Barbie Creator

Ruth Handler

Ruth Handler saw her daughter’s toy choices were limited. She could only play out being a mom or caregiver, whereas her son had toys that allowed him to imagine himself as a firefighter, astronaut, doctor, and more. This inspired Ruth to create a doll that showed girls they had choices—that they could be anything.


Barbie Debuts

On March 9, 1959, Barbie debuted at the New York Toy Fair. The first Barbie wore a black and white striped swimsuit and her signature ponytail. Toy buyers were skeptical because Barbie was unlike the baby and toddler dolls that were popular at the time. They doubted she would be successful, but Barbie took the world by storm. Letting girls imagine their futures like never before from that moment on.



First Dreamhouse

Before women were even allowed to open their own bank accounts, Barbie bought her first Dreamhouse in 1962. Barbie represented women in new ways, becoming a symbol of independence and empowerment. With its mid-century modern décor, hi-fi stereo and slim-line furniture, girls could imagine entertaining friends or relaxing in a stylish living room.


First Celebrity Doll

The first celebrity Barbie doll was based on the British fashion model Twiggy. The original Twiggy doll had iconic Twiggy makeup and wore a yellow, green, and blue vertical-striped mini dress and yellow boots. She was the beginning of a long line of dolls made to resemble celebrities and fashion’s elite.


Astronaut Barbie

In 1965, Barbie went galactic four years before man landed on the moon. Miss Astronaut Barbie celebrated the excitement of the space program and exploring new frontiers. Dressed in a cool space suit and helmet, she showed girls they could reach for the stars.


Barbie Introduces Christie

In support of Equal Rights, Barbie released Christie, one of the first black dolls. Christie was created as a friend of Barbie and came dressed in a mod-inspired swimsuit with a short ’60s hairstyle.



First Camper

In 1971, Barbie was ready to go on adventures in her first camper. Girls could imagine exploring the great outdoors in a groovy camper with a picnic setup, pop-out tent, and sleeping bags.


First Diverse Dolls Named Barbie

Over the years, many diverse dolls were available, but they were always friends of Barbie. In 1980, Mattel released the first black and Hispanic dolls named Barbie.



CEO Barbie

In 1985, Day-to-Night Barbie broke the glass ceiling as a CEO. Day-to-Night Barbie could go from running the boardroom in her pink power suit to a fun night out on the town. She celebrated the workplace evolution of the era and showed girls they could have it all.


"We Girls Can Do Anything" Campaign

In 1985, Barbie launched the We Girls Can Do Anything ad campaign. The series of ads encouraged girls to believe in themselves and their dreams. The commercial featured a song that had girls singing, “We girls can do anything, right Barbie?” and “Anything is possible as long as I try.”


First Fashion Partnership

Barbie has worked with more fashion designers than any other brand in the world. Her first fashion partnership was in 1985, when Oscar de la Renta created a line of designer clothes for Barbie. The glamorous jewel tone and metallic outfits brought runway fun to young fashion lovers, sparking their imaginations and creativity. This was the start of many fashion collaborations to come.


Andy Warhol Painting

Andy Warhol made his mark by creating images of American icons. Barbie was added to the list when Warhol painted her in 1986. The first Barbie portrait was reportedly inspired by Warhol’s muse, Billy Boy, a jewelry designer and member of New York’s downtown scene in the 1980s, who owned a vast collection of Barbie dolls.



Barbie Runs For President

Barbie has been running for president in every election year since 1992. The first President Barbie came with an American-themed dress for an inaugural ball and a red suit for her duties in the Oval Office. In 2016, Barbie released an all-female ticket with a president and vice president doll set to inspire girls to believe they can be anything—including leader of the free world.


Totally Hair Barbie

Totally Hair Barbie is the best-selling Barbie doll to date. She celebrated the loud fashions and big hair craze of the early ’90s and featured the longest hair ever on a Barbie doll. To celebrate the doll’s 25th anniversary, she was re-released in 2017.



First NY Runway Show

In 2009, Barbie held her first New York runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to celebrate her 50th anniversary. Fifty of the world’s top designers created haute couture looks inspired by Barbie and her iconic history.



In 2014, Barbie became a social media influencer with the launch of the @barbiestyle Instagram account. The account was created to celebrate pop culture moments through the eyes of an icon and quickly became a leading fashion influencer channel. From fashion and art, to culture and travel, @barbiestyle excites followers as only Barbie can.



Barbie Vlogger

In 2015, Barbie launched a vlog on YouTube to talk directly to girls about issues they face. The animated series features Barbie discussing a range of topics including depression, bullying, the health benefits of meditation, and how girls have a habit of apologizing when they don’t have anything to be sorry about.


Barbie Introduces New Body Types

In 2016, to better reflect the world girls see today, Barbie introduced three new body types: curvy, petite, and tall. The launch of the new body types landed Barbie on the cover of Time magazine.


Barbie Sheroes

In 2015, Barbie celebrated female heroes who inspire girls by breaking boundaries and expanding the possibilities for women everywhere. One-of-a-kind dolls were created for each of the Shero honorees including Ava DuVernay, Emmy Rossum, Eva Chen, Kristin Chenoweth, Sydney "Mayhem" Keiser, and Trisha Yearwood.



Barbie shined a light on empowering role models from the past and present in an effort to inspire more girls. The campaign, #MoreRoleModels, honored extraordinary women from around the world on International Women’s Day. The Inspiring Women doll line also launched and featured Frida Kahlo, Katherine Johnson, and Amelia Earhart.