Barbie's Ken Has a Last Name, and He's Named After a Very Real Person

Barbie's Ken Has a Last Name, and He's Named After a Very Real Person
Image credit: Legion-Media

It turns out Barbie isn't the only one to have a real-life prototype.

It's been ten days since the theatrical release of Greta Gerwig's Barbie. Absurd, hilarious, and thought-provoking, the film lives up to the hype that has surrounded it since the trailer came out in spring. So far, it's been the most financially successful movie of this summer, amassing almost $800 million at the box office.

Barbie's success is partially attributed to the stunningly stellar cast — Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, Helen Mirren, Kate McKinnon, Simu Liu, and many others undoubtedly drew many viewers to the theaters. And of course, Greta Gerwig's original story has certainly added to the film's triumph.

Set in fictional Barbieland, inhabited by various Barbies and Kens, the movie follows Margot Robbie's character, a 'stereotypical Barbie,' as she gets out into the real world, trying to fix her flat feet and cellulite. Were it not for Allan and Midge, it would be next to impossible to not get confused as to who is who in this story. But remarkably, the dolls' names are more real than you may have imagined. So much so that Ken even has a surname!

As the ghost of Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie and one of Mattel's founders, reveals to Robbie's character, she is named after Handler's daughter Barbara. Likewise, Ken is short for Kenneth Sean Carson, Ruth Handler's son. Additionally, poor Allan is named after Ruth's son-in-law.

It is noteworthy that Ken Carson was introduced to the market several years after Barbie. Making her debut in 1959, Barbie was supposed to be an inspiration for little girls who now could dream bigger and become more than just a stay-at-home mother. However, her being single wasn't really well appreciated at the time, which is why Barbie was given a boyfriend in 1961.

Moreover, real-life Ken is nothing like his doll namesake. While Barbie's boyfriend is an ideal-looking man whose profession is 'just beach,' Handler's son is admittedly less cool — in real life, Kenneth was a screenwriter, director, and film composer (though we think that's just as awesome as being a surfer).

'Ken doll is Malibu,' Kenneth Handler told the Los Angeles Times back in 1989. 'He goes to the beach and surfs. He is all these perfect American things.'

In Greta Gerwig's movie, however, the dolls don't have last names. Still, it's a very enjoyable story to watch, and the confusion resulting from multiple Barbies and Kens adds up the film's absurdity, making it such an enjoyable cinematic experience.

Barbie is showing in theaters at the moment, so be sure to purchase your tickets if you haven't already!

Source: The Los Angeles Times.