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People are just finding out Barbie’s real name after all this time

Lucy Devine

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| Last updated 

People are just finding out Barbie’s real name after all this time

Featured Image Credit: Sarah Jane/Erin Cadigan/Alamy Stock Photo

Did you know Barbie actually has a totally different name? Yep, we didn't either, and the revelation has left people feeling pretty shocked.

There are a few origin stories about how Barbie was created. According to PBS, Barbie was born after a trip to Europe taken by Ruth and her husband Elliot in 1956.

The Handlers travelled with their children and while they were there, spotted a doll that looked like an adult - rather than baby dolls that were already widely owned by kids in the 1950s.

After being inspired to create their own version, three years later and Barbie was born, with Ken joining later in 1961.

Meanwhile, History.com explains that Ruth was inspired after watching her daughter play with paper dolls. The site explains: "Handler realised there was an unfilled niche in the market for a toy that allowed little girls to imagine the future. Barbie’s appearance was modelled after a doll named the Bild Lilli, which had been inspired by a German comic-strip character.

"Originally marketed as a racy gag gift that men could buy in tobacco shops, the Lilli doll later became extremely popular with children. Mattel bought the rights to Lilli, and Handler created her own version."

Barbie's real name is Barbara. Credit: Shutterstock
Barbie's real name is Barbara. Credit: Shutterstock

As for her name, people are just finding out that Barbie is actually short for Barbara - and she has a middle name and surname too.

According to Barbie Media, Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. Barbie was actually named after co-creator Ruth Handler's daughter who was named Barbara.

Meanwhile, Ken was named after her son, Kenneth.

Fans can't believe they never realised Barbie was based on a real person, with one person writing on Twitter: "I was today years old when I found out that Barbie’s real name is Barbara Millicent Roberts."

A second wrote: "I think my life did a 180 when I found out that Barbie’s real name is Barbara."

"I was today’s years old when i found out barbie’s real name is barbara," added another.

While one said: "The Barbie doll's real name is Barbara Millicent Roberts, From Willow, Wisconsin. Her birthday is March 9th 1959, when she was first displayed at the New York Toy Fair."

Ruth Handler co-created Barbie. Credit: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo
Ruth Handler co-created Barbie. Credit: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

Since Barbie's introduction in 1959 - where she appeared in an iconic black and white striped swimsuit - she's had quite the career span.

The doll has had over 200 different costumes over the decades, including astronaut, pilot, firefighter, journalist, entrepreneur, computer engineer, video game developer, Mars explorer, and robotics engineer.

Topics: Life

Lucy Devine
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