Saturday, 20 October 2012
'Barbie Flu' Spreading In Ukraine
ODESSA, Ukraine -- Ukrainian girls from the city of Odessa keep making the news for altering their appearance in dramatic fashion. The story of a girl who turned herself into a real life Barbie doll has spread across the globe and the saga continues. Two more girls, Anime and Dominika, have become living dolls and received publicity for their disturbing looks. Anime, 19-year-old Anastasiya Shpagina, transformed herself into an anime character and never leaves the house without makeup. Applying the makeup takes Anime a few hours to accomplish so she wakes up at 5 a.m. to make it to work on time. When she walks down the street in a fairy-like outfit, with long purplish hair, looking at the world with her raccoon-like eyes, it doesn’t go unnoticed. “I don’t pay attention to reactions, the most important thing for me is my comfort,” Anime said during a talk show on a Ukrainian TV channel. In interviews with Anime, which appeared on mainstream television in Ukraine and Russia over the past months, she gave the impression of being a pleasant, slightly naïve, girl, who is living in a dream and plays a fairy in a fairytale. She subsists almost entirely on honey-dew—no bread, meat or fish; mostly fruit and veggies. However, she is probably not as naïve as a fairy—her extreme makeup and unconventional style serve as a great promotional tool. Anime is a hairdresser and makeup artist so all that publicity will, hopefully, work well for her career. She said that right now she’s interested in focusing on her work, but in the future would like to move out of the city and have a family. She says she doesn’t have a boyfriend and states that she would like to have plastic surgery to enlarge her eyes, to make them the size of the ones she paints on her face with makeup. She claims she hasn’t had any plastic surgery and her look is only the visual effect of styling and make up. Unlike her, Barbie – also known as Valeriya Lukyanova – and her friend, Olga Oleynik, aka Dominika, had breast surgeries and accentuate their “Barbiness” with long hair, giant eyes, contact lenses, small mouths, tiny waists, curvy hips, full busts, and slightly manipulative unemotional manners. In a talk show, Barbie said her measurements were 86/47/86, in centimeters, which in inches equals 33.85/18.5/33.85. Olga Oleynik said that she has had breast surgery to balance the proportion with her hips because she is all about harmony and perfection. What is it that makes these girls turn themselves into living dolls? A struggle for perfection or escape from reality? It seems to have a connection to “Barbie doll syndrome” – when young girls try to attain impossible standards of beauty – but with Odessa girls it varies from case to case. Anime seems to be a young girl who’s not completely comfortable in her skin and experiments with styles. Anime’s body image doesn’t radiate Barbie’s sexiness. She says the world is cruel and is full of unhappy people and it’s easier to live the way she does, creating a fairy tale for herself. Barbie, whose spiritual name is Amatue, openly says she exploits her looks as internet PR to attract people to her lectures on esoteric subjects where – for $80 per person – she teaches astral projection. Dominika seems to be similar to Barbie and calls herself her spiritual sister. They appear together in interviews and talk about esoteric matters. She positions herself as an artist and a fashion designer. Whatever this ‘Barbie-Flu’ in Odessa is, it seems to be creating a phenomena that the world is watching with great interest, clicking through the weird pictures and videos, looking into their doll-like eyes. Barbie, Anime, Dominika—what’s next?