37 Incredible Barbie Facts You Need to Know

37 Incredible Barbie Facts You Need to Know

Barbie might look younger, however the iconic doll really turned 64 in 2023. And whereas she’s one of the crucial iconic toys the world has ever seen, there are nonetheless many Barbie info which might be hardly frequent information. She’s lived a life in plastic that actually is unbelievable. Hold studying to study some attention-grabbing tidbits concerning the style doll who’s entertained generations of children.

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Fabulous Details About Barbie Dolls

From lawsuits to celeb collaborations, the Barbie model has an extended and detailed historical past. Learn on for essentially the most attention-grabbing bits of Barbie trivia we might discover!

1. Barbie was impressed by a German gag present.

MILAN, ITALY-FEBRUARY 10, 2016: Barbie the icon exhibition, first 1959 barbie dolls series displayed at the at the new MUDEC museum, Cultures Museum, in Milan. - Image
Paolo Bona / Shutterstock

Whereas Barbie could seem as American as apple pie, she was really modeled after an R-rated German doll named Lilli. As cultural critic M.G. Lord notes in Eternally Barbie, the doll was based mostly on a ’50s sketch a couple of high-end name woman that appeared within the German tabloid Bild-Zeitung.

The Bild Lilli doll impressed by these comics was meant to be a gag present for adults—however when Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler noticed her whereas touring in Europe, it sparked the concept for Barbie. “I did not then know who Lilli was and even that its identify was Lilli,” she informed Lord. “I solely noticed an adult-shape physique that I had been attempting to explain for years, and our guys [at Mattel] mentioned could not be carried out.”

2. She was additionally influenced by paper dolls.

pink paper dolls
Cozine / Shutterstock

The world has Barbara Handler, daughter of Mattel co-founders Ruth and Elliot, to thank for Barbie. When Barbara was a baby, she developed a choice for paper playmates over child dolls and would play with them for hours on finish. In line with Mattel’s web site, “This sparked Ruth’s imaginative and prescient to create a 3D doll for women to play out their goals.”

3. Her full identify is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

Close-up of a barbie doll head
Ekaterina_Minaeva / Shutterstock

In honor of her supply of inspiration—her daughter Barbara—Handler named the doll Barbara Millicent Roberts—Barbie for brief. Paradoxically, the true Barbie was 17 by the point the doll debuted and due to this fact was not notably concerned with being related to the kid’s toy.

“[Kids] would come as much as me and say, ‘So you are the Barbie doll,'” Handler informed Folks in 1989. “I didn’t prefer it. It is rather unusual to have a doll named after you.”

4. Barbie was co-designed by a missile engineer.

A combat rocket is flying above the clouds,
Anelo / Shutterstock

When it got here time to create the primary Barbie doll, Handler assigned Mattel designer Jack Ryan to the duty. A Yale alumnus, Ryan labored for an aerospace firm previous to becoming a member of the crew at Mattel. Actually, he helped design the federal government’s Hawk and Sparrow III missile methods earlier than he created Barbie.

5. Ryan later married Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Zsa Zsa Gabor
Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock

Years after designing the unique Barbie doll, Ryan married Hungarian actor Zsa Zsa Gabor in 1975. By that time, although, the designer’s relationship with Mattel was rocky, as he and Handler could not agree on who really got here up with the concept for the doll.

“He could not consider something unique,” Handler informed The New Yorker. “However when you led him, and mentioned what he ought to make, then he found out the way to make it occur.” In 1980, Ryan sued Mattel for royalties and settled out of courtroom.

6. Barbie introduced Mattel authorized troubles from the very starting.

Close-up Of A Young Stressed Female lawyer
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

Barbie was launched to the world on Mar. 9, 1959 on the American Worldwide Toy Honest. And when Greiner & Hausser, the corporate behind these Lilli dolls talked about above, noticed Barbie, they weren’t pleased. They accused Mattel of copying parts of her design—particularly her hip joint—with out their permission. Greiner & Hausser sued Mattel for infringement, and so they settled out of courtroom in 1963. A yr later, Mattel purchased the rights to Lilli.

