'Real-Life Barbie' Valeria Lukyanova in 'Space Barbie' Vice doc

Posted Jul 29, 2013 by JohnThomas Didymus
Valeria Lukyanova, popularly known as the "Real-life Barbie Doll," has teamed up with Vice to create a 20-minute documentary about herself, "Space Barbie."
Valeria Lukyanova
Valeria Lukyanova
According to Digital Journal, Lukyanova, 23, a Ukrainian model, came to the attention of millions last year when Jezebel "discovered" her in April and V Magazine featured photos of her surreal Barbie doll physique enhanced through plastic surgery to conform to her notion of "perfection."
According to V Magazine, her looks appear so artificial that when the world first saw her, many did not believe she was a real person. ABC News concluded after an investigation: "It’s unclear whether Lukyanova exists at all, or whether it’s all a hoax thanks to the world of photo editing."
So extreme was the impact of her obsession with the "Barbie" ideal that she sparked a debate about the harmfulness of the dolls with regard to physical self-image; but it seems that Lukyanova is only a rare case of what "Barbie" obsession can do to the mind.
The new documentary "Space Barbie" focuses on her "spiritual work," rather than on her surreal appearance. It explores the world of her kooky beliefs about life, death and spirituality; certainly as weird as her artificial looks.
According to Vice director Will Fairman, Lukyanova believes she has special psychic powers and that she comes from another planet, Venus, it seems.
She said: "For along time, I thought I was from Venus... I was around 12 to 13 years old. I used to see subtle worlds. I saw different spirits from other dimensions. But when I realized that no one else sees them, I got frightened."
According to Vice: "... what most of the world doesn't know is that Valeria is not a real girl at all, but a time-traveling spiritual guru whose purpose is to save the world from the clutches of superficiality and negative energy."
Fairman told the Daily Mail: "I'd seen her like everyone else when she popped up on the Internet with all those bewildering and bizarre images and videos. And thought there had to be something more behind it all, because I could see little flecks of esoteric stuff. I followed it up and discovered she was a new age opera composer and gave seminars on spirituality, so she obviously had a few more strings to her bow than just being a tumblr girl."
Valeria Lukyanova
Valeria Lukyanova
He added: "She's not a fraud. She genuinely believes she's from another planet.100 per cent. She's not making any money from her life - not even from the seminars she gives - which is originally why I thought she was doing this."
Lukyanova explains the importance of her physical appearance to her spiritual mission: "I am a lecturer on the subject of out-of-body travel. If a nun starts talking about spirituality, will anyone notice her? No, No one will. But if a beautiful, inspiring young woman starts talking about it, many people will start thinking. So I use my appearance to promote my spiritual ideas. It works perfectly."
In "Space Barbie," Lukyanova demonstrates her "clairvoyant" powers with the assistance of her friends or "soul mates." In another bizarre scene the group attempts to communicate with their DNA (yes, DNA) through whistling and bird-calling.
The girl, who claims she hears voices and sees people from other planets, said a psychiatrist acknowledged her psychic powers and told her she has special spiritual talents after she got really worried and scared about her experiences of hearing voices and seeing things. She said: “I [once] asked myself if everything was alright with my head. I hear voices all the time and see different beings. One day I decided to visit a psychiatrist. I told him everything. He listened to me carefully and said it was very lucky it was him because with another doctor I definitely would have been taken to a special place. He said 'I've been studying esoterism for years and can see you are psychic.'"
She does not reveal the identity of her psychiatrist. We are guessing that his professional colleagues would love to have a chat with him.
Although to the world she is mostly about her weird doll-like looks, members of her family appear to think she is more of an "intellectual" than a "doll": It seems "intellectual" is their understanding of her bizarre "spirituality."
Her sister Olga, said: "I never thought that my sister would be called a Barbie. She’s always had this doll-like look, but a doll is associated with an unintelligent person, and since my sister is very bright and interesting, I've never associated her with Barbie."
Digital Journal, commenting on the bizarre mix of "spirituality" and obsession with a doll-like image, wrote: "For a young woman who cultivates the image of a 'living doll,' it is somewhat confusing when she speaks of her 'inner self.'"
Dolls aren't supposed to have inner selves.
But Lukyanova obviously doesn't mind being compared to a doll, in spite of the fact that it connotes "dumb." She said: "I like this comparison, it’s wonderful to look like a doll. Even though people call me a Barbie, I never tried to look like a doll, I just like everything beautiful feminine, and refined. It just so happens that dolls are based on the image of refined girls."
Fairman opines that she is somewhat "paranoid" about her appearance. He said: “She’s like a little queen, and she carries herself like that all the time. She never breaks. It’s not like the camera turns off and she whips out a cigarette and gets into a tracksuit. She’s naturally like that: a girl who has been getting attention ever since she was a teenager and gets crazy attention wherever she is. And she is paranoid about not looking perfect. I don’t know exactly where it comes from, but I suspect really it’s down to… she seems to have a quite a lot of issues about her physical self, and is incredibly fixated with her image. She manages it down to the finest detail, which is why something so much as a missing belt can trigger a stroke."