Lola Pahkinamaki is a 24-year-old woman in Turku, Finland, who calls herself “Lola the Fitness Barbie.” With platinum blond hair, sculpted abs, and a $6,500 breast augmentation, she’s transformed herself into a version of Barbie — her “guardian angel” — and works as a nutritionist, coaching women who have struggled with eating disorders.
“Barbie is an innocent and beautiful person,” Pahkinamaki tells Yahoo Beauty when asked why she relates to the iconic doll.
Life wasn’t always so seamless for Pahkinamaki. “My childhood was very hard, so I found comfort in food,” she says. According to a story published by the U.K.’s the Sun, as a teenager, Pahkinamaki relied on sweets as a coping mechanism for stress, and her weight spiked to 177 pounds. After being harassed mercilessly for her appearance — “bullies would actually tease me calling me ‘Barbie’ because they knew I didn’t look like the Barbies I loved,” she told the Sun — she became anorexic. By age 20, her weight dropped to an astonishing 75 pounds. “I was so thin that I could feel my bones and ribs protruding out of my skin,” she told the Sun.
Despite subsisting on one apple per day, she exercised vigorously for 4-hour sessions. “I didn’t really care [how much energy I had] or even feel much,” Pahkinamaki tells Yahoo Beauty. “I just moved my body all the time, no matter how tired or painful it was.”
After a hospital stay and going into therapy, Pahkinamaki finally began healing physically and emotionally, despite lacking a support system. “It’s a miracle I had so much faith in myself to survive,” she says.
“I wanted to treat my body well, and I started to study nutrition more,” she says. “It’s amazing how the right food can make your body looks so good and make your muscles show.”
Despite her fascination with Barbie, Pahkinamaki insists that other women don’t have to attain conventional beauty ideals. “Only change for yourself — not anyone else,” she tells Yahoo Beauty. “You’re the most important person in your life, so love yourself and treat your body well. Barbie does the same, and she’s beautiful inside and out.”
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