Hari Nef plays Doctor Barbie in the upcoming film from Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, but in a touching letter excerpt she shared on Instagram, she revealed that a scheduling conflict almost kept her out of the film.
“When I heard I was cast as a Barbie in the Barbie movie, it looked like I was maybe not going to be able to do the film because of a scheduling conflict,” Nef wrote. “So I wrote Greta and Margot a letter essentially begging them to fudge the schedule a little bit, as I had big feelings about wanting to join this film. Part of what I wrote was:
“This is a big movie, made by a team whose work has played no small role in cultivating my love of sitting in the dark in front of big screens for an hour or two. But that’s just a part of why I want – my heart says ‘need’ – to join in the making of this film. Identity politics and cinema aren’t my favorite combination, but the name BARBIE looms large over every American woman. Barbie’s the standard; she’s The Girl; she’s certainly THE doll.
Me and my girlfriends – okay, yeah, me and my other transgender girlfriends – we started calling ourselves “the dolls” a couple of years ago, though the phrase stretches back into the language of our foremothers in the ballroom scene. ‘The Dolls.’ Maybe it’s a bid to ratify our femininity, to smile and sneer at the standards we’re held to as women. It’s a joke, of course; we throw our voices: “the do-o-lls!” But underneath the word “doll” is the shape of a woman who is not quite a woman – recognizable as such, but still a fake. “Doll” is fraught, glamorous; she is, and she isn’t. We call ourselves “the dolls” in the face of everything we know we are, never will be, hope to be. We yell the word because the word matters. And no doll matters more than Barbie.”
Clearly, the heartfelt plea moved Robbie and Gerwig, as Hari Nef is part of the Barbie movie cast as a doctor. Fans can look forward to seeing her, and the other dolls, when the film debuts on July 21.