There have also been literal interpretations of the toy doll. Kacey Musgraves used Barbie as her muse for the 2019 Met Gala, dressing up as her IRL with platinum blonde hair, a hot pink ensemble and a coordinating convertible.
Of course, stars such as Nicki Minaj and Trixie Mattel have made Mattel’s OG girlboss a huge part of their personas since the beginning of their careers. Even someone like Angelyne, a Los Angeles legend, has emulated the fashionista’s lifestyle—which was depicted in the 2022 Peacock series of the same name.
“I’d love to be like Barbie,” Emmy Rossum said as the show’s titular socialite. “She lives a painless existence. You can stick her with things and she won’t cry, she doesn’t hurt. Wouldn’t that be nice, never to hurt?”
But despite Barbie’s decidedly sunny outlook that has become synonymous with all things pink and fun, it hasn’t always been the case.
“When Barbie launched in 1959,” Culmone told E!, “she wasn’t wearing pink. She was wearing a black-and-white striped bathing suit. She had a gorgeous red lip, gold hoops and those great black slide mules.”
It wasn’t until 1972 that Barbie embraced pink, going full force in 1976 with everything from clothes and accessories to the packaging and the font taking on the vibrant hue. This move, as Culmone pointed out, was done intentionally. “It’s not a quiet or shy pink,” she said. “It’s strong, it’s powerful.”