7. Barbie is from Wisconsin, not Malibu.

The Wisconsin state flag waving along with the national flag
rarrarorro / Shutterstock

In line with Mattel’s official Barbie web site, Barbie is from the fictional city of Willows, Wisconsin. And regardless that that is not an actual place, the state of Wisconsin proudly claims her as a local daughter. An early model of the doll is even featured within the Wisconsin Historic Museum.

8. Adverts aired throughout The Mickey Mouse Membership helped make Barbie a success.

Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers 1957
Archive PL / Alamy

In line with Time, Mattel grew to become the primary year-round sponsor of The Mickey Mouse Membership in 1955. TV commercials had been a novel promoting strategy for toys on the time, and Mattel is basically credited with being the primary firm to broadcast commercials geared toward youngsters. When the corporate launched Barbie, they closely promoted the doll to Mickey Mouse Membership viewers. Quickly, the commercials had been in common rotation and Barbie was a smash.

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9. Many celebrities starred in Barbie commercials earlier than they had been well-known.

young mila kunis in a barbie commercial
Mattel, Inc.

Contemplating the regular stream of TV commercials Mattel has produced for Barbie since her debut, it is not too stunning that some celebrities acquired their huge breaks by way of Barbie commercials. Mila Kunis, Fergie, and The Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick are simply a number of the stars who appeared in adverts for the doll earlier than they grew to become family names themselves.

10. The unique Barbie was offered as each a blonde and a brunette.

brunette barbie on grass
NeydtStock / Shutterstock

The unique Barbie was obtainable to buy as both a blonde or a brunette. However based on Forbes, “the blonde doll offered so a lot better, the brunette was quickly relegated to the again of the shelf.”

11. And she or he did not smile till 12 years after her debut.

original malibu barbie
Mattel, Inc.

The unique Barbie had pursed lips that made her look fairly critical. It wasn’t till 1971 that Mattel launched Malibu Barbie, the primary model of the doll to smile along with her enamel.

12. Ken is 2 years youthful than Barbie.

Busy Ken doll
dollyhaul / Flickr

The Ken doll made its debut in Mar. 1961, making Barbie a little bit of a cougar. Handler named Barbie’s male counterpart after her son, Kenneth Handler—so regardless that the dolls are purported to be relationship, they’re technically named after siblings.

13. The unique Ken was shirtless.

shirtless ken and barbie
Brenda Rocha – Blossom / Shutterstock

The primary Ken doll got here with purple swim trunks, a pair of sandals, and a towel—and that is it. There was no high in sight. The following yr’s mannequin was a bit extra modest: The 1962 model of Ken got here with a red-and-white striped shirt, although he nonetheless wore it open.

14. Barbie had a rebound relationship whereas she was damaged up with Ken.

Barbie doll during her brief relationship with Blaine. Barbie dated Blaine while she and Ken were on a break.
Avril O’Reilly / Alamy

After 43 years collectively, Barbie and Ken famously took a break in 2004, simply earlier than Valentine’s Day. A Mattel spokesperson mentioned in a press launch on the time that Ken and Barbie “really feel it is time to spend some high quality time—aside.”

Throughout her break from Ken, Barbie attached with a “Cali Man” named Blaine Gordon, who made his debut throughout the 2004 Toy Honest. Blaine was very fashionable, and no new Ken dolls had been produced for 2 years after Barbie’s new beau hit cabinets.

However after apparently taking the time to work on himself, Ken reappeared in 2006 with an up to date look and elegance. He and Barbie managed to reconcile simply in time for Valentine’s Day 2011 and have been collectively ever since.

