Former ‘Euphoria’ Star Barbie Ferreira Moved the Audience to Tears at SXSW Premiere of ‘Bob Trevino Likes It’

Barbie Ferreira is officially in her leading-girl era. The former “Euphoria” actress made her film festival debut at SXSW as the star of “Bob Trevino Likes It” — and the film went on to win the narrative feature competition.

“I was very nervous, because I’m always nervous to see my face,” says Ferreira the day after the film’s premiere. It was her first time watching a final cut of the film, which was written and directed by first-time feature filmmaker Tracie Laymon. But once the screening got underway, “my anxiety kind of went away, and I got swept into it,” she adds. “My family was there, people who worked on the movie, strangers who bought tickets — and everyone was laughing and crying. It was so cool to see 400 people reacting, and having these emotional reactions. We all hoped that would happen, but you never know.”

More from WWD

The 27-year-old actress attended the premiere with her Brazilian mother and grandmother, who was particularly moved by the crowd’s response to the bittersweet film. “Afterwards to me she goes, ‘I saw grown men crying.’ Like, the most shocked she’s ever been,” says Ferreira. “And I was like, ‘yeah, grandma — it’s a sad movie. Grown men are allowed to cry.’”

The film was well-received by critics, who lauded Ferreira’s complex performance. Ferreira stars in the film as Lily Trevino, a lonely young woman who befriends a man on Facebook with the same name as her estranged biological father. The pair strike up an online friendship that continues to develop offline, evolving into a surrogate father-daughter relationship anchored by trauma. Laymon, who grew up in Houston, wrote the script based on a real personal experience.

“Lily Trevino isn’t Tracie, but the soul and everything is there,” says Ferreira. “So it was cool finding where the character lands, and making it true to Tracie and the story itself, and keeping it real and grounded and finding those funny moments — because everything that’s sad is kind of funny too. I always use humor to get over pain.”

Barbie Ferreira
Barbie Ferreira

Ferreira, who was the first actor to sign on to the film, also connected with the story on a personal level.

“I didn’t grow up with my father. Having this film, I didn’t really know how much it was going to resonate with me. And how much, even on set, even after reading and after working on it and being in it, how much it would affect me,” she says, describing the experience as emotionally cathartic. “This movie is such a vehicle for healing and being more vulnerable to the world.”

John Leguizamo portrays her chosen father figure in the film. The costars bonded over their New York connection — Ferreira grew up in the city, and Leguizamo still lives there — and shared an easy dynamic that they brought onscreen.

“It was so great to observe and learn [from Leguizamo], because I didn’t go to any classical formal training,” says Ferreira. “I’m fairly new [to the industry] — about six years — and every time I hop on a set it’s a learning experience for me, and I unlock something.”

The actress, who broke out portraying fan-favorite Kat in “Euphoria,” announced her departure from the series last year. But when it comes to screen time, Ferreira isn’t going anywhere. In addition to “Bob Trevino,” she stars in two upcoming horror films: “House of Spoils,” an Amazon and Blumhouse coproduction, and “Faces of Death,” a remake of a controversial 1978 cult film.

“I love a fun, well-made horror movie,” Ferreira says. “I did ‘Faces of Death’ and then ‘Bob Trevino’ about a month later. I was like, these things are very taxing in different ways,” she adds. “I’m not scared of my emotions. I love facing them head on.”

What’s next? “Maybe I’ll do some comedy,” says Ferreira, who’s also aligned herself with brands like YSL Beauty and Levi’s, appearing in a campaign last fall. “I also want to do something like a period piece, for fun. I’m open to anything. As long as it’s good writing and a director I really connect with, I’m so down.”

Barbie Ferreira
Barbie Ferreira

Best of WWD