Both Barbie and Ken have been held up as a physical beauty standard for decades, now these people have gone to extreme lengths to become a real-life Barbie and Ken.
Mattel made waves when it unveiled three new Barbie body types that come a good deal closer to reflecting the realities — and diversity — of the female form. Like it or not, both Barbie and Ken’s exaggerated proportions have shaped popular conceptions of physical beauty for decades, leading some to go to extreme lengths to turn themselves into human dolls.
Meet two such people, Valeria Lukyanova and Justin Jedlica. Just don’t make the real-life Barbie and Ken meet each other. They tried it once and it didn’t go over very well. In fact, with their opposing personalities, they actually have a feud going. More on that later.
The Human Barbie: Valeria Lukyanova
The girl who the media have dubbed the "human Barbie" was born on August 23, 1985, in Tiraspol, Moldova — a mostly forgotten remnant of the Soviet Union. She currently is a Ukrainian citizen and uses her appearance to promote her ideas about spirituality and mysticism.
Valeria may resemble a doll more than an actual human, but she claims she never set out to look like the iconic blonde Barbie. It's just that she wants to look beautiful, feminine, and refined. It just so happens that's the image dolls are made in, too. Though she admits to loving Barbie as a kid.
You may think that plastic surgery and cosmetic enhancement are a large part of Valeria's signature look, but she claims to only have had breast augmentation. She rails against people who spread the rumor that she's had ribs removed in order to achieve her minuscule waistline.
She once said her goal was to become a breatharian; to exist on air and sunlight alone. (It must be said here that no one should actually attempt this. You'll die.)
Valeria is definitely a polarizing character. She also believes in astral projection and claims she is actually an alien being herself. Once, she says in a Vice documentary called "Space Barbie", she was both a famous king and a spiritual teacher in a past life.
She also came under fire recently for some comments she made regarding race-mixing.
In a GQ interview, Valeria commented on changing beauty standards. "For example, a Russian marries an Armenian," she says. "They have a kid, a cute girl, but she has her dad's nose. She goes and files it down a little, and it's all good. Ethnicities are mixing now, so there's degeneration, and it didn't used to be like that. Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this."
She also says she is against feminism and does not want children. "Most people have children to fulfill their own ambitions, not to give anything," she says. "They don't think about what they can give this child, what they can teach her. They just try to shape her according to some weird script — whatever they couldn't do in life."
The Human Ken: Justin Jedlica
Justin is from Poughkeepsie, New York, and was born on August 11, 1980. He has been dubbed the "human Ken doll", and he says it's a flattering title, though being Ken was not his intent. Justin is what some call a "plastic-surgery enthusiast". He's had rhinoplasty, chest, bicep, tricep and shoulder implants, brow lifts, cheek augmentations, subpectoral implants, gluteoplasty, and lip augmentations.
So far, he estimates having 780 cosmetic procedures and surgeries, spending over $800,000.
Becoming what he sees as the best version of himself happens to be the trim chiseled look that's the Ken doll hallmark. But Justin considers his quest an art form and insists that there's something deeper to it than people believe.
" ... in some respects, people assume that this is like the pursuit of perfection ... that Ken is the optimal form of how a male should look, right? And it all sort of revolves around looks and superficiality. I think that title, is typically what people take away from it. But, I wouldn't say that is something I strived for in my life," he says.
Needless to say, there will always be trolls, like those asking if he is an anatomical match with Ken's famously non-existent genitals. To which Justin replies, "... actually, I wish it was dragging on the ground like anime."
"I don't have a problem using myself as the guinea pig," he says. "When I go into doctors, I don't say I go in for consultations anymore, because really I go in to pitch."
Sadly, tragedy befell Justin's family when his brother, Jordan Jedlica, 32, died in prison in 2019. He was serving a 19-month sentence for breaking and entering. Authorities found him unresponsive in his cell and he later died. The family thinks foul play is involved.
Justin is using his national profile to attract attention to his brother's case. "This is my baby brother," he says. "I'm the oldest of all of our siblings. I feel like this was my kid."
The Real Life Barbie And Ken Feud
Valeria and Justin met in February 2013 for a TV appearance and sparks flew; enough to start a fiery feud, that is.
Justin blasts Valeria, saying she "presents herself as a real-life Barbie doll, but she is nothing more than an illusion who dresses like a drag queen."
Prior to meeting her, Justin said he appreciated that Valeria was beautiful but added, "It appears to me that much of her look is added makeup, fake hair and "slimming" corsets ... as soon as you wipe away all that makeup she's just a plain Jane ..."
For her part, Valeria says "He would do better not to comment on who is plastic and who is not. I think he is a handsome man - but he overdid his lips."
The competition runs hot in the doll world, so all involved must be careful not to get burned; lest they melt away.
Fascinated by these transformations into real life Barbie and Ken dolls? Then check out our other posts on extreme female body modification and beautiful works of body art. And before you leave, like All That Is Interesting on Facebook!