15. Barbie has had many siblings come and go through the years.

Vilnius, Lithuania, May 14, 2018: Barbie dolls with blonde hair. - Image
Indre Pau / Shutterstock

Certain, many people know Barbie’s youthful sister Skipper, who debuted in 1964 and remains to be going robust. However do you know she additionally has twin siblings, Tutti and Todd, who had been launched a yr later? Tutti was discontinued in 1971 and ultimately changed with Stacie, and Todd has been discontinued and reissued too many occasions to rely.

Barbie’s toddler sister Kelly, in the meantime, arrived within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, although she was discontinued in 2010. That very same yr, the world met Chelsea, her substitute. The youngest of the crew is an toddler named Krissy, who was born within the late ’90s. She solely made it a couple of years earlier than being discontinued. And also you thought your household was sophisticated.

16. Barbie has had greater than 40 pets.

barbie and dancing horse
Mattel, Inc.

In line with The Issues, the doll has had 21 canines, 14 horses, six cats, three ponies, a parrot, a panda, a chimpanzee, a giraffe, and a zebra. And Barbie’s historical past with animals even goes past her intensive pet assortment.

In 2015, following the discharge of the documentary Blackfish, aquatic theme parks confronted rising backlash over their therapy of orca whales. Consequently, Mattel introduced that they’d discontinue SeaWorld Barbie. “Barbie has a wealthy historical past as an animal rights activist. She’s really been fur-free for her total historical past,” a PETA spokesperson mentioned in response. “We’re delighted to see that she will retain her animal-friendly picture.”

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17. Barbie’s buddy Christie was the primary Black doll within the Barbie universe.

christie barbie doll from 1969
Mattel, Inc.

Christie is one in all Barbie’s oldest buddies. She was additionally the primary Black Barbie doll, launched as a part of the Speaking Barbie line of dolls in 1968. Apart from a short exodus within the ’00s, Christie been part of the prolonged Barbie-verse ever since her launch.

18. The primary celeb Barbie was based mostly on the mannequin Twiggy.

Categorical / Stringer / Getty

It is sensible that somebody as well-known as Barbie would have well-known buddies. And her first well-known buddy, based on the official Barbie web site, was Twiggy, based mostly on the long-lasting British style mannequin. The Twiggy doll, which was launched in 1967, wore a yellow, inexperienced, and blue vertical-striped mini costume with yellow boots.

19. Barbie’s first job was “teenage style mannequin.”

barbie's best friend Christie
Sherab / Alamy

When she was first offered in 1959 in a black-and-white swimsuit, Barbie was promoted as a “teenage style mannequin.” After all, that is earlier than she took on quite a few different industries and have become a seasoned businesswoman, scientist, and educator.

20. However since then, she has had about 200 totally different careers.

career barbies on a shelf at the toy store
A. Mertens / Shutterstock

Prior to now 60 years or so, Barbie has held a surprising variety of jobs, working within the arts, enterprise, politics, and science, to call a couple of fields. You most likely did not even notice that she has expertise as an indication language instructor, a UNICEF ambassador, a Canadian Mountie, and a rapper. Thus far, she has greater than 200 careers on her seemingly unending resumé.

21. She additionally has family within the U.Okay.

Barbie Francie Fairchild
RMyers / Alamy

Barbie has an English cousin named Francie Fairchild. She was offered from 1966 to 1976, after which hit cabinets once more in 2011. Curiously sufficient, that was the yr all eyes had been on the royal wedding ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Coincidence? We expect not.

22. Ruth Handler helped develop a prosthetic breast for reconstructive surgical procedure.

Hand Holding up a Pink Breast Cancer Ribbon
Jo Panuwat D / Shutterstock

After being recognized with breast most cancers and present process a mastectomy within the ’70s, Ruth Handler helped design and develop a high-quality breast prosthesis for different breast most cancers survivors with the corporate Almost Me, which has now been making prosthetic breasts and different post-mastectomy merchandise for greater than 40 years.

23. Barbie has run for president six occasions.

presidential barbie
Mattel, Inc.

