The next season of Euphoria is down a key cast member, with Barbie Ferreira revealing on August 24 that she would no longer be starring as fetish-wear enthusiast Kat in Sam Levinson’s hit teen drama. “After four years of getting to embody the most special and enigmatic character, Kat, I’m having to say a very teary-eyed goodbye,” she wrote in an Instagram story alongside a photo of fan art by her “angel” costar Hunter Schafer. “I hope many of you could see yourself in her like I did, and that [it] brought you joy to see her journey into the character she is today. I put all my care and love into her and I hope you guys could feel it. Love you, Katherine Hernandez.”
The news comes after widespread speculation about a disagreement between Ferreira and Levinson over her character arc in Season 2, with Kat largely downgraded from main character to a supporting act in the bitter feud between Maddy (Alexa Demie) and Cassie (Sydney Sweeney). (Tellingly, the Queens native missed the Season 2 premiere back in January.) Fans also criticized the more ridiculous elements of the scenes in which Kat did appear; in a now infamous moment, she actually feigns a brain disorder in order to end a relationship with her boyfriend Ethan (Austin Abrams).
Beyond leaving fans with questions about what happened to the East Highland favorite, Ferreira’s early departure is a setback for fat representation, too—with the 25-year-old having brought a refreshing perspective to the subject of body positivity. “Stepping into a career that has historically had rigid standards of beauty, people definitely projected me as this body-positive activist and I owned that in the beginning,” she told British Vogue after the first season. “But over the years, I’ve found my own version of that, where it’s not just about size. Now I’m kind of more like, ‘Let’s just shake this whole thing up.’ There’s this predestined fantasy in Hollywood and fashion that I’d literally love to see broken down so that anyone who is different can find their space in there.” Here’s hoping she’s shaking things up on another hit TV drama soon.