Model Barbie Ferreria Wants to Drop Labels and Ban 'Plus Size'

Kristine Solomoon
Barbara Ferreira is one of the fashion industry's most outspoken champions of body confidence — and she's not even 20 years old. (Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/barbienox)
Barbie Ferreira is one of the fashion industry’s most outspoken champions of body confidence — and she’s not even 20 years old. (Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/barbienox)

Missguided, the “empowering, bold, and forward-thinking” online fashion brand, is adding another badass female to its roster of celebrity models, which currently includes collaborations with blogger Carli Bybel and the queen of empowerment herself Amber Rose. Voluptuous teen stunner Barbie Ferreria is the new face of Missguided+ — the online-only brand’s line of size-12-to-24 offerings. These include “a variety of knits, duster jackets, and office-appropriate white shirts in addition to rebelliously sexy dresses, choker necks, and a whole lot of lace-up detailing,” according to an interview with Ferreira in Nylon.

Well, she’s not that new. The brand chose Ferreira to front its campaign back in 2015 and has rehired her because — with her killer confidence and killer curves — she’s perfect casting, basically. Ferreira and Missguided share a similar ethos about fashion and figures. Missguided+ proudly proclaims itself the “hottest new line for babes of all sizes … with formfitting cuts, super-strong shapes, and carefully tailored pieces.”

Ferreira’s personal Instagram account shows (unretouched) glimpses into the life of a typical 19-year-old — playful, carefree, funny, confident but also celebrating her body in in styles ranging from faux-fur jackets to lingerie to workout gear (yes, there are some gym selfies). Her confidence has been a work in progress, though. “I’ve always struggled a ton with my body image, and I wanted to help other people not feel so ashamed about themselves. It’s a completely unnecessary part of everyday life,” she once told Glamour. “I don’t follow anyone [on social media] who I think is trying to sell the dream that everything is perfect.”

Determined to overcome her insecurities — and dismayed by the fact that she had few curvy role models to look up to — Ferreira submitted photos of herself to American Apparel when she was in high school, according to i-D magazine. She wanted to see if it would hire her as a model. “I didn’t really know if they hired plus-size girls, and back then I thought everything about modeling was about being thin,” she told the publication. “Them calling me back to test shoot showed me that the industry was opening up to a different standard of beauty.”

Since then, Ferreira has been signed by the Wilhelmina modeling agency and has modeled for brands including the Photoshop-free Aerie for American Eagle Outfitters — in bikinis, because what else would you expect? She has been called a body-positivity activist, but for Ferreira, embracing her own unconventional (by fashion standards) beauty has been a process. She didn’t always have the immense confidence she has now. “I used to be very insecure,” she remembers, in a 2015 promotional video for Missguided. “Before I started modeling, I didn’t wear anything that would show off my body. … And I got over it because I realized I wasn’t happy in that, I wasn’t feeling cute … and I wanted to wear whatever the f*** I wanted to wear.”

And though her empowered attitude about her body has been a constant lately, Ferreira’s feelings about the term plus-size seem to be evolving. In that same 2015 video, the model muses, “How do I feel about the term plus-size? I feel like there’s nothing wrong with being plus-size. I don’t think the word is negative at all. It’s just, I think [fashion] as an industry, people put you in little groups, and it makes you not have as many opportunities as everyone else.”

But now she seems to have changed her tune about the limiting label. “I feel it’s very important to remove labels; the progress in fashion will be when people completely cut out the words plus-size from their vocabulary and accept that women come in many sizes — especially over a size 4,” the brunette beauty says to Nylon. “Once that happens, I feel as though inclusiveness of body type will finally start happening.” Missguided, it seems, concurs, saying, “plus isn’t the word,” according to Nylon.

Now that she’s the face of Missguided+ — and modeling some seriously sexy styles, a dusty rose body-con skirt, including a lace-up minidress with thigh-high boots, and a bright-red dress with a T-strap-inspired choker detail in the process — she’s oozing confidence, which is exactly what the company is trying to sell. She tells other girls and women via Nylon: “Don’t focus on your body. Love it, but know it’ll never be up to society’s standards because it’s all Photoshop and exclusivity. And that’s OK!”

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