Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it was a Barbie girl summer. And one of the stars of the surreal comedy-fantasy, Hari Nef, is stepping into the spotlight and creating some much-needed trans representation in mainstream Hollywood.
Nef says that the iconic toy for which the hit film is named was a childhood favorite of hers — well, a Barbie computer game that is.
“It was Barbie’s Magic Hair Styler,” she recently told our sister publication, Out, when she graced its September/October 2023 cover. “It was a computer game. It was mostly about her face and the glam. You could give her the right hairstyle and the right makeup for an occasion.”
“The idea that I could just change and transform the Barbie and create somebody from my fingertips, the magic of that, and I think also maybe the privacy of it, and something about Barbie and technology was really interesting to me at that point,” she added. “I felt like through Barbie I could explore all kinds of people to be and things to do.”
Hari Neff plays Dr. Barbie in the summer blockbuster
Though her role as one of the dolls in the Barbie movie has introduced the actress to a broader audience, she’s no newbie to this acting thing. Nef has appeared in dozens of TV and film projects, including Transparent, Mapplethorpe, and most recently, Max’s The Idol.
Nef’s next big project is truly a dream come true for the rising star. She’s set to play pioneering trans actress and model Candy Darling in an upcoming biopic written by Stephanie Kornick and executive-produced by Zackary Drucker, both of whom worked behind-the-scenes on award-winning dramedy series, Transparent. The film will document Darling’s journey from Long Island beauty pageant queen to her time as a muse for Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground.
“The dream was always to play Candy, and it is the honor of my life to get the chance to do it,” Nef told Deadline. “Candy bridged the gap between her dreams and a reality stacked so consummately against her — a transsexual glamour girl and indie icon reigning over Warhol’s Manhattan and Nixon’s America. She burned fast, and bright. More than anything, she wanted to be taken seriously as an actress. She taught girls like me how to dream — perhaps even how to be at all. She’s the blueprint.”