‘Living doll’ trend: Women and girls will do anything to look like Barbie

Lindsay MacAdam
Shine On

Forget celebrities, pop stars and old Hollywood starlets, girls these days are taking beauty cues from the epitome of eternal youth: the Barbie doll.

Ukranian model Valeria Lukyanova, self-described as "the most famous Russian woman on the Russian-speaking Internet," according to Jezebel, made headlines last month for her internet presence consisting of photos, YouTube videos and social media profiles showcasing her alarming doll-like looks.

According to the International Business Times, she wears opaque contact lenses to achieve the empty, doll-eyed effect, and Jezebel reports the 21-year-old has been suspected of undergoing various plastic surgery procedures to transform herself into the closest replica of a plastic Barbie doll as is humanly possible -- unrealistic proportions and all.

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Following in Lukyanova's footsteps were other headline-making "living dolls", such as Dakota Rose (known and Kota Koti to her fans) and Venus Palermo (known as Venus Angelic), who are especially popular in Asia. You can follow their video tutorials online to find out how to mimic their doe-eyed looks, but according to the Daily Mail, these two are being heavily criticized for promoting the sexualization of children.

"At any age, placing too much value on physical appearance can be potentially detrimental to a person's self esteem and sense of self worth," says Emma Gray, clinical director at the British CBT & Counselling Service to the Daily Mail. "Equally concerning is why these images have been created and for what purpose. Distorting or enhancing pictures of children so that they appear older and more sexual surely crosses the line between how we should treat the children in our society and how we should not."

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Lukyanova, Rose and Palermo weren't the first girls to turn to Mattel for beauty inspiration, however. Back in January 2011, Vancouver-based photographer Hayden Wood used his impressive Photoshop retouching skills, along with his expert camera know-how and some very strategic styling, to create a Ken and Barbie fashion shoot unlike any other, reports the Daily Mail. Inspired by Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday album cover and  the results are truly incredible.

Wood, who tells the Daily Mail that after many years in the business, he continues to be amazed by the endless editing options that Photoshop provides, used the digital editing tool to slim the models' limbs, enlarge their eyes and even out their skin tones to appear plastic-perfect.

What do you think of the "living doll" trend? Where do you draw the line?

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