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60 Things You Didn’t Know About Barbie

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One of the most popular dolls to have ever walked the planet, this year Barbie is officially turning the big 6-0! A fashionista, a career woman, and a much-loved toy for kids of all generations, Barbie’s milestone birthday is set to pay homage to the doll’s impressive history. We also decided to join in the birthday celebrations in honor of Barbie and round up 60 (yes, 60!) things you probably didn’t know about her. Check out the list below.

1. Last year, Twitter went into near meltdown when it was revealed that Barbie’s name isn’t just Barbie. Her full name is actually Barbara Millicent Roberts.

2. Barbie was named after creator Ruth Handler’s daughter, Barbara.

3. It’s often assumed Barbie is from Malibu, but she is actually from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin.

4. Barbie’s official birthday is March 9, 1959 — the exact date she was unveiled to the toy industry during New York Toy Fair.

5. She may have one of the most extensive wardrobes on the planet, but when Barbie was unveiled, she was only wearing the now-famous black-and-white striped swimsuit.

6. In celebration of Barbie’s 60th birthday, Mattel has released a line of anniversary dolls. Each doll is a reboot of popular “career Barbies” throughout history, such as the news anchor doll and the astronaut doll.

7. Barbie’s first TV commercial aired during the Mickey Mouse Club in 1959.

8. Since then, Barbie TV commercials have helped to launch the careers of some of the biggest celebrities in the world, like Mila Kunis. 

9. In 1961, Barbie was joined by Kenneth Sean Carson, otherwise known as Ken.

10. Mattel released the first African American doll to the Barbie line in 1969.

11. In 1967, Barbie released its first celebrity doll, modeled after the world-famous British model Twiggy.

12. This year, Mattel announced that it’s partnering with National Geographic to create a line of Barbie dolls focused on occupations that women are underrepresented in — like science, exploration, and research.

13. To commemorate the 2011 marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Mattel released collectable-worthy Barbie dolls of the royal couple.

14. The best-selling Barbie doll ever was the 1992 Totally Hair doll, with over 10 million dolls sold worldwide.

15. Last year, Mattel released a One of a Kind doll in honor of the famous wildlife enthusiast Bindi Irwin.

16. In 1985, Barbie launched the “We Girls Can Do Anything” TV ad campaign, encouraging girls to believe in themselves and their dreams.

17. Easily one of the most recognizable songs in history, the hit “Barbie Girl” by Aqua was released in 1997.

18. With over 200 inspirational careers to her name, Barbie certainly has one of the most diverse and impressive resumes in the world!

19. In the 1970s, Barbie worked in the operating room as a surgeon, at a time when few women were applying to medical school.

20. In the 1980s, she took to the boardroom as ‘Day to Night’ CEO Barbie, just as women began to break into the C-suite.

21. Barbie has even been a boxer! In 2018, a one-of-a-kind Shero Barbie was created to honor Nicola Adams Obe.

22. Barbie also has a pretty tight-knit relationship with the fashion community. In the mid-1980s, Oscar de la Renta became the first fashion designer to collaborate with the fashion doll. Since then, she has collaborated with over 75 different fashion designers.

23. In 1962, the Barbie Dreamhouse hit the market. Now, it’s one of the most popular Barbie accessories ever, with one being sold every two minutes.

24. While she may have made her debut in the United States, Barbie is now sold in 150 countries worldwide!

25. In 2016, Barbie introduced three new body types: curvy, petite, and tall.

26. The launch of these new body types even put Barbie on the cover of Time!

27. In 2016, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre in Paris displayed an exhibition dedicated to Barbie. It featured over 700 dolls and showcased the evolution of Barbie.

28. Mattel is excited to be partnering with Margot Robbie to bring Barbie to life on the big screen.

29. In 2010, Barbie and Ken featured in Toy Story 3. It was Ken’s first feature in a movie.

30. While she may boast famous blonde locks, Barbie was originally created and sold as both a blonde and brunette!

31. In celebration of her 50th anniversary, Barbie had her own runway show during New York Fashion Week, featuring original creations by 50 notable designers.

