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Meet the ‘Real-Girl’ Barbie That’s Ready to Hit the Toy Market

Written on March 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm , by

Last July, Nickolay Lamm, a 25-year-old artist and researcher, created a digital rendering of what Barbie would look like if she were modeled after an average 19-year-old woman, based on measurements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The result: a shorter, shapelier-looking doll image that went viral. We fell in love with the new version as quickly as you did, which highlighted that average is, in fact, beautiful. “I simply wanted to show that a doll like Barbie can look good with typical body proportions,” says Lamm.

FITNESS fans had mixed reviews – some of you loved the idea of creating a more realistic-looking doll, while others thought the whole concept silly. “I did play with Barbie growing up, but I didn’t strive to become her,” said one reader. “I saw her as more of a friend, not a sexual image that I need to become.”

Regardless of whether or not you thought the idea to be the next genius step in doll production or a silly farce, very few believed the creation of this new toy to be bad, and many said they would even purchase and use it to help teach their children about healthy body image. “I got a lot of emails saying, ‘Hey, where can we buy a doll like this,’” explains Lamm. “I think that the popularity of the images themselves kind of validated the design of the body.” That said, Lamm is ready to take his vision to the next level.

Today Lamm launched a crowdfunding campaign on his website, Lammily.com, with the hopes of raising the $95,000 he needs to support the creation of 5,000 dolls. He’s offered an exclusive first edition Lammily to every person who decides to back his project with a minimum $17 donation. As of press time, 237 backers had raised $5,375, and the numbers are rapidly growing.

With the help and guidance of former Vice President of Manufacturing at Mattel, Roger Rambeau, Lamm took his digital design and turned it into the Lammily doll. “Lammily is designed off the same body I used in the original project,[which was based on the classic Barbie]” he says. “But I changed her face, her hair, her articulation—even her skin tone a little—so that it’s my original design.”

Interestingly enough, this all comes on the heels of Mattel launching an “unapologetic” campaign for the original Barbie doll, which included featuring her in the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Of course, the Lammily doll would also be in competition with market-dominating, overly-sexualized Bratz dolls. And with a petition floating around for a Disney plus-sized princess, it’s clear there’s a demand for more diversity in the toy market.

Lamm says that his Lammily doll is about promoting a healthy, fit lifestyle, along with realistic beauty standards. He describes her as fun, fit and strong (just like our readers!). She’ll come dressed in a simple blue-white ombre blouse, jean shorts and white sneakers, with minimal makeup.

If this crowdfunding endeavor is successful, Lamm hopes to create more dolls with different ethnicities and body shapes. But we want to hear from you. Sound off in the comments and tell us whether you would buy a Lammily doll over the classic Barbie. Why or why not?

Additional reporting by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern. Photos courtesy of Lammily.com

More from FITNESS:

Should Disney Make a Plus-Sized Princess?

How America Should Move Forward in a Nation of Obesity

Living Large: How I Learned to Love My Body

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  • Candi

    I don’t particularly care as long as we don’t make one that is obese. We need to inspire health, fitness. There are girls now that, for some reason, strive to be deathly thin. But it is not because of Barbie. It is because they don’t realize the models in magazines are air brushed. What they see as perfect in the magazines is all just computerized images. A doll is not going to change how girls feel about themselves or what they try to do to their bodies.

  • Jenna621

    I agree with the quoted reader; I had Barbies but I didn’t ever feel the inclination to be like them or saw myself as inferior to them. My body issues come much more from my mother and grandmother, who are lifelong dieters (grandma works for Jenny Craig and mom has done every fad diet ever invented, despite being in a normal BMI range).

    I liked Barbie (and her friends) because she was a little bit fabulous. I don’t much care for the doll above, but I don’t necessarily object to her being available, either.

  • cherryblossomz

    Wow, you pretty much said exactly what I was thinking. I agree completely!

  • JH

    Think about this: Does a fork make you fat? No. Everything comes from having the choice to do things. Having a Barbie growing up wasn’t something that affected me in a negative way. I had my mother, grandmothers, father, and grandfathers that told me that I was beautiful. They emphasized happiness, and love. What really matters is who is your role model? Do you have parents that lift you up, or tear you down? Because I had such a strong support system at home, I was able to gain the confidence that I needed to make it in this world. It had nothing to do with a toy doll. This world is so skud on image and beauty. Beauty today is all about things that aren’t real. It is important to have parents that are supportive and positive. .

  • Practical Mother

    I’m not anti-Barbie, but I would buy a Lammily doll. I think every mother should know their daughter and parent accordingly. What one girl sees as a toy another may see as who she wants to be when she grows up. Nothing is wrong with ether point of view. I think we as mothers need to be balanced in our criticisms and praises. It’s easier to build up a daughter than to fix a broken woman.

  • Danielle

    I would much prefer my daughter and all young women play with the Lammily doll! I love how down to earth she seems and love her realistic, healthy figure. Personally, if I were still a child, Id prefer the Lammily doll. I feel the Lammily doll is more friendly in appearance and doesnt appear threatening in any way. The Mattel Barbie has never struck me as friendly or a healthy roll model. Whether they consciously realize it or not, constantly being surrounded by thin, over made up, images of what our popular culture calls female beauty does have an effect on women of all ages.

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  • Nunya

    Like this doll but hate the idea of a plus size doll. Neither overweight or under weight is healthy.

  • Kiwigirl

    What is the world coming to. Ridiculous….

  • Cristina

    I love the idea of promoting a doll that is physically fit as opposed to sexy, but I agree with another poster who said the attractiveness of Barbie was based on the fact that she was “fabulous”. With that being said, I think this new doll could certainly be tweaked to represent fitness in a variety of ways with fun outfits and accessories that show off her passion. Think yoga, Zumba, soccer, field hockey, or any other fitness trend or sport. The possibilities are never- ending! And one would hope such a model might inspire girls to try some new healthy activities, because they too can be fabulous! :)

  • H2

    The doll pictured above looks exactly like my daughter. Complete and total look-a-like of my daughter. I should attach a picture of her. She is beautiful!
    I agree with readers Candi, Jenna, & Cristina 100%

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