Being surrounding by images of the fashion icon brings out the diva in me.

Barbara Millicent Roberts, better known as simply Barbie, is now a gal in her 50s, just like me. But that’s where the similarity ends. For one thing, I’ve successfully held the same career position for the past 25 years while Babs has changed jobs over 100 times. Barbie’s erratic career choices have included race car driver, a rapper, pet sitter, Marine Corp sergeant and who could forget “math is hard” college student Barbie. She may know how to hang onto her looks, but the girl has lost more jobs than the US economy.

And like the US economy she is looking to China to revive her sagging ratings. The new Shanghai World of Barbie store is six entire floors of Pepto-Pink madness where girls of all ages can get coiffed like their 11-1/2 inch idol, don authentic designer clothes and pose on a real runway. They can eat at the Barbie themed café and whine and pout their parents into spending zillions on Barbie clothes and an endless array of accessories – doll sized and for themselves. Clothes, shoes, make up - or how about a £10,000 Vera Wang Barbie wedding dress?

The six story Barbie Store in Shanghai features a complete spa for pint-sized Barbie wannabes who can then strut their stuff in front of cameras on the oh so fashionista Barbie runway. Question: Why are Asians so smart? Answer: No blondes.

Unlike me, Barbie’s shape has not changed in the last 50 years. If Barbie were a real person, she would be 6' 0" and weigh 100 lbs. Her measurements would be 39"/19"/33". No wonder American women look in the mirror and sigh.

I got one of the original Barbies like this one for Christmas in 1959.
My mom paid $3 for it. If I still had it, I could sell it for over $25,000.

Barbie and I may both be in our 50s now, but unlike Babs, I haven’t gone the tattoo route yet. Always riding the fashion wave, the latest Barbie incarnation is Tattoo Barbie – it comes with a tattoo gun that’s similar to a water gun, so kids can stamp (temporary) tattoos on Barbie and themselves. So can Goth pierced Barbie and beer swilling Trailer Trash Barbie be far behind? Check out Cougar Barbie video.

The spiral staircase with hundreds of Barbies in her signature pink color is a not to be missed photo op.

Hello Kitty vs. Barbie Smack Down
Who’s the bigger fashionista? Barbie’s arch rival for the Asian market is the ubiquitous Hello Kitty. This deceptively innocent looking pussycat wants to claw the face off Barbie. And though the mouthless pussycat may look innocent, the claws will be out to see who ultimately rules the multi-billion dollar doll market in Asia. Neither diva looks her age. At 40 Hello Kitty retains her innocent but somehow edgy appeal. Her 10 year age advantage and huge lead in name recognition over the more sophisticated but decidedly Western Barbie could have Hello Kittie purring sweetly and waving goodbye to Barbie in China.

But the fight has just begun so don’t count Barbie out yet. She has a decided height and reach advantage over the eastern feline and wasn’t she once a sumo wrestler?