Discuss persistence. Barbie has run for president each election yr since 1992, excluding the 1996 race. Barbie took her progressive marketing campaign a step additional in 2016, working on the primary all-female ticket the U.S. had ever seen.

“The president and vice chairman dolls proceed our efforts to show ladies to inspiring careers which might be underrepresented by girls,” Lisa McKnight, common supervisor and senior vice chairman at Barbie, mentioned in an announcement. “We see this doll set as a well timed and topical platform to additional the dialog round feminine management.”

24. Barbie went to “went to area” 4 years earlier than the moon touchdown.

Barbie doll dressed as an astronaut.
eighth.creator / Shutterstock

On Jul. 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin grew to become the primary people to land on the moon. And whereas many of the world was understandably impressed by this feat, Barbie was all “been there, carried out that.” You see, in 1965, 4 years earlier than Apollo 11 occurred, Miss Astronaut Barbie “sashay[ed] her manner into area.”

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25. Completely Hair Barbie is the best-selling model of the doll thus far.

totally hair barbie
Mattel, Inc.

In line with Guinness World Information, the best-selling Barbie doll of all time is Completely Hair Barbie, launched in 1992. Thus far, greater than 10 million dolls have been offered worldwide; in 2017, Mattel even launched a twenty fifth anniversary model of the doll in mild of its success.

26. The Barbie dreamhouse is “price” $25 million.

barbie dreamhouse
Mattel, Inc.

In 2013, Mattel introduced that Barbie could be promoting her dream home in Malibu for $25 million. “The 8,500-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bathroom, sits on a 23,456 square-foot lot and consists of an ultra-private entrance to 150 toes of pristine Malibu Seashore,” the corporate mentioned in a press launch. Mattel added, “It is the one property in Malibu with really unobstructed views of the ocean—in spite of everything, it solely has three partitions.” Too humorous.

27. A Barbie doll is offered each three seconds.

little kid picking out a barbie at the toy store
Alina Demidenko / Shutterstock

In 2003, Mattel made the declare that each three seconds, somebody on this planet buys a brand new Barbie. In line with The Telegraph, meaning the variety of Barbies on this planet might circumnavigate the globe greater than six occasions.

The world is 24,900 miles in circumference, and a Barbie doll is 11.5 inches tall. Subsequently, you would want 13.7 million Barbies stacked head-to-toe to make it world wide. Through the use of the aforementioned three-second Barbie rule, there are sufficient dolls to wrap across the globe greater than half a dozen occasions.

28. A Siri-like Barbie was as soon as accused of spying on her homeowners.

Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock

Although Barbie has generated her fair proportion of controversy all through her historical past, 2015 noticed one of many weirder debates concerning the doll. That yr, Mattel launched Good day Barbie, which allowed customers to ask the doll questions and get responses, just like Apple’s Siri.

Critics questioned whether or not or not Good day Barbie violated the privateness of each youngsters and fogeys, contemplating the voices of these talking to the doll may very well be recorded and saved by Mattel’s tech companion ToyTalk. Others feared hackers might use the WiFi connection to in some way faucet into an proprietor’s house, overhearing their personal conversations.

29. The largest Barbie collector on this planet has 15,000 dolls.

set of barbies
NeydtStock / Shutterstock

Barbie has 1000’s of devoted collectors. Nonetheless, her greatest fan and most devoted collector is a German lady named Bettina Dorfmann, who has amassed greater than 15,000 dolls since receiving her first one in 1966 on the age of 5.

30. The costliest Barbie offered for greater than $300,000.

Barbie by Stefano Canturi
Alpha / Flickr

Barbie initially offered for $2.99 and in the present day, she prices about $10 on common. Not the Stefano Canturi Barbie, although. This doll has an precise diamond necklace by jewellery designer Stefano Canturi that options an emerald-cut Australian pink diamond surrounded by three carats of white diamonds. Christie’s auctioned it off in 2010 to lift cash for the Breast Most cancers Analysis Basis. The ultimate bid was $302,500, making the blinged-out doll the costliest Barbie ever offered.

