The iconic Barbie recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. This means 60 years of telling little girls around the world ‘You Can Be Anything’. Every girl, at some point or the other during her growing up years, has played with a Barbie. For her, her Barbie could be anything - astronaut, doctor or scientist. Barbie inspired her to create stories, chase dreams and stretch her imagination as far as she could.
The best part is that even after six decades, Barbie’s magic still lives on. This was evident at Barbie’s 60th birthday celebrations that were held across events in Delhi and Mumbai. Delhi’s Pacific Mall had workshops that showed little girls the power of dreams. Kidzania in Mumbai and Delhi gave girls and their mothers a chance to engage in career-based roleplay. At Imagica, near Mumbai, underprivileged girls celebrated Barbie’s birthday by enjoying thrilling rides and other attractions the theme park had to offer.
It’s clear that even now Barbie continues to be every little girl’s friend and role model, but for one person, she is extra special. She is Rasna Bhasin, a digital content curator, who boasts of a collection of over 400 Barbie dolls. With Barbie by her side, Rasna has always believed that she can conquer the world and become anything she wants. In this interview, Rasna reveals how Barbie fascinated her as a kid and inspires her even today.
How did it all begin?
For as long as I can remember, I have played with Barbie dolls. At least till the age of 12, if not more, every occasion would mean Barbie for me. From my first birthday cake which was obviously Barbie to collecting some of the special edition dolls, I’ve done it all. One of my favourites is the fashion designer Barbie because I always wanted to be one and for me, that doll was a little me. School bags, notebooks, stationery - you name it and it was supposed to be Barbie!
Tell us more about your Barbie collection - number of dolls, which dolls and why.
I’m not boasting, but I surely had a collection of over 400 or so Barbie dolls. I’ve had the Mulan doll, the Ariel one and perhaps every Ken doll I could get. Over the years, I have passed on some to my younger cousins but I still have a few collectible ones stacked in their boxes. There’s a floral one which still sits in the back of my wardrobe and another collectible edition which was my 11th birthday present! There was a time when an entire room at home was dedicated to Barbie.
How did Barbie inspire you as a little girl?
I have always loved Barbie so much so that even today if I’m in a toy store, you’ll find me checking out Barbie dolls. Obviously you get much cooler stuff now, and I always buy them for my little cousins but secretly I love shopping for them. Barbie to me has always been the representation of the modern-day feminist. She is anything she wants to be - doctor, lawyer or homemaker. She juggles it so perfectly. She’s as much reality as much as she is fantasy.
Barbie has always given out the message ‘You Can Be Anything’. What is your take on this?
Barbie has always been independent and that’s what makes it so unique. For young girls, the dolls were a representation of the outside world. As I said before, Barbie was a multitasker - I could make her whoever I wanted her to be. My mind imagined and she played the role. With Barbie, I could be anything I wanted to be.
As an adult, what are your thoughts on brand Barbie?
I’m still a Barbie lover. I think they’re fantastic. They represent strong, independent, feminist women and that’s what little girls need to grow up to be - fearless and independent.
Your message to the little girls of today.
Dream. Be crazy. Be wild. The world is your oyster. Don’t give up. It won’t be easy, but hardwork and dedication can make things happen and how. Also, always believe in a little bit of magic.
Rasna’s story is as interesting as it is inspiring. But more than anything else, it is testimony to how Barbie teaches little girls to dream and believe that they can be whatever they want to be.
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