If you spent any part of your childhood playing with a Barbie, you probably think you know the iconic doll pretty well. But we've found some Barbie fun facts you might not know.
Embrace your Barbiecore era and discover the real meaning behind Barbie's name, just how many jobs she's had over the years, and more with this list of Barbie trivia questions.
The Birth of Barbie
When was Barbie born? What inspired her creation? These Barbie tidbits will give you the full backstory on the blonde doll we love so much.
Barbie's Full Name
Barbie creator, Ruth Handler, named the now-famous doll after her own daughter. Barbie's official full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. But, of course, her friends call her Barbie.
Though Barbie is truly ageless, both in her beauty and in our own memories, she does have an official age and birthday. Barbie officially entered the world on March 9th, 1959. Given that she immediately started her career, we assume she was born as the perfect adult woman she is today rather than a small baby doll.
Barbie's Official Age
Though the date of Barbie's birth suggests she should be close to 65, she's officially 19 years old. Mattel has stated that Barbie will remain this age, even as her careers and wardrobe expand.
Where Is Barbie From?
No, we don't mean the dusty toy chest in your parent's attic. Where is Barbie really from? Officially, she hails from Willows, a fictional town in Wisconsin. Who knew Barbie was a Midwest girl?
Who Was Ruth Handler?
Ruth Handler, credited with bringing Barbie to life in 1959, was a prominant business woman during that time. She was the first president of the same toy manufacturer that launched Barbie into the world, Mattel, Inc. She and her husband co-founded the company after she worked for Paramount in the late 30s. Turns out that Barbie's creator was quite the female entrepreneur and role model herself.
Barbie the Professional
Let's give credit where it's due: Barbie has been encouraging young girls to pursue their dreams since her debut on the toy aisle. Barbie's long list of career accomplishments still reminds us that we can be anything, do anything, and do it all while wearing heels. Just how many roles has Barbie had through the years?
A College Grad
You can't have all of those careers without a degree. Barbie officially graduated college as part of the class of 1963, decades ahead of her time as a female academic.
An Impressive Resume
Barbie boasts a long list of impressive careers and it's hard to imagine a single job she doesn't have a matching outfit for. Officially, the Barbie character has held over 250 jobs. Veterinarian, surgeon, bakery owner, violinist, and even a rap artist: there's nothing Barbie can't do.
Her First Gig
Though her career would go on to include titles like ballerina and floral designer, Barbie's first job was as a teenage fashion model. Maybe that's where her love of fantastical wardrobe pieces started.
Careers You Didn't Know Barbie Had
There are far too many career successes in Barbie's life to list them all, but these are some of the most unexpected and surprising jobs Barbie has held over the years.
- Rapper (1992)
- Circus Performer (1994)
- Avon Representative (1999)
- Matador (1999)
- Sign Language Teacher (1999)
- Paratrooper (2000)
- Mary Kay Consultant (2003)
- Astrophysicist (2019)
The One Thing Barbie Hasn't Done Yet
Though there was a time when Barbie fans were begging Mattel for a Barbie Jr., the doll has never officially become a mom. She has had a ton of practice in her career as a babysitter though. Don't worry, the pregnant Barbie doll in your memory was very real. But it wasn't actually Barbie, it was Barbie's BFF, Midge.
The Queen of Accessories
Shoes, clothes, home goods, and friends: Barbie has it all. Here are some fun facts about Barbie's most iconic accessories and fellow dolls.
Barbie dolls and some of the clothing were originally manufactured in Japan, up until 1972. There's an exclusive - and pretty pricey - set of Barbie clothing made for the Japanese market.
In 1964, Sears sold an exclusive, and very real, mink stole for Barbie. The piece is unsurprisingly hard to find today and will certainly never be made with real mink again, so it's worth up to $2,000.
Skipper isn't Barbie's only sister. In fact, she has three sisters: Skipper, Stacie, and Chelsea. If you don't recognize Chelsea, that may be because she was known as Kelly up until 2011.
Midge, Barbie's best friend, is of Irish descent and was the third doll Mattel released as part of the Barbie line up. She boasts a near 60 year friendship with Barbie. Some Barbie fans have noticed, however, that Midge has not appeared anywhere in the Barbie franchise since 2015.
Barbie's Other Half
We all know Ken would be nothing without his blonde beauty. Barbie may be the star of this iconic duo, but we can still appreciate Ken for who he is with these facts about his development.
Ken Looked Different
In his early years as Barbie's boyfriend, Ken's hair was made of felt and his arms were completely straight. Though the straight-armed design is still found on many Ken dolls, he mostly exchanged the straight arms for bendable ones and a head of plastic hair in the late 70s. If you collected Barbie and Ken dolls in the 90s and early 2000s, you may remember having a few brunette Ken dolls as well.
Ken & Barbie Were on a Break
In 2004, the vice president of Mattel announced that Ken and Barbie would be taking a break from their decades long courtship. There was an ongoing campaign created for the Ken doll with a new look and a whole hearted effort to win Barbie back. They've been reconciled since Valentine's Day 2011.
Ken Has Friends too
Barbie isn't the only one with a group of besties. Mattel has crafted an entire Barbie world, including a group of buddies for Barbie's on and off boyfriend. His pal Allan is meant to be the husband of Midge, Barbie's best friend. Other friends you might remember are Brad, Steven, and Andrew.
