[Trigger warning: Mentions of abuse and body image struggles.]
East Highlands High will never be the same again. ICYMI, we’re bidding farewell to Barbie Ferreira as she officially leaves the cast in the upcoming third season of HBO’s “Euphoria.” She played the character Kat Hernandez (a.k.a. “Thunder-Kit-Kat”) in the show.
“After four years of getting to embody the most special and enigmatic character, Kat, I’m having to say a very teary-eyed goodbye,” Barbie wrote on her Instagram Story on Aug. 25. “I hope many of you could see yourself in her like I did and that she brought you joy to see her journey into the character she is today. I put all my care and love into her and I hope you guys could feel it. Love you Katherine Hernandez.”
In the series, we follow Kat as she navigates different relationships: with her boyfriend Ethan Daley (Austin Abrams) and high school besties Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie), Cassie Howard (Sydney Sweeney), Barbara Brookes (Sophia Rose Wilson), and Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer). Her character in the past two seasons also introduced us to her being a beacon of body neutrality, personality changes, and struggles with relationships and individuality—as well as her imperfections and mistakes while going through teenhood.
Getting to know more about Kat, Barbie said in an interview with a fashion website that her character in the second season is all about her “feeling the repercussions of [her actions] and like a victim of a lot of trauma.” She added, “She’s trying to figure out her way into her sexuality and her confidence. I think it was a façade that even she didn’t really believe in.”
Before Barbie drops out of Euphoria High, here are her iconic moments as Kat we’ll never forget:
A queen of real talk
After Maddy Perez and Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi)—a.k.a. the perfect representation of toxic masculinity, sorry not sorry—broke up, Kat calls Nate a loser to help Maddy get over him. “You’re hot as fuck, Nate’s a loser. Who cares? All dicks are losers,” Kat tells her friend.
Kat had good reason to call out Nate: The couple had been in an on-and-off relationship that was far from healthy. In the first season, Maddy was choked by Nate, leaving bruises on her neck. Despite refusing to press charges against him, Nate threatened Maddy in the second season by pointing a gun at her just to get her to surrender the disc that he had been looking for.
She stands up for herself
“It’s child pornography, you dumb fuck.”
After a sexual video of her and Wes was leaked inside the campus, Kat stood up for herself and confronted Troy McKay (the brother of Roy McKay, the uploader). In another power move, Kat threatened him and seemed unhesitant to file criminal charges against Troy.
She lets creative juices flow
Once upon a time, we were all bloggers—and so was Kat. Her Tumblr era and erotic fan fiction creations made her one of the most popular authors on Tumblr. She has about 58,000 followers on her blog, and her Larry Stylinson fanfiction garnered over 345,000 notes on the site. (However, One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson wasn’t happy about the 7,000-word fanfic IRL.) She kept her success low-key so no one in her circle knew about her online popularity.
And lastly, she tries her best to fight against society’s standards
“I spent my whole life afraid people were going to find out that I was fat. But honestly, who gives a shit? There’s nothing more powerful than a fat girl who doesn’t give a fuck,” Kat says in a Skype call with Johnny in the first season.
In reality, too, Barbie slammed backhanded compliments she’d received for her confidence. In an interview with a fashion website, she said that dressing as she pleases with her plus-size body still poses challenges. “It’s not radical for me to be wearing a crop top, [comments like those are] just backhanded compliments. I’ve been doing this since I was 16. I’m 25.”
“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,” she added.
Barbie’s sentiments resemble what she portrays in the second season of “Euphoria.” Its second episode delves into her shaky self-esteem and identity crisis. She also wishes the audience to take away a lesson from the scene that it’s okay to not always feel okay.
“I feel like I had a lot of things come up emotionally because of the pandemic, and putting some of that into this season was therapeutic for me. I hope other people [watching] can also feel the same way and release the pressure of being perfect and happy all the time because that just doesn’t exist.”
Art by Yel Sayo
All pictures are stills from “Euphoria” except the third photo in the banner, which is from the show’s official Instagram page