June 29, 2020
A California grandmother’s super-relatable “Quarantine Barbies” are going viral on Instagram.
In an interview, Ruiz explained that she used to travel as a speaker on positive body image, and would often use Barbie dolls as props to portray unrealistic beauty standards. When she retired, she placed the Barbies in her attic—where her granddaughters found them years later and asked if they could play with them.
Ruiz said she didn’t want the girls to grow up with the same unrealistic beauty standards that she did, so she had an idea. She took the girls to the store and had them pick Barbies that looked like realistic members of their family.
“I heard Mattel came up with a new line of Barbies that look more like real people so I wanted to find them,” Ruiz said.
They started photographing the Barbies with different props and put them on Instagram for fun. Soon, to her surprise, she had a following.
“I wanted to show my granddaughters Barbies are not just about the shoes,” Ruiz said. “It’s more about real life and family and realistic things.”
Ruiz bought Barbies from the store but made them her own with miniatures that she collects from thrift shops and garage sales.
Her first post was “Curvy Barbie in stretchy pants,” but after inspiration from her family and requests from her Instagram followers she started making others.
Binge Watch Barbie, Bread-Baking Barbie, Zoom Ken, and other hilarious versions of Quarantine Barbies came after. Ruiz even made a Health Care Hero Barbie; and says she’s working on a Grocery Store Worker, as well.
“So many people said—finally a Barbie I can relate to,” Ruiz exclaimed on GMA. “I love that because that has been my message for the years I spoke about body image. You can’t look like a Barbie. You’re a real woman.”
Ruiz said she was shocked by how many people asked if they were for sale or on Amazon, but she insists they’re just her “comedic commentary on the quarantine.”
Research contact: @GMA