Nance, seriously, you're gonna be so cool now, it's ridiculous. -- You better still hang out with me, that's all I'm saying.

–Barbara to her best friend, Nancy Wheeler.

Barbara Holland, more commonly referred to as Barb, was a recurring character in the first season of Stranger Things. She was the best friend of Nancy Wheeler. In late 1983, Barb mysteriously vanishes, which leads Nancy and Jonathan Byers to investigate her disappearance. Eventually, it was revealed that she had been killed by the Demogorgon. In 1984, following an acknowledgment of Hawkins Lab's involvement in her death, she was given a proper funeral.



Nancy's photos of her and Barb

Family portraits of Barb

Barbara Holland was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Holland. She attended Hawkins High School and at some point became the best friend of Nancy Wheeler.

In 1983, Nancy began dating Steve Harrington, a popular boy at school, making out with him "a couple of times". Nancy and Barb went clothes-shopping one weekend, with Nancy seeking to impress Steve.


Barb seemed cautious about Nancy's relationship with Steve and her growing popularity. She expressed her dislike of Steve's friends Tommy and Carol, telling Nancy she wanted to keep "hanging out" with her.

Barb reluctantly agreed to drive Nancy to a party at Steve's house. At the party, she attempted to shotgun a beer can, opening it with a knife so she would fit in with the others - however, she accidentally cut her hand in the process. This led to Barb going to the bathroom to tend to her hand whilst the others uncaringly carried on having fun without her.

Feeling frustrated, Barb confronted Nancy as she went upstairs to Steve's bedroom. She emotionally suggested to Nancy that she thought she was acting superficially, and not being true to herself. Nancy did not take her seriously, brushing her off and telling her to go home.

Barb sits by the pool alone

A lonely Barb sat by the now vacant pool, looking into her reflection and contemplating. As she did so, blood from her wound trickled through her bandage, splashing and dissolving in the water. The Demogorgon was attracted by the scent, suddenly appearing behind her and pulling her into the Upside Down. Jonathan Byers unknowingly captured this moment on camera as he hid in the nearby foliage.

Barb struggles to escape the pool

Hurt and disoriented, Barb woke up in the Upside Down's version of the pool, which was empty. Upon noticing the Demogorgon, she attempted to climb out of the pool, but she was dragged back down and killed by the Demogorgon. However, the Demogorgon didn't completely devour her.

At around the same time Barb had just awoken in the Upside Down, Will Byers was walking down the street nearby when he heard her cries for help as she cried out for Nancy repeatedly. Will ran as fast as he could, but by the time he reached the pool, Barb was long gone and all that was left of her were the pair of glasses that she had been wearing.[1]

Barbara was found dead by Eleven

Both Nancy and Mrs Holland grew increasingly worried about Barb when she did not show up to school the next day. When Will's (fake) body was found, a devastated Mike returned home where his mother and father were meeting with Barb's parents, Nancy finally having revealed that Barb was missing. A few days later, Eleven, while immersed in a deep psychic state, scoured the Upside Down to find Barb and Will Byers. She discovered Barb's body, witnessing a slug-like creature slithering from Barb's mouth and across her face.

Later that night, Chief Hopper and Will's mother Joyce entered the Upside Down of the public library as the search for Will continued; they walked past the remains of the Demogorgon's victims, including Barb's corpse.


A year later, Barbara's death acted as the inspiration for Nancy and Jonathan in their endeavor to expose the Hawkins National Laboratory. With help from a private investigator, Murray Bauman, who was also investigating Barb's death, the three worked together to release evidence recorded from Dr. Owen's confession. Eventually it was a success that resulted in the shutdown of Hawkins Lab, and Barbara was finally given a proper funeral.


Barb was a kind, cautious, sensible and smart girl. When Nancy went to Steve's house, Barb wasn't at all happy about it, due to her dislike for Steve, Tommy H and Carol. Nevertheless, she agreed to chaperone her best friend even though she vehemently didn't want to attend the party. She was ultimately made fun of by Tommy H and Carol and brushed off by Nancy who was more interested in spending time with Steve. This caused her to reflect miserably by the pool instead of going straight home, which ultimately led to her death.



Other relationships


Season One appearances
The Vanishing of Will Byers The Weirdo on Maple Street Holly, Jolly The Body*
The Flea and the Acrobat The Monster The Bathtub* The Upside Down*
Season Two appearances
MADMAX* Trick or Treat, Freak The Pollywog
Will the Wise Dig Dug The Spy
The Lost Sister The Mind Flayer The Gate*
Season Three appearances
Suzie, Do You Copy? The Mall Rats The Case of the Missing Lifeguard The Sauna Test
The Flayed E Pluribus Unum The Bite The Battle of Starcourt*

*Barbara's corpse was seen in "The Bathtub" and "The Upside Down" after her death in "Holly, Jolly". Barbara can also be seen via photograph in "The Body" as well as in "MADMAX", "The Gate" and “The Battle Of Starcourt”.

Family tree

Mr. Holland Family Tree icon 001.png
Mr. Holland
Marsha Holland.png
Marsha Holland
Barb Holland Family Tree icon 001.png
Barbara Holland

Memorable Quotes

  • "I'm chill."
  • "This isn't you..."
  • ”NANCY!!” (Barb's final words before her death)
  • "Is that a new bra?"



  • Despite her minor role, Barb became a breakout character and popular among fans. Her early death has inspired trends such as "#JusticeForBarb" and "#WeAreAllBarb".
    • Barb's popularity among fans led to her death playing a larger role in the plot of Season 2, acknowledged by Nancy being angered that no one seems to care about her.
  • When Nancy is talking with Mrs. Holland on the phone, she tells her a lie about Barb being at the library. Ironically, this would turn out to be true, as her corpse was found in the Upside Down version of the library.
  • Barb was featured in the opening for the 2017 Golden Globes, where Millie, Finn, Gaten and Caleb revealed she was "still alive." While this was just meant to be a comedic nod to fans, it actually led to some confusion over whether Barb was actually dead. However, her death had long been confirmed, with Millie Bobby Brown also confirming that she was still dead.[2]
  • The childhood pictures of Barb seen in the Holland's home in MADMAX are the real childhood pictures of Shannon Purser, actress of Barb.
  • Barb has only met 3 main character on screen, Nancy, Steve & Jonathan. It's possible she met Mike and Karen as she was friends with Nancy. Barb's corpse was seen by Eleven in a vision and her dead body was seen by Joyce and Hopper in the upside down. It's possible that Will also saw Barb dead or alive in the upside down.
  • Barbara is the first teenager to die on the show; the second being Billy Hargrove.


The Upside Down
Locations The Upside DownThe GateHawkinsHawkins National LaboratoryPublic LibraryPortalsHawkins Middle SchoolHawkins Tunnel System
Entities D'ArtagnanThe DemogorgonDemogorgon (species)The FlayedHospital MonsterThe Mind FlayerRussian DemogorgonThe Spider MonsterHawkins Tunnel SystemVines
The Flayed Billy HargroveHeather HollowayBruce LoweTom HollowayJanet HollowayDoris Driscoll
Visitors Joyce ByersWill ByersElevenSteve HarringtonDustin HendersonBarbara HollandJim HopperMax MayfieldBob NewbyShepardLucas SinclairMike WheelerNancy Wheeler
Miscellaneous Upside Down EggDungeons & DragonsThe VoidThe Keys
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