#13 – Valeria Lukyanova (Before Barbie)
It’s only fitting to start our list with one of the most famous real-life Barbie dolls in the world—Valeria Lukyanova. Born in the Ukraine in 1985, Lukyanova had a large doll collection as a child that inspired her desire to become a standard of beauty and a pageant queen. At 22 years old, the blonde-haired and green-eyed model entered the 2007 World Wide Beauty Contest and beat out 300 other contestants to take the title as the “Miss Diamond Crown of the World,” which launched her reputation as a Barbie lookalike.
After winning Miss Diamond Crown, Lukyanova landed dozens of photo sessions and interviews throughout Russia on websites like Jezebel to promote her Barbie doll beauty and sexy slim figure. With her career officially launched as a model, the Russian pageant queen saw her fame and reputation as a “living Barbie” skyrocket after her first professional photoshoot with Sebastian Faena debuted in V magazine. Though praised for her “almost inhuman beauty” on websites and media outlets around the world, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Lukyanova.