model, Actress
    Sign: Sagittarius 
    Senior Superlative: Most Dramatic 

    Can you tell us why you picked your Senior Superlative? 
    In my actual yearbook I got the superlative of most dramatic, which I think is a shady thing to do. Literally in the yearbook, I didn't even have a senior picture but I was voted most dramatic. It actually said “Drama Queen.” It was supposed to be about theatre, but we all know they’re being shady. I’ll take that and I’ll own it. I am the most dramatic. 

    So, who is Barbie Ferreira? 
    I'm a little bit wild, but in weird ways. I'm very loud and very, you know, I talk to people, but I'm actually such an introvert. I hate being surrounded by tons of people since I was a kid. My mom tried to take me to the Brazilian Day Parade, which they have here. It's like millions of Brazilians on one street. I'm like, "No, no, no. Can't do that. Too many people. Too much energy.” I'm just a very outspoken, loud person and happen to be very privileged to be here. 

    Who keeps you going, keeps you working and modeling and just doing what you’re doing? 
    The people that really keep me going are the people that I chat with online, the young girls. I don’t think I would continue to be in this industry, where my looks are everything, if it wasn’t for the fact that, just by being me, I could help someone, even a little bit. Some girls just want representation. 

    I’m not the epitome of representation, but a lot of girls can look to at me and finally see themselves doing something like that. Along with a bunch of other girls, we’re showing that diversity isn’t represented in everyday media, it never has been. It’s always been euro-centric. It’s always been thin. It’s always been straight and cis. It’s just a very small industry and people even think it’s silly of me to think that, to be optimistic that it could be better. But I think it’s really working! I never thought that an industry so deeply rooted in its traditions would be open to letting young people show themselves in different ways. Even just the people here today. It’s hard to find curvy people, people who aren’t gender binary, people of color, all together in a campaign, not just for a niche shoot. I think it happens a lot. It’s like “Okay, you can be curvy, but only if you’re modeling for curvy girls. You can only be excused if you’re modeling plus size.” 

    Can you remember the first time you interacted with someone online that made you feel like you were having an impact? 
    I think on Tumblr, definitely. I was very insecure with myself when I was younger, but I was on Tumblr at 14. I was taking a lot of selfies and had a little following. When I started modelling I finally had a full body picture and people were like, “I didn’t know you were curvy! I thought you were always really thin." There were thousands of comments that were negative, but at the same time I was having these amazing, amazingly written paragraphs from young girls everywhere just like, "Oh my god. I've never seen anything like this. Even just looking at it brings me to tears," and I can relate to that because If I saw a curvy girl on a cover of a magazine or in a movie I would be brought to tears. Like wow, I am allowed to look like this and be beautiful.

    Did you always want to be a model? 
    I always wanted to be an actress and I still do. That’s something I really want to pursue. Acting, weirdly enough, wasn’t as accepting as modeling. Fashion is always looking for the “new” and they’re more up-to-date with what people want to see. In film and theatre, it’s a bit slower. At the time, I wasn’t getting roles because I was tall and had big hips and it just wasn’t going well. But it’s getting better. There are TV shows like Insecure. There's Transparent. All these amazing shows that show different stories. They’re so beautiful and made for everyone, and it really shows that big platforms can have stories of LGBTQ people or people of color or fat girls where being fat isn’t the whole plot. 

    What new ideas do you think will bring people together in the next year? 
    I think the letting go of deeply rooted traditions. Seeing all these different body types, all these different sizes and colors and expressions of self. Just letting go, being open-minded to things and realizing that you can still look chic and not be a traditional euro-centric standard.

    What do you hope for yourself in 2017? 
    I hope to continue being happy. I hope to pursue being the best me that I can be. Now that I'm 20, ugh, I think I'm just gonna start doing things maybe that I don't necessarily want to do like, things just to make myself feel better and be more organized. Be less hard on myself. Stuff like that. Jobs come and go so I just want to make myself feel better that I'm doing something that is worthy.

    What do you hope for the world in 2017? 
    I hope for so much. I hope that people are more outspoken and take action. And are not afraid to go against the status quo, whether that be politically, beauty-wise. Don't be afraid to act on it, and do! Please, if there's something you don't agree with, say something. Bring awareness to it. Don't just accept it for what it is. Especially if you're privileged enough to just let it happen. Be conscious that not everyone has the same privilege. 

    Say something to your generation.
    Honestly, keep doing what you’re doing. We’ve got good heads on our shoulders. Say goodbye to all these stupid rules that we were given. Just keep doing what you’re doing.