31. Oscar de la Renta was the primary clothier to work with Barbie.

Oscar de la renta Barbie
nicolenicole / Flickr

In 1984, Barbie added her first designer costume to her wardrobe. Mattel teamed up with well-known clothier Oscar de la Renta to present Barbie some “glamorous jewel tone and metallic outfits,” because the official Barbie web site notes. Since then, Mattel has teamed up with designers together with Christian Louboutin, Givenchy, Coach, Dior, and Vera Wang.

32. Andy Warhol used Barbie as inspiration for one in all his portraits.

Andy Warhol
Science Historical past Photographs / Alamy

In 1986, pop artwork icon Andy Warhol created a portrait of one in all his many muses, BillyBoy*. Nonetheless, this “portrait” was uncommon in that it wasn’t really based mostly on a picture of BillyBoy*, however of Barbie.

“For a lot of, many, a few years [Andy] needed to do a portray of me. And for some purpose, I did not recognize that concept. Out of annoyance, I mentioned to him, ‘Nicely should you actually wish to do my portrait, do a portrait of Barbie as a result of Barbie, c’est moi,'” BillyBoy* informed the BBC.

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33. Barbie held her first runway present in New York in 2009.

Barbie fashion show at New York fashion week
WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy

In 2009, in honor of her fiftieth anniversary, Barbie held her first runway present throughout New York’s Trend Week. In line with Reuters, designers who participated within the present included Vera Wang, Juicy Couture, Badgley Mischka, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein.

34. There was a wildly in style pop track written about her.

Aqua single Barbie Girl, a 1990s one hit wonder
MCA Information

In 1997, Danish Norwegian pop group Aqua launched their third single, “Barbie Woman.” Within the UK, it topped the charts for a whole month, turning into the nation’s thirteenth best-selling single of all time. In whole, the band offered about eight million copies worldwide. However the place there’s fandom, there are additionally haters. Regardless of all of the success, the track was really voted the worst of the ’90s by a Rolling Stone reader survey.

35. A speaking model of Barbie was launched, however not everybody favored what she needed to say.

barbie close up
DAndreev / Shutterstock

In 1992, Mattel launched Teen Speak Barbie. Every doll was geared up with a voicebox and the flexibility to say 4 totally different phrases, assigned at random out of a library of 270. Whereas most expressions revolved round regular teenage actions or much more aspirational pursuits (i.e. “I am learning to be a physician.”), others weren’t so well-received. The phrase “Math class is hard!” garnered the eye of a nationwide girls’s group and was ultimately faraway from the choice listing. The controversy impressed a Season 5 episode of The Simpsons, during which Lisa is disenchanted by her speaking Malibu Stacy doll.

36. She has an enormous following on YouTube.

screen shot of barbie and kids from the official YouTube Channel
@Barbie / YouTube

The Barbie YouTube Channel has simply shy of three,000 movies and over 11 million subscribers. There, followers can see animated movies of her in motion, singing songs and sharing updates about what’s coming subsequent. She’s even shared her morning routine, revealed her make-up hacks, and took part in viral challenges.

37. She’s the inspiration behind Greta Gerwig’s newest masterpiece.

barbie movie poster featuring margot robbie
@barbiethemovie / Twitter

Greta Gerwig’s much-anticipated Barbie hit theaters in July 2023. The movie, which follows Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken’s (Ryan Gosling) journey into the “actual world,” has already grabbed the eye of critics, who’ve dubbed it “good,” brash,” and “a pink fever dream.” The large ensemble solid consists of America Ferrera, Will Ferrell, Michael Cera, John Cena, Dua Lipa, Nicola Coughlan, Kate McKinnon, Emerald Fennel, and extra.

Wrapping Up

That is it for our listing of Barbie info, however you’ll want to test again with us quickly for much more superior trivia. It’s also possible to join our publication so you do not miss out on what’s subsequent!

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