The remaining episodes of Euphoria’s third season have already been cut short before the show’s debut because Kat Hernandez, a character who brings important cultural elements to the screen for the plot, won’t be appearing again. Although the series’ makeup artist had just posted a picture of the character’s trademark large, experimental eyes asking fans what they thought the character will do next, it was Barbie Ferreira who on August 24 made the series’ last announcement with a short Instagram story:
“After four years of embodying Kat’s special and enigmatic character, I have to say goodbye to her with tears in my eyes. I hope many of you have identified with her, as I have, and that she has brought you joy to see her journey to the character she is today. I put all my care and love into her and I hope you can feel it. I love you Katherine Hernandez“
With Barbie’s departure, the TV show loses a character who has helped to develop themes like online sex work, the dominant femininity that results from adolescent trauma, and acceptance of one’s own body. These themes are unquestionably current and relevant to the series’ target audience, which is made up of Gen-Zers and millennials raised on the internet.Kat’s character served as an example, an inspiration, and a role model to follow for thousands of girls in her own situation, and she became an idol of body positivity. Kat was a curvy girl with a keen awareness of her femininity, built on the foundation of trauma that forced her to come to terms with her feelings. The use of acidic and complicated graphic lines and colors, with allusions that fall somewhere between the femininity of Poison Ivy and Welma from Scooby Doo, helped to make her appearance express the emotional swing she experienced every day, between the yearning to feel and loss of self-esteem.
Breaking the connection between Barbie Ferreira and Euphoria would be a disagreement with director Sam Levinson, who maintained his willingness to use Kat as a personification of a segment of the audience sensitive to body positivity in an almost instrumental way, using Barbie’s popularity to continue addressing delicate issues like mental health or the relationship with the body.It’s impossible to forget the scene from the second episode of season two, in which Kat engages in a fictional chat in her room with fitness models, a feminist, and curvaceous girls who encourage her to get out of bed and stop moping because she rejects the patriarchal standards of beauty. In this scene, the harmful rhetoric of happiness and self-love that so obsessively influences young girls is exposed. One’s suffering is devalued in favor of an immediate response, a straightforward fix for a complicated issue, rather than going through an effective elaboration of distress as any mental health professional would advise.
Despite the lovely words shared on Instagram, the actress would feel too pigeonholed in the role of champion of self-love and female empowerment and would decide that the character deserved the same development as others towards new horizons as Maddy or Cassie would leave the role to focus on her career as a model and actress.