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Of all of the stars to be born on the Internet, one of the strangest is surely Valeria Lukyanova, otherwise known as the "Human Barbie." There has been a trend online and in digital art to critique the Barbie archetype and promote realistic body image in general, but Lukyanova has gone the opposite route. The Ukrainian model's physique is her medium and she's consciously transformed herself into a living doll.
When images of Lukyanova first began to circulate in 2012, some news outlets called her a fake. But since then, she's done a number of interviews and been the subject of a short documentary. She also regularly posts videos on her Facebook and YouTube channel. Her anime-like appearance has even spawned other saucer-eyed, wasp-waisted copycats such as Anastasiya Shpagina (who reportedly is also her best friend), KotaKoti, and Angelica Kenova.
While her authenticity has been verified, her grip on reality is more tenuous. Here, a sampling the bizarre, bold, and baffling claims Lukyanova made in 2013.
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She time travels and communes with aliens. Lukayanova, who describes herself a New Age guru, told the Daily Beast in August that she started having out of body experiences as a child and now visits with people from other civilizations. She can also travel to other planets and communicates with aliens using light (she doesn't explain the mechanics of this extraordinary feat).
She's married (but not necessarily to a human). Although she says she's known her husband for 10 years, and he is a friend of her father's, when asked in the same interview if he is human, she pointedly says she doesn't want to discuss that.
She's not a fan of "Real Life Ken." Lukayanova might have found a soul mate in Justin Jedlica, whom she met for a photo shoot in early 2013 but soured on him when he blabbed that she'd achieved her appearance through plastic surgery. While Jedlica freely admits he's had more than 90 procedures, Lukayanova cops to having breast implants but no other cosmetic procedures. She swears that her CGI appearance is a result of diet, exercise, makeup, and colored contact lenses. She also claims that younger images of herself looking more natural were "photo-shopped."
She's a "professional mountain climber." In an English-language interview with V Magazine in January, Lukayanova said she spends weeks scaling the Himalayas. Does she race back home through time and space to keep up with her daily beauty routine?
She's also a self-styled opera singer. Lukyanova's early videos were makeup tutorials and odd, disjointed posing sessions that are reminiscent of an animated string of Paris Hilton selfies. More recently, she's been posting frequent clips that show her singing original compositions under her spiritual name, "Amatue." Viewer reaction has been mixed. One YouTube commenter described her voice as being like a "siren," another asked if there were "dolphins birthing nearby."
She aspires to live only on air. She told a reporter for the Independent who tracked her down in Odessa, "In recent weeks I have not been hungry at all; I'm hoping it's the final stage before I can subsist on air and light alone."
Researcher and artist Nickolay Lamm says that discounting Lukyanova as a freak or curiosity because she's so outrageous is a mistake. Lamm has created a number of viral art projects that deal with Barbie and other fashion dolls and their impact on the body image of girls and young women. He's airbrushed the makeup off dolls, created diagrams of what women would look like with Barbie's proportions, and designed a Barbie with natural proportions. "She is so extreme that people think she's a crazy weirdo and don't look at the bigger, much more silent problem of young girls trying to achieve an impossible ideal." Lamm tells Yahoo Shine. While Lukayanova's goal may be to become as doll-like as humanly possible, Lamm's new project tackles the opposite task: to produce a commercially available doll that's as human-like as possible.
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