11 Fun Facts About Barbie
In 2019, Barbie will celebrate the big 6-0. How she looks so good for being nearly six decades old, we'll probably never know. But we do have the other fun Barbie factoids.
1. SHE WAS BORN ON MARCH 9, 1959.
Barbie's official birthday represents her public debut at the 1959 American International Toy Fair in New York. Despite the fact that she's nearly 60 years old, Barbie just got her first belly button in 2000.
2. SHE WAS CREATED BY AN ENGINEER WHO USED TO WORK FOR THE PENTAGON.
Jack Ryan—the so-called "Father of Barbie"—helped design Barbie as well as Chatty Cathy, but began his career making missiles for the Pentagon. In an unrelated fact, he was Zsa Zsa Gabor's sixth husband (out of nine): Rumor has it that when their marriage started going downhill (which was quick, since they were married for less than two years), he once disassembled her Rolls Royce, piece by piece, and refused to put it back together.
3. SHE WAS BASED ON AN R-RATED GERMAN DOLL.
Though Ryan designed Barbie, the concept came from Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler. Handler was traveling through Europe with her kids when she came across the Germany-born Bild Lilli doll, who was anything but kid-friendly: Lilli was a high-class call girl who began her life as a comic and was sold in smoke shops, adult toy stores, and other not-kid-friendly places. But Handler, who had mentioned the idea of an adult doll to her Mattel exec husband before, liked what she saw. Though her husband had initially balked at the idea, the Lilli dolls sold him on the concept, too. Though Bild Lilli's manufacturer initially sued Mattel for patent infringement, the case was eventually dismissed and Mattel officially bought the rights to the doll for $21,600.
4. BARBIE IS NAMED AFTER THE CREATORS' DAUGHTER.
Barbie is named after the Handlers' daughter, Barbara. Ken is named after their son, Kenneth. Her parents are apparently George and Margaret Roberts from Willows, Wisconsin. Other family members include her siblings: Skipper, Tutti, Todd, Stacie, Kelly, and Krissy. Tutti and Todd are twins ... but so are Todd and Stacie, apparently (at least according to Todd's box). She also has cousins named Francie and Jazzie.
5. ONE OF HER SIBLINGS WENT MISSING.
Only adding to that whole twin sibling mystery: Tutti mysteriously disappeared in 1971, so we can only assume that Stacie (introduced in 1992) is Tutti reincarnated.
6. SHE'S BEEN AT THE CENTER OF SOME VERY REAL BODY IMAGE CONTROVERSIES.
Barbie has been at the center of many body image controversies over the years due to her ridiculously svelte-yet-busty figure.
Mattel makes Barbie at a 1/6 scale, which is standard scale for action figures. This would make Barbie's measurements 38-18-28 (reports vary based on versions of dolls).
7. ONE SPECIAL EDITION BARBIE CAME WITH A WEIGHT LOSS BOOK THAT INCLUDED "DON'T EAT" AS A TIP.
Making matters even worse was 1965's Slumber Party Barbie, who came with her very own "How to Lose Weight" book, which included tips like "don't eat." She also came with a bathroom scale that put the 5'9" Barbie in at 110 pounds. Well, 5'9" if you consider the 1/6 scale, which makes Barbie about 35 pounds underweight.
8. AN ORIGINAL BARBIE IS WORTH SOME SERIOUS COIN TODAY.
The first Barbie was $3. In mint condition, the same one is worth $27,450 today.
9. THERE HAVE BEEN LOTS OF CELEBRITY DOLLS.
Celebrity Barbies have included Twiggy (the first celebrity doll), Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, LeAnn Rimes, Cher, and Lindsay Lohan.
10. BARBIE'S FIRST CAREER WAS AS A TEEN MODEL.
Since embarking on her first career as a teen fashion model, Barbie has had a handful of other jobs, including: a fashion editor, a flight attendant, a ballerina, a tennis pro, an executive, a candy striper, an astronaut, a surgeon, Miss America, a gold medal gymnast, an actress, an aerobics instructor, a reporter, a rock star, a UNICEF ambassador, an army officer, a rapper, a chef, a police officer, a Rockette, a baseball player, a SCUBA diver, a U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Squadron Leader, a paleontologist, a NASCAR driver, a pilot, a sign language teacher, a presidential candidate, an American Idol winner, a zoologist, a Space Camp instructor, and a fashion magazine intern. And this list is by no means exhaustive; she's had more than 100 careers so far.
11. HER SIGNATURE COLOR, IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED, IS PINK.
Barbie Pink, which the Mattel website pointed out is Pantone color PMS 219.