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In Bed with Barbie: An Interview with Barbara Ferreira,
the Modeling Queen of Social Media

Babs, Barbs, and Barbie are just some of the many names model Barbara Ferreira is known by to friends, family, and most importantly her multitudes of social media followers (who also address her ‘mom’). A classically unclassic beauty, Barbara Ferreira has a radiating personality that comes once in a lifetime. Though her filtering comes in short supply, inappropriate she is surely not.  Instead Barbie is raw, candid, and vocal, a cluster of qualities that can be lacking in an industry where models are expected to be complicit and quiet to the demands of the powers that be.

Those faintly familiar with Barbie will recognize her as the outspoken twitter-famed model turned hat entrepreneur who ritually soaks in her bathtub as she talks to her camera (and hundreds of thousands of followers who tune in for her averaged 200 second snapchats nightly, a number quite high for us young adults who barely have the attention span of a full six-second vine). Over a plate of her new favorite goat cheese salad, we began discussing life, love, and “staying woke” amongst other things, with many a Yassssssssssss and I fux with it thrown in between.

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Her path from suburbian high schooler to model/entrepreneur/internet icon

I had a very different childhood than where I am right now. I was so different, I was a very dark child. I was very insecure about my body and that really took a big toll on me my whole life.

I feel like I put a lot of good energy into the world and people pick up on it. I never expected any of this to happen. I just go where the wind takes me. Every day is a new thing, I’m very blessed.

Her oddest moment

I have no chill on twitter sometimes and I really should. I feel like I grew up like that, if you’re going to say something to me, I have to say something back. It is really hard not answering people but I did answer this kid, for maybe 5 minutes and then I deleted the tweets! The Daily Mail picked up on it like ‘PLUS SIZE MODEL BARBARA FERREIRA LASHES BACK AT ONLINE HATE.’ I just hate that I answer people and then I fuel that and then they write about it and stuff. That was a weird moment for me, I was like why do people care?

Her outlook on style

Cheap and comfortable! I just feel like I invest my money in other things. Yesterday I was like I’m going to buy a $2,000 sphinx cat! Clothes to me don’t matter because I feel like it just gets too old too quick. I buy things, I get puppy shirts, so I don’t have to worry about it getting old or corny.

Her style icon

Rihanna. Rihanna is kind of my everything icon, if you ask me about anything, ‘it’ll be like who is your blank?’ I don’t care, Rihanna, she’s my icon.

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Her relationship with her followers and the internet

I grew up with it, I grew up with a laptop when I was 10 years old because I didn’t have any other friends and as an only child. My mom got me a laptop, I played a lot of games… I would wake up in the morning and go on Runescape, like ‘I have to go kill some dragons.’ I talk to my followers a lot. I’ll be at home a lot, all day alone. I answer snapchats, I answer messages, I read everything. I read all my messages on Tumblr, I try to watch my snapchats, but I definitely have a very close relationship with them. I feel like it’s just me growing up. Now I fux with Instagram… yassssss.

On her nightly snapchat episodes

They used to be like 1000 seconds. I don’t like posting videos of myself because I don’t like editing it. I don’t like watching myself, I’ll just end up hating it. Snapchat is very instant, you just put it out there. I saw this Miami club promoter. She had looong snapchat stories. But her life was lit! She’d be having parties. Most of the time I’m just in my bathtub but she would be with Skrillex like ‘yeah we’re partying!’ I thought if she could make a really long snapchat story like that, I’m gonna do it. But since I’m at home and not having fun and not getting lit, I’m just going to be in my bathtub talking shit.

People put out this image of themselves that is just super perfect and I think that is not how you are all day. I think being that real [on snapchat], I guess I’m not even thinking about it, I’m just like [makes face] *double chin*— I think it’s kind of important, because a lot of people don’t do that, they care too much about being ugly.

Mixing real life with social media

Oh my god I’ve had so many guys see my snapchat stories. I dated this one guy and one day I was talking shit about boys and  I got an immediate text. He was like, ‘why you talking shit about me on text?’ I was like *hair flip emoji*.

