Barbie Girl in the Real World

When did Barbie become human?

Let’s talk about beauty, shall we? Not what’s in the eye-of-the-beholder, but the standards of beauty embraced by our society. And for the last 30 years or so, the standard has been the Barbie doll. Ever since the Barbie appeared, more than 50 years ago, it has had a tremendous influence on girls and young women worldwide, so that while toy companies tried to make dolls that looked like women, more and more women and girls wanted to look like dolls. 

The most well-known and successful examples of the pursuit of the doll image is Valeria Lukyanova, ‘the Human Barbie’, together with her male counterpart, Justin Jedlica (umm, he looks like Ken, not like Barbie, though). So what makes people go to such extremes? Let’s find out a few more things about them.

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So, Who is Valeria Lukyanova?

Here you have Valeria’s parents’ version of her appearance on earth, which is quite different from what Valeria herself claims. 

She was born in 1985 in Tiraspol, USSR (today’s Transdniestria), so she is a Moldavian-Ukrainian woman. Transdniestria is a tiny corner of the world that never got the message that the Soviet Union fell. They claim independence, although Moldova and Ukraine both assert rights to the region, are guarded by Russian Federation troops,  and have their own – bizarre – passport control. You can’t use international ATM or credit cards there because most banks don’t recognize Transdniestria (or their currency), and you have to stand in separate lines to purchase bread and toilet paper (even though they’re sold in the same store). Oh, and if you try to take a picture, most people will hide. That might have something to do with the fact that the country’s economy seems to revolve around arms deals.

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Despite being born in such a unique area of the world, it seems that Valeria had a normal childhood, spending much of her time playing with dolls. Unlike most other girls, Valeria took her hobby seriously and made dolls her role model. Still, her life went on in a fairly ordinary manner for a while. She got a Bachelor’s Degree in Constructions and Architecture and looked, well, normal, until the late 2000s.