From hidden details to feeling unrepresented, here's what America Ferrera and Issa Rae want you to know before you see Barbie.

America Ferrera and Issa Rae never considered themselves typical 'Barbie girls', which is exactly why they wanted to be part of Greta Gerwig's untypical Barbie film.

In the film based on the iconic Mattel toy, America plays a human woman called Gloria, who is responsible for drawing Margot Robbie's Stereotypical Barbie into the real world.

Speaking at the Australian press junket for Barbie, America told outlets including Mamamia that as a child, Barbie was always the one toy that made her feel othered. 

"I didn't grow up playing with Barbies," she said. "I didn't feel represented in the world of Barbie. But now the world Greta and Noah (Baumbach) have created feels relevant to me. It really is exciting to be a part of a movie that is expanding such an influential female character to include more of us. 

"To also include people with perspectives that aren't necessarily positive towards the very long legacy and history that Barbie has."

From her break out film role in Real Women Have Curves in 2002, to her first lead TV role in Ugly Betty and starring in the beloved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants franchise, America very much built her career on playing characters that pushed against conventional beauty types and body image. 

So, how did she wind up in a film about a doll who has always promoted the ultimate unattainable body type? 

Speaking to Mamamia, the actress said it was the script, along with the now infamous monologue she delivers in the film about impossible beauty standards, rather than the doll, that won her over. 


"I really responded to the story that Greta and Noah wanted to tell," America said."The script opens in the Barbie world, and it really is an exploration of what Barbie means to all different kinds of people.

"It's not all good and it's not all bad," she continued, while speaking about how the movie treats Barbie's image. "I just thought it was so interesting and so clever that my character reaches a point where she meets the intersection of what it means to be a real woman and an imagined woman.

"There's a shared experience in the film with somebody who looks like Gloria and a stereotypical Barbie doll, which shows how Greta is always looking for truth and doing it in a hilarious and smart way."

Listen to the Barbie cast talk about tears, scandals and hidden messages on The Spill. 

When Issa Rae got the call from Greta Gerwig about featuring in Barbie as Barbie Land's president, she had just wrapped five seasons of her critically acclaimed series Insecure, which she created, produced, and starred in.

Given the power to shape what her presidential character would look like in the film, Issa told Mamamia that her inspiration for her Barbie was linked directly back to her childhood. 

"President Barbie is an amalgamation of current female leaders," Issa said. "Exactly what the childhood version of me imagined a President would look and act like. It was an opportunity for me to just be playful and make an idealistic version of a President.  


"A President who really is powerless in a way and she kind of knows it," she continued. "Greta just allowed for a playful atmosphere on set, so that's mostly what I tapped into."

When it comes to watching Barbie, Issa wanted the audience to know that as magical as the set looks on screen, there are many different parts of the production design you just can't see. 

From recreating Barbie's Dream House, complete with a waterless pool, a self-filling closet, and a slide instead of external stairs, Issa said the production team hid surprises around the set that only the actors would discover.

"They had so much fun in the costume department because they would bring out Barbie looks from throughout the decades and people would recognise them from their own childhoods," she said.

"Speaking of my own Barbie presidential oval office in the film, I would open the drawers and there would be all sorts of things in there, from letterhead to flamingo stamps. 

"The first time I saw it I thought, 'no one's ever going to see this' but they still put the detail into it, just for me to find."

Barbie is in cinemas now. 

Laura Brodnik is Mamamia's Head of Entertainment and host of The Spill podcast. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Feature Image: Getty. 

Love watching TV and movies? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $100 gift voucher.