Happy Birthday, Barbie! (March 9th)

20 Surprising Things You Don’t Know About Barbie

All those years spent playing together and you didn’t even know her real name.


Barbie® is a doll!

posted on May 20, 2013, at 2:20 p.m.
by Brian Galindo, BuzzFeed Staff

  1. Barbie’s real name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  2. In 1959, the first Barbie doll sold for $3.00 (that would be the equivalent of $23.97 today)
  3. The first Barbie doll was available as either a blonde or a brunette.
  4. The first Barbie dolls were manufactured in Japan and their clothes were hand-stitched by Japanese workers.
  5. Barbie isn’t from Malibu, she is actually from (fictional) Willows, Wisconsin.
  6. Barbie was originally a 17-year-old “Teen Age Fashion Model.”
  7. Over the years, Barbie has had seven siblings: Skipper, Stacie, Chelsea, Krissy, Kelly, Tutti, and Todd.
  8. She has had more than 130 careers; they have included being an elementary school teacher, a business executive, a McDonald’s cashier, a doctor, an astronaut, and yes, even a rapper. Plus, she’s vied for the Presidency of the United States.  Barbie first ran for the office in the early 1990s and hasn’t showed signs of quitting.
  9. Ken is two years and two days younger than Barbie (he was introduced in 1961). Also, his full name is Ken Carson. Ken® doll was named after the son of Mattel founders Ruth and Elliot Handler.
  10. Ken has never put a ring on it (he and Barbie have never officially been married).
  11. The very first Barbie car was a 1962 Austin Healy roadster.
  12. Barbie’s first pet was a horse named Dancer. Since then, she has had more than 50 other pets, including 21 dogs, 6 cats, a chimpanzee, a panda, a parrot, a lion cub, a giraffe, and a zebra.
  13. Brown is the color most frequently used for Barbie’s eye shadow.
  14. In 1985, Andy Warhol created a silkscreen painting of Barbie. According to his posthumous book, The Andy Warhol Diaries, he hated it and cringed when he unveiled it for the President of Mattel.
  15. Totally Hair Barbie

    Totally Hair Barbie© came with Dep® hair styling gel for her owner.  (Via images.businessweek.com)

    Totally Hair Barbie (1992) is the best-selling Barbie doll ever.

  16. In 2004, after breaking up with Ken, she had a rebound relationship with Blaine, an Australian surfer. Ken and Barbie got back together on Valentine’s Day 2011.
  17. Barbie has never been pregnant (only her best friend Midge has).

    Dr. Barbie© alongside her best friend Midge and Midge's family

    Dr. Barbie© was in the delivery room with her best friend Midge.  Here she poses with Midge, her husband, Alan, and kids.

  18. Aqua’s 1997 song, “Barbie Girl,” was the subject of the lawsuit Mattel v. MCA Records. In 2002, Mattel lost the lawsuit, a Court of Appeals ruled that the song was protected under the First Amendment as “parody and a social commentary.”  In 2009, despite the lawsuit, Mattel released a music video of Barbie singing, “Barbie Girl” (a re-recorded version with modified lyrics).
  19. If Barbie were a real-life person, she’d be the same age as other celebs born in 1959, like Emma Thompson, Marie Osmond, and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.
  20. Presidential Candidate Barbie

    Barbie is not afraid of politics. She first ran for U.S. President in the 1990s.

    Like any baby boomer, she’s witnessed plenty of historic moments and changes in the modern era.  Barbie’s life can only be described as colorful. She came into existence around the era of old-school glamour, became an astronaut during the space race, discoed her way through the 1970s, broke the “plastic ceiling” as a woman in business in the 1980s, entered politics in the 1990s, and even survived a high-profile breakup in 2004. She’s gone from just a pretty face to becoming an athlete, teacher, vet, and even a Naval officer. She really has proven she won’t be confined by a box.

Facts via: Barbie MediaDoll Diaries, and Huffington Post

Family & Friends

Barbie’s family tree may look like a giant Sequoia, but the Barbie Dream House always has room for friends and family, including:


Barbie® has three sisters: Skipper, Stacie, Chelsea


Barbie® has lots of best friends, but her oldest friend is Midge® (shown here), who she grew up with in Willows. Barbie was even Midge’s maid-of-honor at her wedding to Alan in 1991.

Ken© and Barbie©

Like every couple Barbie® and Ken® have have had some bumps in their relationship but have managed to stay together for over 50 years. However, they have NOT been officially married!!!

Barbie® doll’s boyfriend, Ken®, debuted two years after Barbie® in 1961. Ken® doll’s official birthday is March 11, 1961 – making Ken® 2 days and 2 years younger than Barbie®. Starting out with nine outfits, a skinny frame and fuzzy crew cut, he’s always stood by Barbie.

Barbie® doll was named after the daughter of Mattel Founders Ruth and Elliot Handler and Ken® doll was named after their son.

Barbie doll® creators Ruth and Elliott Handler pose with their children, Kenneth and Barbara.

Barbie doll® creators Ruth and Elliott Handler pose with their children, Kenneth and Barbara.

Ken® and Barbie® broke up on Valentine’s Day in 2004 after being together more than 43 years, they rekindled their romance announcing their reunion after seven years of being apart on Valentine’s Day 2011.