32. From beloved doll to big-time influencer, Barbie has a seriously impressive social media presence, with over 14 million fans on Facebook and 1.2 million followers on Instagram.

33. Mattel has recently teamed up with disability activist Jordan Reeves to launch a new line of Barbies with wheelchairs and prosthetics.

34. Back in 2004, Barbie and Ken broke up. Fortunately, the famous pair reunited on Valentine’s Day in 2011.

35. There’s a good reason why Barbie has been labelled the ultimate fashionista! It takes a professional staff of top designers, makeup artists, and the most elite couturiers — more than a 100 people in total — to create a Barbie and her fashions.

36. In 2001, Mattel released the Sign Language Teacher Barbie, empowering girls to learn new languages. Her hand was moulded into the ASL sign for “I love you.”

37. Barbie has products in over 45 different market categories including: food, fitness, and clothing.

38. With a loyal celebrity following, Barbie has been brought to life by many A-listers, including Paris Hilton and Beyoncé.

39. There are currently 36 feature films in the Barbie film series.

40. Although she has never won an election, Barbie has run for president six times since 1992. In 2016, she ran on the first all-female ticket.

41. The Barbie YouTube channel has over 5 million subscribers, making Barbie the No. 1 girls brand on YouTube.

42. The most expensive Barbie ever sold was auctioned off for $302,500 in 2010. It was a collaboration with Australian jewelry designer Stefano Canturi to raise money for cancer research.

43. If you think your kids own an impressive amount of Barbies, think again. German woman Bettina Dorfman holds the Guinness Book of World Records for having the biggest Barbie collection in the world — over 15,000 different kinds, to be exact!

44. Back in the 1960’s, Barbie received her own book series all about her backstory.

45. This book series even revealed the names of her parents, George and Margaret, who have never been released as dolls.

46. Barbie has been a muse to many artists over the past six decades, most famously painted by Andy Warhol in 1986.

47. 2014 saw the launch of the Barbie Style Instagram page — positioning Barbies in unique real-world situations — boasting the latest fashion trends, of course!

48. Barbie has her own Pantone color — PMS 219 — better known as Barbie Pink. The signature shade has been used by Mattel in logos and Barbie merchandise for decades!

49. In 2015, Italian fashion brand Moschino collaborated with Barbie to release a limited-edition doll wrapped in Moschino-designed fashion.

50. Last year, Barbie launched the Dream Gap Project, an on-going global initiative that encourages young girls to embark on any career dream they desire.

51. Today, a mint-condition 1959 Barbie doll can fetch as much as $27,450 at auction.

52. Keeping within the animal theme, Barbie has actually had over 40 pets throughout her history, including cats, dogs, horses, and even a panda!

53. Model Ashley Graham received her own Barbie doll in 2016. Her one request: A doll with thighs that touch. Positively groundbreaking, we say!

54. Barbie just wouldn’t be complete without her sports car. Her first edition — an Austin Healey — was released in 1962.

55. In 2013, Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z splashed out $80,000 on a diamond-encrusted Barbie for their daughter Blue Ivy’s first birthday.

56. After spending decades walking on nothing but high-heels, Barbie Fashionista dolls came with the option of flat shoes in 2015.

57. Bec Hewitt, alongside her daughter Ava, were both invited to be ambassadors for Barbie during the dolls 2016 Australian Christmas campaign.

58. The first ever Barbie Collector Convention was held in October 1980, when 100 collectors gathered in New York City to celebrate their love of the doll.

59. Last year, Barbie received her very first Netflix series, Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures.

60. And finally, Barbie is the most popular fashion doll to ever be produced. With more than 100 dolls sold every minute, that’s a total of 158 million dolls sold annually.

This article was written by Now to Love editors. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.

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