Barbie dolls — long-legged, uber-thin and unrealistic specimens that they are — have long galvanized strong opinions, and until relatively recently, frustration over a dearth of diverse options so far as race and body type are concerned.
Now the Brazilian artist Rafinha Silva is making amazingly realistic and custom-styled Barbie dolls. He’s the talent behind the Instagram page We Love the Royal Dolls. We’re big fans, especially of the diversity of hair types and textures his dolls feature.
Silva told Cosmopolitan that he loves crafting specialty dolls for his clients, saying he started in 2013, with a doll featuring the likeness of the late Jewish songstress Amy Winehouse:
My first inspiration was to create a doll with the characteristics of the singer Amy Winehouse… I loved the experience of being able to customize, and I wanted to be able to continue producing more and more pieces.
I have always had a lot of affinity with art, and drawing women with long hair is one of my earliest childhood memories.
He uses real Barbie parts (though is not affiliated with the company that manufactures the dolls), and has created over 500 custom dolls, including look-alikes of Frida Kahlo, Cher, RuPaul, Tyra Banks, and the Disney characters Jasmine, Ariel and Moana.
Check out some of our favorites here: