Barbie gets a realistic friend

For decades, the Barbie doll enterprise has been criticized for its negative influence on children for conveying a virtually impossible female beauty standard. Finally, the question “what would Barbie look like with the dimensions of an average woman?” was answered in 2013 with the introduction of the Lammily doll by toy-maker Nickolay Lamm.

What first started off as an art project in July 2013, the broader, shorter, and brunette version of the blonde Mattel doll became available for purchase and delivery for $25 on November 12th. The project began as a side-by-side comparison of the model of an average woman and a Barbie doll, before many people became interested in purchasing one for themselves. “Parents and their kids were emailing and asking where they could buy the ‘normal Barbie’⏤ but they didn’t exist,” said Lamm. He decided to crowdfund his creation with a $95,000 target goal, which was surpassed by over $400,000. “To be honest, I knew it was either going to bomb or blow up, there was no in between,” he said. Now the first edition of the doll is available for purchase at

To further prove his point, Lamm also created a video that shows Lammily being transformed into Barbie through Photoshop, ending with the message “Time to Get Real.” Lamm said that his goal was to “show that reality is cool,” also adding, “a lot of toys make kids go into fantasy, but why don’t they show real life is cool? It’s not perfect, but it’s really all we have. And that’s awesome.”

But the realness of Lammily doesn’t stop at her average body proportions and movements. Besides a line of clothing for the doll called Lammily’s World of Fashion, another feature of the doll is its sticker-extension pack that will be available in January 2015. It includes stickers that give the doll’s face acne, moles, freckles, and blush. There are also stickers for the rest of Lammily’s body, such as bruises, scars, and scrapes. After some people accused Lamm of promoting domestic violence, he assured that this was not his intention, saying “we all get boo boos and scratches. Life isn’t perfect, we all sometimes fall down but we get back up.” Lamm also created stickers of cellulite, stretch marks, mosquito bites, and tattoos.

Lamm said that “the message [he wants] to send is that it’s not what you look like. That doesn’t define you. What you do does.” A powerful video of second-grade children in Pittsburgh reacting to the doll was released on November 19, and it seems to illustrate the fulfillment of Lamm’s intent. The children delight over how realistic the doll looks, how she reminds them of people they know, and how she can move around with feet that were not made only for wearing high-heels, like Barbie’s.

The toy-maker’s future goals include releasing a male doll, and eventually opening a store where children can custom design their own Lammily dolls, which all suggests an exciting future for the doll world.