Her opinion on the anti-social media movement

It’s not that serious. People take everything so seriously, who cares! Don’t use it! I don’t get it!

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Relationship deal-breakers

Being sexist or racist tells a lot about someone. You could be the most gorgeous person and there have been guys who are too perfect, fucking gorgeous and then they’ll say something that’s just so stupid! I’m like, ‘how is this person going to say that?’ And it just ruins it for me.

Educating herself on social issues 

I grew up around all walks of life, I have such a diverse family , so I’ve always been extra sensitive. I grew up with my aunt who’s gay, I’ve had trans friends, and so on. I feel like I learn a lot through the internet, I learn a lot more than I would without it, and I think the difference is that I’d completely ignore and think it’s not a real thing. [Social justice] is a super real thing, even if it’s on the internet.

Her personal definition of feminism

I think feminism is just such a simple statement, it carries so much weight. If you think girls are equal to men? That’s feminism. I don’t see why people are so scared of it.

On body image

When I was younger I was very chubby and I wasn’t that cute. I told my self I wanted to act by 16, so I thought that I would have to lose some weight. I was still hating myself so much at the lowest weight I’ve ever been. I thought I was still fat at a weight way less than I am right now. If I actually appreciated that and saw myself for what I was, I would be so different. I wanted so badly to love my body that I couldn’t! To this day I’ll have my anxiety attack like ‘OH MY GOD I AM THE FATTEST PERSON’ but now I get over it really quickly.

How modeling affected her confidence

When I first started modeling and my first American Apparel picture came out, seeing someone who had rolls and wasn’t airbrushed to the max was such a new thing that I got so much hate. I was barely 16, I’m in high school, I’ve got a great opportunity and there’s 10,000 notes on Tumblr saying ‘she looks like she eats taco bell all day!’ And usually I would just laugh, but at the beginning I took it to so hard my mom didn’t want to let me model anymore. I didn’t leave the room for like a week. I never had a picture of my body up, that’s how insecure I was with my body. As it kept going, I realized, what am I going to do? What am I going to do about it? You think I’m fat? I’m still rocking it.

The changing relationship between the plus-size community and the fashion industry

They’re starting to realize that there are different types of beauty in the world. If they took a chance, it would be hot. They’re too scared to change what’s been happening for so long. Jean Paul Gaultier in the 80’s had people of all shapes and sizes! Today, it’s so strict that it’s boring, seeing that skinny, white model that’s 6 feet tall. They’re all beautiful, but when there’s just one type of beauty that gets so boring to me. There’s this notion that plus-size girls can’t be edgy and cool, and that is so stupid.

Her message for young girls hoping to follow in her footsteps

There is nothing you can’t do because of your body.

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On being the internet’s favorite hat entrepreneur

People would always ask me about my hats too, so one day I was like fuck it, I’m going to make a hat. I made hats that I want to wear and go with my outfits, that other people can also join in on. But you have to stay tuned to find out more… Barbie Club is not just hats.

Where she sees herself in the future

I feel like I change every day, but I’m not going to settle for anything less than extreme success, that’s just how I think. As much as I joke about wanting an apartment and dogs, I want to win a fucking Oscar, I don’t care. If I dream big, aiming that high, what’s going to happen? I’m going to get a little bit less than that? I get a BAFTA or an Emmy instead, poor thing. I want to act, I really do.

Barbara’s WILD wish

My WILD wish… I gotta think of a smart and quirky thing to say. My WILD wish is… I want to be in a pool of puppies.

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Model: Barbara Ferreira @ Wilhelmina Curve
Photographer: Camilo Fuentealba
Style: Claudia Cifu
Hair: Kabuto Okuzawa
Makeup: Megumi Onishi

Special thanks to Dorothea Lucaci

text by: Jennie Neufeld

photography by: Camilo Fuentealba

styling by: Claudia Cifu










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