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Nancy Matsumoto
Nancy Matsumoto

Hello, Real-size Doll; Goodbye, Freakish Barbie

Nickolay Lamm launches a crowd-funding campaign to make his doll a reality.

Lammily waving.

Lammily is sporty.

Some of you may have seen the widespread coverage of Pittsburgh artist Nickolay Lamm's digital rendering of a real-size Barbie. Lamm checked the CDC's website to get the measurements of the average 19-year-old woman, then used those as the basis for his creation.

Well, response has been so positive that today Lamm, 25, launched a crowd-funding campaign to help him start manufacturing his doll. He's dubbed her "Lammily," and the tag-line of his campaign is "Average is Beautiful." Instead of blonde, she's brunette. She wears minimal make up and dresses in sporty shorts, workout clothes and one belted dress. Lamm is even in touch with former Mattel vice president for manufacturing Robert Rambeau, who's helping him identify reputable manufacturers.

So far Lamm is off to a good start. On the first day of his fundraising campaign, he has already raised close to $30,000 of the $95,000 he needs to start making his doll.

"Barbie has been critiqued a lot," he notes. "My thought was rather than critique her, why not make a proof-of-concept to show that a real-life doll would appeal to people? Normal Barbie doesn't exist and likely never will. Lammily is my attempt to make what I feel should exist."

"Every single one of us has something they'd want to change about their body," says Lamm. "For example, I'm only 5'5". I'd rather be 6'0" but I'm perfectly happy the way I am...I feel like every one of us has gone through something like that."

While others have tried to market real-sized dolls, no one has yet succeeded. Lamm suspects it's because "they made a big deal about this doll being average." He explains, "That appeals to parents, but girls don't care about that. They just want a fun doll to play with."

A sense of humor would probably help sell Lammily, too, and Lamm seems to have one. He imagines a future add campaign in which Lammily is doing pushups and other "fashion dolls" are breaking apart because their emaciated bodies aren't made to demonstrate physical fitness and health.

To those that have requested that Lamm do for Ken what he's doing for Barbie, he says that (the rise in male-eating disorders notwithstanding) he'd like to concentrate on Barbie because he believes far more girls than boys and women than men suffer from body image problems. What do you all think?

About the Author
Nancy Matsumoto

Nancy Matsumoto is a freelance journalist who has written numerous stories on health, eating disorders, and body image.

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