America Ferrera's powerful speech in Barbie has resurfaced amid her words on body positivity

America Ferrera attends the Glamour Women of The Year Awards 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

America Ferrera is one of the most talked-about women in the world, using her platform to empower and speak out for others.

This was no exception this week as the 39-year-old actress opened up about her rise to fame in her teenage years, calling out the fact that her body was labelled as "imperfect" those 20 years ago.

"What's so insane is, you go back and look, and I had a very average-size body. And so the idea that people were looking at me and saying, 'That's curvy' is crazy," Ferrera explained to ELLE this week. "Not that I care, but it's like, that's insane that we thought that was so groundbreaking.

"I was Hollywood's version of imperfect, which seems so ridiculous. I don't feel alone in that either. There are so many women who were called brave, just because they are people in bodies."

Now Ferrera wants change for women's careers, insisting that "we don't have to exist inside of these boxes or these lanes. That we don't have to be relegated to represent just the thing that the culture wants us to represent."

And as her powerful words are being shared across the internet, so too is her empowering speech from Barbie, resurfacing just this month.

America Ferrera plays Gloria in the film, a human whose life becomes linked with Barbie's, and after the doll has an existential crisis, Gloria delivers an impactful speech to get through to her about the difficulties of being a woman in modern society.

“It is literally impossible to be a woman," America Ferrera tells Margot Robbie in the iconic scene. "You are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough. Like, we always have to be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.

“You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can't squash other people's ideas."

She continues: "You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman, but also always be looking out for other people. You have to answer for men’s bad behaviour, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining. You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood. But always stand out and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful.

"You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.

"I'm just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don't even know."

Well this is what we all needed to hear.

We will continue to update this story.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.