Barbie fighting to keep her crown: The toy doll's 5 biggest rivals

Barbie, born in 1959 as a teenage model in the fictional Wisconsin state of Willows, has survived more than 150 career makeovers. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Barbie, born in 1959 as a teenage model in the fictional Wisconsin state of Willows, has survived more than 150 career makeovers. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Barbie, or Barbara Millicent Roberts, born in 1959 as a teenage model in the fictional Wisconsin state of Willows, has survived more than 150 career makeovers - she has been a doctor, astronaut and McDonald's cashier among others - and battled numerous threats to her dominance in the toy doll market.

Fifty-five years on, however, she remains in the top spot. But other toy dolls are fighting her reign. Global sales for Barbie dropped by 21 per cent for the three months ended Sept 30 and the fall is the fourth straight double-digit decline. 

Her five biggest rivals:

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1. "Let it go," could well be the challenge issued by Anna and Elsa, the princesses from the hit Disney movie Frozen, to Barbie and her crown. In the race of winning hearts, the fictional royal sisters have already snagged two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (Let It Go), and a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

2. Freaky and fierce, teenage mutants from Monster High, a high school in the fictional American town of New Salem, were the brainchild of Mattel. Created in 2010, the Monster High dolls were inspired by monster movies and sci-fi horror, which have become increasingly popular among young girls.

3. The teenage progeny of famous fairy tale characters, as dreamed up by Mattel last year, attend the high school Ever After High and try to live without a chip on their shoulders. Toy dolls in the Ever After High line include Cerise Hood, the daughter of Red Riding Hood, Apple White, the daughter of Snow White, and Briar Beauty, daughter of Sleeping Beauty.

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4. The original Disney Princesses, a group of 11 fictional heroines who appeared in Disney animated films, including Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, Belle of Beauty And The Beast, and Ariel from The Little Mermaid. The dolls began appearing since 2001.

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5. Their heads may be too large for their bodies but this anatomical impossibility has not limited the appeal of Bratz. The line of teenage dolls, which ooze style and (over)confidence, was launched in 2001 by MGA, a previously little-known toy company.