Barbie has taken the world by storm with the release of the feature film starring Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie and directed by Greta Gerwig. Receiving mostly positive reviews from critics and fans alike, it has already grossed more than $780 million worldwide in its second week in theaters, making it the third-highest grossing film of 2023 (so far). On track for grossing over a billion in its theatrical run, this was also a history-making moment for the director being the biggest debut ever for a film directed by a woman.
With the world now aglow with a pink hue with love for the movie, your Mockingbird Branch is highlighting Barbie throughout the years with a great display. We invite you to stop by and take a look at one of Mattel’s most popular lines of toys and take a glance at just some of the lives Barbie has lived. You might be surprised.
Barbie, who full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts, was a doll created by Ruth Handler and brought to life by her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. Inspired by her daughter Barbara, Ruth gave the doll her child’s name and Barbie made her debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York City on March 9, 1959, which serves as Barbie’s official birthday.
Fun Facts About Barbie:
- Kenneth Sean Carson: Ken first appeared in 1961 as Barbie’s boyfriend, but she has had an on-off romantic relationship with him throughout the years. The two split in 2004, in which Barbie became friendly with Blaine (an Australian surfer), but Ken and Barbie would later reunite on Valentine’s Day in 2011. By 2018 they were depicted as just friends and next-door neighbors…only they know for sure. Ken also got his name from the son of the creator of the Barbie doll.
- Barbie’s Siblings: She has a large family including Skipper (introduced in 1964), twins Todd and Tutti (1965-1971), Stacie (1990), Kelly (1994-2010), Chelsea (as a replacement for Kelly in 2011) and Krissy (1998-2001). She also had an English cousin named Francine (1966-1976; 2011-).
- Side-Eye Barbie: For the first decade of its creation Barbie gave you the side-eye look. It wasn’t until 1971 that she got a makeover from Mattel that changed her eyes to look forward.
- Random House Books: Barbie’s backstory was covered by Random House in a book series released in the 1960s in which you learned that her parents were George and Margaret; she lived in the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin; she attended Willows High School (although later it would be the fictional Manhattan International High School in New York City in a new series of books).
- Where’s Midge?: As part of the Happy Family line, Mattel introduced pregnant Midge and baby dolls in 2002. Although a friend of Barbie, who was a married adult, the line was pulled due to complaints that she promoted teen pregnancy.
- First African-American Barbie: Francie was the first to come off the line in 1967; however, she was created using the molds for the white Francie doll and lacked the characteristics of an African-American female. The following year, Christie was released and is regarded as the first African-American doll in the Barbie range...and one of Barbie’s oldest friends.
- A Doll for Everyone: By 2016, the Barbie line began offering its greatest lineup of diverse dolls covering 22 skin tones, 94 hair colors, 13 eye colors, and five body types, making the doll even more marketable to children.
- Share a Smile Becky: In 1997 she became the first fashion doll to come with a wheelchair. It would later be discovered that her wheelchair wouldn’t fit inside the elevator in Barbie’s dream house, so the house was remodeled to compensate.