He Met Barbie on a Commercial Set
That's the story Mattel tells, at least. The 60+ year relationship apparently started on the set of Barbie and Ken's first commercial together.
He's a Great Big Brother
While Barbie has her long list of sisters, Ken has his one little brother. Tommy was born in 1997 and debuted as a doll companion for Ken to help care for - baby carrier and bottles included.
Iconic Barbie Moments
From her official debut to all of the news-worthy Barbie moments since, Barbie is famous for more than being a beloved toy.
Barbie's Official Debut
On her official birthday, March 9th, 1959, Barbie was debuted at the American Toy Fair in New York. Though she was a hit right away and instantly became the latest obsession for young girls that year, it was her debut outfit and look that made the biggest impact.
The iconic black and white swimsuit - strapless by the way - was paired with a mid-length ponytail and curly bangs. Don't worry, her famous blonde locks have always been her signature.
Her First Commercial
Barbie first hit the ad scene, targeting young girls during an airing of the Mickey Mouse Club, in 1959 - the same year as her official debut to the world.
Barbie was ahead of her time in many ways. But perhaps the most advanced thing she accomplished in her early career was becoming an astronaut and traveling to space - four years before man would even walk on the moon!
The OG Barbie Movies
Barbie has always adapted to the times, and her movie career is no exception. Long before the announcement of 2023's Barbie film, 16 animated Barbie films released in the 2000s. Barbie in the Nutcracker started the beloved series of movies with its release in 2001.
We may consider Barbie a celebrity herself, but the Mattel brand has also immortalized quite a few celebrities over the years. The honor of Barbie's first celebrity is held by famous 60s model, Twiggy. Here are a few other celebrities featured in the form of a Barbie:
- Audrey Hepburn
- Rosie O'Donnell
- Jane Goodall
- Prince William & Kate Middleton
- Reba McEntire
- Joan Jett
- Cyndi Lauper
With 65 years to grow, develop, and try every fashion trend imaginable, Barbie has changed quite a bit since her debut. Barbie has shown just how powerful she is with her ability to adapt and change with the culture, making her as classy today as she was in 1959.
The Dream House
Barbie's dream house was the hope of many young girls and plenty of adult women as well. The release of Barbie's first home in 1962 was about far more than real estate. Barbie, as a single woman, stood for independence and empowerment - long before those terms became buzzwords - when she purchased her own home (full of only the most stylish furniture and decor, of course).
The Introduction of Christie
In 1968, Mattel made an important statement in the middle of the Equal Rights Movement. Christie was one of many friends released for Barbie, but she was also the first African-American doll in the lineup during a time when she and Barbie wouldn't have had all of the same rights in United States. We're happy to say that she and Barbie are still great friends today. Mattel would go on to release other diverse dolls, all having the opportunity to be named Barbie.
Barbie for President
Barbie officially ran for President of the United States in 1992. She's ran for office in every election since and Mattel even released a series of presidential Barbies in 2016, including a female vice president to the blonde politician.
Barbie was doing more than running for President in 2016. She also launched her official statement about her body on the cover of TIME magazine: "now can we stop talking about my body?" This statement coincided with the body positive launch of three new Barbie body shapes: petite, tall, and curvy.
The Barbie Movie
Though there have been a few small Barbie animated movies over the years, the anticipation of this year's Barbie movie is on a different level. Since Barbie is getting her first real-life portrayal, we thought some facts about the Barbie movie might be in order.
The Plot of the Movie Isn't New
In fact, the plot of Barbie being forced out of her fictional land for not meeting the standards of perfection almost made it to the big screen in 2016, with Amy Schumer as the star. With some tweaks, recasting, and a few years to work out the finer details, 2023's Barbie is said to have a similar plot, but with some of the nostalgia we're all hoping to experience during the screening of the film.
The Film Set a Trend Before Its Release
Barbiecore, Barbie aesthetics, and all the pink outfits you can dream up have been taking over the trends ever since the first photos of the movie released. We're loving this Barbie awakening and can't wait to see what other trends this long-overdue movie will produce.
Pink Paint Was in Short Supply
Reports are circulating that the Warner Bros. production company used so much pink paint during the filming of Barbie, that the world-wide supply is seeing the effects. The company that supplied the paint for the set, Rosco, says that their already low supply (due to the 2020 pandemic and supply chain issues) was nearly depleted from the abundance of fluorescent pink paint needed on set.
We'll See Some Iconic Barbie Oufits
There's one thing we all want in this live action Barbie film: to see her iconic wardrobe brought to life on Margot Robbie. Photos and trailers have shown us plenty of recognizable Barbie fashion moments from decades past, but the debut black and white swimsuit is the one we're dying to see - and photos suggest we will.
The Film's Director Was Nervous
Greta Gerwig, co-writer and director of the 2023 film, expressed her initial nervousness at taking on the task of bringing Barbie to life. There's never been a live-action Barbie film, and with more than 60 years of making waves in culture, we can understand why anyone would be apprehensive about this delicate and beloved character. If the trailer is any indication, Gerwig has created a movie that Barbie fans will adore.
Barbie Will Never Go Out of Style
There's a reason Barbie has been around and adored for so long. She knows how to set a trend and never go out of style all at the same time. It isn't just Barbie's wardrobe that makes her a cultural icon and an unforgettable character.
She's been ahead of her time since her debut and we expect that Barbie will continue to show us just how much girls can change the world.