My name is Barbara Millicent Roberts, but you can call me Barbie. My hair hasn't changed in more than half a century; my breasts are now perkier than ever. I am 53 years old.
You could say I'm a cultural icon. Andy Warhol once painted me, and I've been in a couple of movies with Tom Hanks. I married someone I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with, but he wasn't who I thought he was and took off in my pink convertible, never to be seen again.
I lived in Malibu with my friend Stacy for a while in something I can only call a dream house. But the hot sun was making my skin melt, so I moved to Chicago. I heard the improv scene was really good here, and I do have some acting experience, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Turns out, they want more than just a "pretty face," so I've been keeping a relatively low profile these days—living in a penthouse in the Gold Coast and doing a lot of yoga. I'm also working on my memoir—it's called "I No Longer Love Shopping and Pizza"—and dating a much younger man. I haven't told him my real age—what's the point? He wouldn't believe me anyway.
My life had been going pretty smoothly, until I saw HER: Valeria Lukyanova, some sad 21-year-old Ukrainian girl who is going around telling everyone that she's me.
I get it. Some people think of me as a role model—practically every woman (and some men) I've met says she loved me when she was growing up. But to actually become me? Now that's something I wouldn't recommend.
First, it's impossible. Have you seen me? Do you know my proportions? I know I talk about pizza all the time, but do you think I've ever actually eaten it? I haven't eaten anything in 10 years. I don't even have to wear a bra; it's like my body is impervious to the laws of gravity.
Second, my life is not as glamorous as it seems. In fact, there's been a lot of pain in my past. Somewhere along my career, I just started to feel like I was an object to people. Sure, I worked as a flight attendant, a doctor and, one year, as an African princess, but it always felt like the focus was on my looks and less on my ability as a person.
I am more than a pretty face whose measurements are forever 36-18-33. I am an avid rock climber, a voracious reader (I just finished "The Art of War") and recently became a Buddhist. And I have to say, doing these things in the twilight of my life is so much more rewarding than my "perfect" youth in Malibu. If I could do it all over again, I would never have chosen the celebrity path.
I feel sorry for you, Valeria. You are so young. You have your whole life ahead of you—a life that doesn't have to be pumped full of collagen and silicon. Be anything else—a flight attendant, a doctor, an African princess. If you don't, like me, you'll soon realize that a life of plastic is anything but fantastic.
JEN KIM IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR.
(Photo from www.facebook.com/ValeriaLukyanova)