“After four years of getting to embody the most special and enigmatic character Kat, I’m having to say a very teary-eyed goodbye,” Ferreira, 25, wrote via her Instagram story on Wednesday, August 24, alongside a piece of fan art of her character Kat drawn by costar Hunter Schafer. “I hope many of you could see yourself in her like I did and that she 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.”
The Unpregnant star concluded her heartfelt statement by writing, “I love you, Katherine Hernandez.”
Ferreira served as a series regular on the critically acclaimed teen drama from 2019 to 2022, starring alongside Zendaya, Jacob Elordi and more young Hollywood stars. The New York native portrayed Kat Hernandez, a quiet girl navigating high school by experimenting with NSFW videos and finding her first boyfriend, Ethan (Austin Abrams) in the show’s first season.
Season 2, however, dramatically reduced the model’s screen time, with Kat barely appearing at all over the course of the eight episodes. In February, The Daily Beast published a report with claims from background actors about “multiple complaints made to SAG-AFTRA over the production ailing to provide them meals on time and refusing to let people use the bathroom.” The article also included speculation that Ferreira and creator Sam Levinson had a falling out, which reportedly led to the actress walking off set. Meanwhile, HBO denied any claims of any on-set issues.
At the time, Ferreira seemingly responded to the rumors during an interview with The Cut. “Kat’s journey this season is a little more internal and a little mysterious to the audience. She is secretly going through a lot of existential crises. She loses her marbles a little bit — just like everyone else in this season. The theme is everyone’s gone a little crazy,” she explained.
The following month, the Body Party alum responded to social media backlash around the critically acclaimed drama’s sophomore installment.
“What’s interesting about this season is there are so many more eyes on it that even the news cycle has been so interesting to see,” she told Insider at the time. “I’ve seen so many different things and a lot of it is untrue and some of its kind of like mundane little things.”
Ferreira noted that fans of the teen series are “really passionate” because of how the show has “impacted” them, adding that she was happy to take both “the good and the bad” that came along with a dedicated fanbase.
HBO, for its part, responded to the rumors of a toxic work environment through a statement published by Variety in March.
“The well-being of cast and crew on our productions is always a top priority. The production was in full compliance with all safety guidelines and guild protocols,” the statement read. “It’s not uncommon for drama series to have complex shoots, and COVID protocols add an additional layer. We maintain an open line of communication with all the guilds, including SAG-AFTRA. There were never any formal inquiries raised.”