Turning 50 With Barbie

Last week, Barbie turned 50 years old. You can insert your own joke here about: “had some work done” “plastic surgery” “a painting in the attic of the Barbie Dream House that ages but she never does.”

My friend Katherine Lanpher is also turning 50 this year, and when she saw the essay Brian did about Darwin and Lincoln, she started to brainstorm something she could do for TIME. Katherine does a weekly podcast for us at TIME.com — the TIME financial toolkit — which I hosted this week while she has been away looking for jaguars in Belize (and yes, I’m jealous I couldn’t go with her). Here’s the essay she wrote and we produced.

To do the essay, Katherine called her elderly parents in Moline, Illinois and asked them to go to the attic and box up and Fedex her childhood Barbies to my office in midtown Manhattan. Then we spent an afternoon shooting at Bloomingdale’s and around New York.


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