Over the years, Mattel has expanded its line of Barbies to accommodate more realistic standards.
In 2016, we were introduced to a line of “curvy,” “tall,” and “petite” Barbies. Earlier this year, we got an even more diverse squad that had vitiligo and no hair and were differently abled. Incorporating varying complexions and body sizes is great, but one woman is taking the realism up a notch with her self-made line of “Quarantine Barbies.”
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Created by Tanya Ruiz, Quarantine Barbies (which are not for sale) cover the gamut of self-isolation: There’s the flour-covered Bread Baking version, complete with bagels and pastries and accessories; the New Hobby edition, featuring a Barbie who’s taken up everything from guitar lessons to knitting; the Quarreling Couple set, with Barbie and Ken in desperate need of counseling; and more. Ruiz even included an essential-workers series as a shoutout to everyone on the front lines, from medical professionals to sanitation workers.
Ruiz began creating her own modified Barbies and sharing them online under the title “Barbie Gets Real” in 2019. As a former teen model in the 80s, Ruiz started to have an unhealthy relationship with her body, which had roots in her childhood playing with Barbies. After leaving the modeling world and later starting a family, Ruiz wanted her daughters to have more realistic toys to play with.
“I didn’t want my daughters to grow up thinking that their worth was based on the way they looked and that they needed to look like a blond-haired, blue-eyed Barbie,” Ruiz said in an interview with Yahoo late last year.
Ruiz had been modifying dolls to resemble her and her family, but she got the idea for her new Quarantine line from a 2011 segment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where DeGeneres created her own realistic Barbies, including Homewrecker Barbie, Distracted Driver Barbie, and Hoarder Barbie.
“I thought, ‘That’s really funny.’ I’ve always wanted to create some spoof Barbies, but I never really took the time,” Ruiz said in a behind-the-scenes video explaining the dolls. “Well, I’ve had a lot of time lately.”
Check out more about Quarantine Barbies in the video below, and see more of Ruiz’s work on her Instagram.