Simu Liu: ‘Barbie’ Will Dismantle ‘Blonde, White’ Stereotypical Doll Beauty Standards

"It’s really about finding your inner beauty and owning that part of yourself and being the best possible version of you," Liu said of the upcoming Mattel-produced film.
Warner Bros.

Simu Liu promises “Barbie” will shed the stereotypical beauty standards long-perpetuated by doll brands.

The upcoming film, co-written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, and while the duo (complete with Gosling’s bleach-blond locks), are the textbook images of Mattel-made perfection, they are just two of the many, many versions of Barbies and Kens in the “Barbie” universe.

Kate McKinnon, America Ferrera, Will Ferrell, Issa Rae, Michael Cera, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ncuti Gatwa, Hari Nef, Nicola Coughlan, and Emerald Fennell also are among the massive ensemble cast.

“I remember very clearly about some of our big intricate dance sequences, Greta was very, very conscientious about who she cast. We were able to cast people of different shapes, sizes, differently abled, to all participate in this dance —all under this message of: You don’t have to be blonde, white, or X, Y, Z in order to embody what it means to be a Barbie or a Ken,” Liu said during the 2022 Unforgettable Gala honoring Asian artists and leaders in the entertainment industry (via Vanity Fair).

According to Liu, the film is “really about finding your inner beauty and owning that part of yourself and being the best possible version of you.”

“I will say, going on set I was never isolated. I felt like I was going to work every day with a cast that really celebrated each other and celebrated each other’s differences, no matter where we came from,” Liu said of working with Oscar nominee Gerwig. “I think when you watch the movie, you’ll see that reflected on the screen.”

Director Gerwig previously revealed that she at first thought taking on a Barbie film would be a “career-ender,” but gushed that Mattel proved to be an “amazing partner” during production.

“They have given us such trust and such freedom, and I think that is incredibly rare,” the “Little Women” helmer said during an episode of Dua Lipa’s “At Your Service” podcast. “Whatever we wanted to be, they did not try to micromanage it.”

For all the details on “Barbie,” click here.

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