It Took Multiple Days To Film America Ferrera’s Barbie Monologue

The character of Gloria is the audience’s avatar. She is the one playing with Barbie dolls in the real world, all in an effort to bond with her teenage daughter (Ariana Greenblatt), who is growing increasingly estranged from her mother and moving into a cynical state of mind. As a Mattel employee, Gloria will begin idly drawing pictures of Barbie dolls who think about death and depression, unwittingly shunting dark thought’s into Barbie’s head. Gloria is torn between the idyllic world that Barbie dolls sell — girls can be anything! — and the harsh realities of living as a woman in the real world. Near the end of “Barbie,” Gloria unleashes on the Barbies a litany of modern feminine grievances, all of them about how much is expected of women and how she feels like women will never be able to live up to the world’s vision of them as a gender. 

Ferrera saw the speech as both a gift and a challenge. Actors often dream of receiving important speeches and “big moments,” and Ferrera was thrilled. She also, however, wanted to make sure that she got it right. She said: 

“[The monologue was] one of the first things Greta mentioned to me even before I read the script. She said, ‘I wrote this monologue for Gloria, and I’ve always imagined you saying this.’ While that was flattering, it also felt like pressure in the nicest way. I read the monologue and it hit me as powerful and meaningful. It also felt like, wow, what a gift as an actor to get to deliver something that feels so cathartic and truthful. But it also felt like this pivotal moment that I obviously didn’t want to mess up. There was a little bit of healthy pressure around it.”

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