Real Life Barbie

While many women make peace with their bodies in adulthood, there are some who cannot let go of the ideal “Barbie” figure.” This has resulted in “real-life Barbies.” These women (and men) have gone to great lengths to transform themselves in to living dolls. One of the most famous of these real-life Barbies is Valeria Lukyanova from the Ukraine. While having only undergone one surgery, she looks remarkably like the doll with her long legs, tiny waist, large bust, and blonde hair. Of her likeness to a doll, Valeria has said, “This pleases me because a doll is an image of an ideal woman. Nobody would mind to be compared with a doll.”[1] Men have gone under the knife to acquire doll-like features as well.  Justin Jedlica from the United States has spent over $106,000 dollars on plastic surgery to look like Ken, Barbie’s perfect boyfriend.[2]

Real Life Barbie and Ken
Nick Parker, “Almost lifelike…Justin Jedlica and Valeria Lukyanova as Ken and Barbie,” Photograph, 2013,, (accessed March 27, 2013).

Valeria Lukyanova and Barbie

Nick Parker, “Barbie Girl …Valeria Lukyanova with Doll,”, (acessed March 27, 2013).

These two people are not alone in their desire to look like dolls. Cynthia Jackson has undergone several surgeries as well in order to create a perfect figure. She remembers looking at Barbie as a child and thinking “That’s what I want to look like.”[3] Sarah Burge was also labeled a “real-life Barbie” and feels that it is empowering to be able to look however you choose.[4] Model Irina Creaser has said of her image in relation to Barbie, “She has long legs and a small waist and I definitely strive to look like her. Some people say I really look like Barbie, which is great.”[5] It is clear Barbie has served as a role model for some when it comes to body image and transfiguration, but it is also evident that plastic surgery has allowed more people to achieve these looks. Whereas the average woman could never look like Barbie, it is now possible for anyone to look like her as long as they have surgery.

Is this good or bad? It is hard to say. While the idea that people would be so unhappy with themselves that they would resort to surgery is saddening, one should realize that many of these women (and men) are quite happy with the outcome and much happier as a result. However, it is disheartening to think that a person would be pushed to such extremes. Again, instead of placing blame on Barbie, perhaps blame should be places upon society which has been the course of these unattainable standards for ages.


[2] Ibid.

[3] Tanya Lee Stone, The Good, The Bad, and The Barbie: A Doll’s History and Her Impact on Us (New York: Penguin Group, 2010), 60.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

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