This Barbie Look-Alike Got A Drastic Makeunder, And It Would Be Fine If She Didn’t Either

Meet Jade, a 20-year-old woman from Bristol, England, who received breast implants to take her A cups to double Gs, and applied self-tanner and hot pink lipstick daily to mimic Barbie’s signature look. The reality show 100% Hotter gave the Barbie look-alike a drastic make under in which stylists darkened her hair a few hues, removed the extensions, lightened her skin for a more natural glow, and ditched the boudoir-themed clothing in favor of something that offered a little more coverage. The real victory? Jade discovered a new facet of herself that made her feel “100% hotter.” This is great news, because no longer should she feel confined to her lengthy routine. Whether you opt for a full face of makeup on the regs or a more natural look, I salute you. I have no business prying my nose into your Sephora bag, nor can I suggest Barbie-like makeovers necessarily represent the need to escape reality in a deranged freak-show way some reality shows lead us to believe. Our modes of self-expression manifest in different ways, and continuing to marginalize each other for that is pretty ugly, don’t you think?

Growing up, I had something close to 70 Barbie dolls. I used them as vehicles to enter new worlds unfit for my Velcro shoes and scraped knees. I used my toys to experiment with fashion, interior design, travel, the workforce, and yes, even love. But our global attraction to dolls extends well beyond our childhood, and we see that in the rise of women (and men, who recreate her love-interest Ken) going under the knife to embody the model-esque dolls.

The name of the show, 100% Hotter, is misleading in a delightful way: you’d expect contestants to saunter onto the stage 20 pounds lighter, shooting YouTube-tutorial-worthy cat eyes at the audience. The goal is to showcase that while makeup is an awesome tool for honing your creativity and expressing your identity, you might be surprised by how beautiful you look closer to a natural slate — if not for appearance’s sake, than for money- and time-saving purposes. I don’t know about you, but if I’m rushed through my mascara application, it looks like I got into a fight with a chimney, and lost.

There’s been medical speculation that the Barbie doll’s proportions are far from realistic. Translate the measurements onto a human body, and she’d likely have to walk on all fours to support herself, also unable to keep her neck upright.

But with surgery and makeup acting as readily-available identity paintbrushes, it can be tempting to succumb to the temptation. I’ve died my hair. I’ve tried (and failed) to contour my cheekbones. The idea that there’s something inherently wrong with us for choosing to reinvent our exterior is downright harmful. We find ways to understand extreme makeovers, ascribing meanings to them that aren’t necessarily true. Often, it’s just another way to play dress-up and enter new worlds unfit for our real circumstances.

I am not dismissing the serious health risks involved in cosmetic surgery, but it is equally painful to want so desperately to perform your identity in a non-traditional way and have that denied. The same people who shame Barbie look-alikes are arguably those wondering where the life they truly wanted went as it passed them by.