"Your mother was in a movie and nobody cares," Ferrera jokingly recalled her internal response to her kids
During a conversation with correspondent Dave Karger at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Virtuosos Awards on Saturday, where she was being honored, the actress, 34, recalled her experience watching the film with her kids at the Los Angeles premiere in July.
The mom of two said that watching the movie at the premiere was the first time she could really take in its message without being critical of her own performance.
She said she kept trying to imagine what her 3-year-old daughter, Lucia Marisol, could see while she was sitting in her mother's lap watching the movie.
Ferrera recalled that she could "hear the words" in Barbie for the first time and feel their meaning.
"And so that was moving, and it was so deep for me," she said. But after the screening, Lucia only had one question.
"My daughter turns to me and says, 'Why were you driving that car?' " Ferrera recalled, adding that her internal reaction to Lucia's question was, "Awesome. I'm so glad that's what you took from that."
Ferrera admitted that her daughter's question was better than her son Sebastian Piers' reaction. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants star said the 5-year-old boy made no comments about the movie until two weeks after the premiere.
"He goes, 'Mom, did the construction workers ever finish building that wall?' " she shared. He was likely referring to the wall that construction workers in Barbie told Ferrera's character Gloria they were building to keep more dolls from escaping Barbieland (which had transformed into Kendom) and going into the real world.
"Your mother was in a movie and nobody cares," Ferrera joked of her kids' reaction to Barbie. "Anyway, kids will humble you, and it's wonderful."
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The Superstore star shares her two kids with her longtime husband, Ryan Piers Williams, a fellow actor who plays Gloria's husband in Barbie.
"It came about because on my first Zoom with [director] Greta [Gerwig]. I was telling her all my favorite parts of the script and all the parts that made me laugh out loud," Ferrera told PEOPLE exclusively in January. "And I said, 'Oh my God, I laughed so hard when you cut to the dad doing his Spanish lessons, because my husband was literally in the other room doing his Spanish lessons.' "
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