Amy Schumer to star as Barbie in live-action film: 8 things about Barbie dolls

Amy Schumer accepts the award for Best Actress in a Comedy for Trainwreck during the 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Santa Monica on Jan 17, 2016.
Amy Schumer accepts the award for Best Actress in a Comedy for Trainwreck during the 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Santa Monica on Jan 17, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - American comedienne Amy Schumer has been tipped to star as Barbie in a live-action film about the about the staple childhood Mattel doll.

The picture-perfect plastic doll, created by founder Ruth Handler in 1959, has evolved with the times, donning sharp suits in the 1980s with the rise of the businesswoman and putting on weight after being criticised for being too skinny.

Here are eight things to know about Barbie.

1. Barbie's founder created the doll for her daughter


Ruth Handler, Barbie creator. PHOTO: MATTEL

In the 1950s, the popular toys for girls were baby dolls, but Ms Handler noticed that her daughter Barbara liked to play with paper cut-out dolls of teenagers and women. She created Barbie - full name Barbie Millicent Roberts - for her little girl, basing it on a German doll called Bild Lilli.

2. The first Barbie doll wore a swimsuit


Mattel introduces the Ken doll in 1961. Ken and Barbie meet on the set of their first television commercial together and fall in love. PHOTO: MATTEL

The very first Barbie doll wore a black-and-white zebra-print bathing suit, sunglasses and hoop earrings. According to the Barbie media website, the doll was a teenage fashion model - the very first of the doll's many careers.

3. Barbie has been slammed for having an unrealistic body


A Mattel Inc. 30th Anniversary Malibu Barbie 
doll, re-released as a collector's item in 2002. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

According to the Huffington Post, if Barbie were a real woman, the blue-eyed blonde would be 1.8m-tall, with a 99cm bust, 83cm hips and US size three feet.

4. There are now petite, tall and curvy Barbies

In January this year (2016), Barbie announced three new body types for its line of dolls, with seven skin tones, 22 eye colours and 24 hairstyles in an attempt to address criticisms that Barbie gives girls impossible body aspirations.

5. Barbie is a job hopper, with more than 150 careers

Barbie has an impressive resume, ranging from surgeon to presidential candidate. Among her myriad careers are news anchor, computer engineer, race car driver and veterinarian.

6. The best-selling Barbie is the Totally Hair Barbie

This flamboyant doll was released in 1992, with more than 10 million dolls sold worldwide, according to Guinness World Records. The doll is dressed in a long-sleeved psychedelic-hued mini dress and sports long crimped hair, a then-popular trend.

7. The priciest Barbie was auctioned off for US$302,500

Designed by international jewellery designer Stefano Canturi, the most expensive Barbie doll ever was auctioned off for US$302,500 (S$429,500) in 2010, with the proceeds donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The chic doll wore a black strapless dress and sported a one-carat pink diamond around her neck.

8. Barbie has embraced the digital era

Not only does Barbie have her own website at play.barbie.com where users can play games or watch Barbie-themed videos, she also has her own series of smartphone game apps.

In 2015, American toy company Mattel released a Barbie doll equipped with Wi-Fi and voice recognition technology. It can hold conversations with people, much like iPhone's virtual assistant Siri.

Sources: www.barbie.mattel.com, www.barbiemedia.com, Guinness World Records, The Business Times, The Huffington Post, The New Paper, The Straits Times