I’ll never forget how it felt when my Dad handed me my very first Barbie.
From the moment he walked through the door carrying the life-size make-up doll, anything and everything Barbie-related featured heavily on my Christmas and birthday wish lists.
Effortlessly cool and on point, Barbie was, for me, a symbol of inspiration and limitless potential. Like the older sister I never had, Barbie and I reached many a milestone together. She taught me how to wear my hair in pigtails, let me experiment with make up on her without complaint (two words: blue eyeshadow) and helped me explore, and ultimately fall in love with my femininity.
No, she didn't look like me. Her hair wasn't a frizzy red mess, and her cheeks not rosy and blotchy. Looking back, it never fazed me that Barbie and I were different on the outside. To me, she meant so much more.
But the one-size-fits-all Barbie of years gone by is a thing of the past. Just like any modern woman, she's gone through the ups and downs of self-discovery, and come out the other side better for it.
Sure, she's made some wrong turns trying to get things right (namely, the unattainable waist-to-hip ratio), but who hasn't? To her credit, she's been working hard over the last decade to keep up with our ever-changing and progressive views. Barbie now comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as several varying skin tones, eye colours and facial structures, because she knows a broader representation of beauty exists outside of her traditional blue-eyed, blonde-haired self.
Most importantly, the woman has been busy on the career front, teaching the next generation of girls they can be anything they want to be. Recently adding entrepreneur and web developer to her resume (complete with a LinkedIn profile endorsed by 10 real-life game-changing female entrepreneurs), Barbie has tried her hand at everything from secret agent, athlete and artist, to space explorer, firefighter, even a fairy princess.