I was a little underwhelmed with the theme for our eighth challenge in the Strike a Pose (Cycle 3) competition: “Barbie Girl.” It’s not that I don’t like barbies; as a girl, they were my favorite toys. I remember converting my bookshelf into my own custom barbie house, and my grandmother would make me tons of clothes for them. However, for a modeling challenge, I wasn’t immediately struck by any inspiration. I envisioned Barbie and Ken standing by their convertible or playing catch at the beach (volleyball would be better, but I don’t think it would be possible to depict), just nothing all that exciting.
I decided to google Barbie and see if inspiration might strike via reading up on her history and perusing her outfits/themes. One thing caught my eye: Barbie’s break-up with Ken after forty-some years of “going steady.” It struck me as a humorous angle to take with the challenge. I also really enjoyed the pictures of Barbie’s various dream houses. I’m no builder really, but the desire struck me to attempt to recreate her dream house and incorporate it in the picture of the break-up.
So, I started working on staging for the idea. I had nearly completed the house and was working on hair/make-up/clothing when I was struck by another idea. Wouldn’t it be cool to set up an “Escape from the Dollhouse” scene instead? I had the image in my head – Barbie’s friends in crazy, mutilated looking poses, and high walls behind the dollhouse decorated to give the illusion of a child’s room. I didn’t know if it would be possible to make this notion work, but I knew I had to try.
In the end, I think I did achieve most of the vision I had, although it’s not a perfect final product. For one thing, finding giant toys to help create the size illusion was virtually impossible. I could only find the jet fighter statue, which I think is base game. Also, I wanted to have a pattern on the walls behind the house, but all of the patterns are scaled to a much smaller scale than I needed. Finally, I had issues with the color of the walls behind the house. I selected the same color for each story, but due to how the game lights open stories, the walls appear to be different shades. I tried to work around this with lighting and changing individual wall shades, but it didn’t work. In the end, I hope it looks a bit like striped wallpaper and not to in-your-face obvious story changes. I hope the strong focus on my model and the dollhouse will keep the viewer’s eye from being distracted by it, anyway.
I deliberated about whether to pursue my idea for the second shot or not. It involves a scenario in which Barbie pays a visit to a child with terminal cancer. I worried that the judges might have an issue with tackling such a truly sensitive subject in this manner. However, my father recently passed away from kidney cancer, and I felt like I was doing this in a way, to honor him. Cancer is truly horrible; it takes an awful toll on its victim and his or her family, but it’s also an experience that can really open your eyes to the beauty of the person you love in ways you might not have seen before. Anyway, I hope I treated it in such a manner that viewers will not be offended.
I’m pretty lean on outtakes this time, just three: