900 Lafayette Boulevard, Bridgeport, CT // Lafayette Hall

Inside Barbie ®

The “Plastic Princess” talks about her past, her future, and answers questions that reveal her innermost thoughts. Having lived almost half a century she has played an important role in the development of generations of women (shoppers) while, at the same time, she is merely a reflection of the cultural shifts of a nation. It is this duality of passiveness/aggressiveness that makes Barbie the vehicle of controversy.

Q. Barbie here you are almost 50 and still fabulous. You truly are the “queen of all media” with great market share: your television show, music career, video and computer games, not to mention your apparel line and home goods line? What’s left for you to do?

A.  Staying in the game is full-time job! I’ve got Bratz and Groovy Girls nipping at my heels! The competition is fierce! But you know what they say-- you’re only as good as your last success, so we’re always updating. For example, one consideration is to make my head bigger and my clothes hipper. To that end, we’re working with the latest designers to create a new look for me in order to target the same demographics (8-12 year olds) that Bratz has captured. I really have to keep my ear to the ground…and changing is what it’s all about, right? (Plastic smile)

Q. Can you tell us what really happened between you and Ken? After all those years together to suddenly leave him for Blaine? Do you think 43 years of togetherness should be tossed aside for a surfer dude? Was this some kind of “mid-life crisis” or just a publicity stunt?

A.  Look, it always hurts when one partner outgrows the other. I mean, how could it not? But the market is there and the market decides who stays and who goes—I mean that’s just business and business isn’t personal. He and I still play tennis when we can…(a small plastic pout). Over the years I’ve had to reinvent myself, and well, Ken just never kept up with me. Let me put it another way, accessories can date an outfit, and that’s how I came to feel about Ken over time. He was becoming a liability whereas Blaine can keep up with me. He understands and supports my vision and let’s face it, I can’t afford to toy with my business.

Q. Who is Barbie's hero?

A. I would have to say right now it’s George W. Bush. I mean, how can you not worship a man who spends billions every day to spread democracy. And heaven knows I love democracy. Barbie is democratic and my pricing reflects that. My mantra has always been “A Barbie for every hand!”

Q. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

A. It’s always sad for me when parents can’t afford my dream house…I mean homelessness is not what Barbie is about….(slow shake of her head and her stiff blond hair)

Q. What do you most dislike?

A. Being misunderstood by cultural historians and anxious mothers.

Q. What is your motto?

A. I have two actually: Shopping is Power and I Shop Therefore I Am!

Q. If you had to sum up your life in a few sentences what would you say?

A. You can be rich and not be famous. You can be famous and not be rich. But to be rich, famous and plastic- it’s the American dream!

Interview with Barbie in April 2006