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'This is my world': Russia's top Barbie fan sees herself in movie

'This is my world': Russia's top Barbie fan sees herself in movie
Russian celebrity and Barbie doll collector Tatiana Tuzova poses with the first Barbie dolls produced in 1959, in the apartment housing part of her collection of 12,000 dolls, in Krasnogorsk outside Moscow, Russia Aug 16, 2023.
PHOTO: Reuters file

MOSCOW — As the proud owner of 12,000 Barbie dolls, Russian collector Tatiana Tuzova was more excited than most to watch the Hollywood movie based on her idol.

She was not disappointed.

Like the character played by Margot Robbie in the film, Tuzova inhabits both a fantasy realm of beautiful dolls and a real world where things are far less perfect.

Of the two, she prefers the first, depicted in the move as Barbie Land.

"To some extent, this is my world as well. And I even recognised myself in the film character a little bit, because I also feel sad when I come back to grey reality," she told Reuters.

"I want everything in the real world to be as bright, beautiful and glamorous (as Barbie Land). But when you're out in the real world, there are so many things missing."

Hit by Western sanctions over Ukraine, Russia is coming late to the Barbie party. The film is not available for official distribution, but some cinemas plan to get around that by screening a digital copy of it "for free" as part of a double bill with a shorter film in Russian.

Tuzova has supplied 300 of her dolls to go on show at an unofficial premiere of the film in Moscow on Sept. 9. She said she had hoped to see it for the first time on the big screen, but reluctantly watched a pirate version to satisfy media requests for her reaction.

Her obsession with Barbie began in childhood.

"I think Barbie is a role model. Her slogan is 'You can be anything'. I looked at her and understood that I could be anything as well," she said in an interview in her apartment, dressed all in pink with an enormous bow in her hair.

Behind her, an entire wall was filled with hundreds of Barbies, from Army and Air Force to Party Time and Pretty Flower - all in their original boxes to preserve their value.

Tuzova said her father died when she was six months old and she had "nothing" as a child.

"And I decided that I would have everything. And everything will be pink."

She said she liked the fact that the Barbie heroine of the film remained true to herself even when she crossed into the real world.

"She remained herself: she didn't put on weight, didn't dye her hair brunette. She just adapted, let's say, to the real world — as, in general, I did."

ALSO READ: 'I own over 12,000 Barbie dolls, but Barbie isn't my favourite toy': Singapore's Barbie Guy on personal branding and authenticity

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